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Drug & Alcohol Recovery Programs
See also Alcoholics Anonymous Is A False Religion.
See also Drugs.
Whether it be secular or religious, Drug & Alcohol Recovery (or Rehabilitation) Programs are of the devil. They deny Christ and His power to save (John 8:31-36). They are antichrist (2 John 7). They disobey the Word (Proverbs 31:6-7).
I. Deny Christ
DARPs deny the Savior and His power to save from sin. Scripture plainly declares,
if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Anyone who heeds the Word of God, who believes the Bible (= believes the gospel), who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ (= believes the Bible), is a "new creation" instantly. In other words, as soon as they stop repeating the lie of Psalm 14:1, as soon as they stop their rebellion of Proverbs 17:11, as soon as their eyes are opened and they turn "from darkness to light" (Acts 26:18), as soon as they stop their suppression of Romans 1:18, as soon as they stop their self-seeking of Romans 2:8, as soon as the veil of 2 Corinthians 3:16 is taken away, as soon as God grants them repentance and they escape the snare of the devil (2 Timothy 2:25-26), they are instantly in Christ and instantly a "new creation" and instantly saved from their sin and the overbearing power of it (Romans 6:14). Thus, once they turn to the Lord, they no longer have a drug or alcohol addiction, but are free from that bondage. Christ has promised freedom (John 8:31-36), and He is not a liar.
For example, "Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and was rich" (Luke 19:2), was saved the very same day Christ came to him and said He was staying at his house (Luke 19:5). Zacchaeus, revealing his newly redeemed heart that day said,
Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold. (Luke 19:8)
Today, salvation has come to this house, . . . ."
Zacchaeus was saved from his sin and had a change of heart that very day. It didn't take SERP (Stealing & Extorting Recovery Program) to deliver him. It didn't take counseling. It didn't take a prolonged process of sanctification. It took Christ and His power and faith in Him.
The thief on the cross is another example. He was reviling Christ, along with the other robber, as he was hanging there next to Jesus (Matthew 27:44; Mark 15:32). Yet, just moments later,1 after reviling Him, we find this encounter:
Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us." But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong." Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise." (Luke 23:39-43)
During his short stay on the cross, the thief went from a reviler of Christ to a defender of Christ. He was saved and transformed in a moment. He became a "new creation" instantly (2 Corinthians 5:17). It didn't take a 10 week anger management class, or "12 steps away from reviling". It took simple faith in the Word.
This is just as Paul told the Corinthians. In first Corinthians 6:9-10 Paul lists off people who will not go to heaven, but will indeed go to hell - fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, sodomites, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, extortioners, and then Paul writes,
And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11)
Paul says, "and such were some of you", not "such are some of you". In other words, some were thieves, drunkards, revilers, etc., but they are no longer. In other words, they were saved from the dominating power of sin that was in their life. Truly, "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation" (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Drug & Alcohol Recovery, Rehabilitation, or Treatment Programs, by their very existence, deny this essential truth. For if those who ran them believed Christ, and believed Christ alone saves from the power of sin, then the program would not exist. All that would exist would be the preaching of the gospel to any and all who might hear.
For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13; see also Psalm 145:18; John 4:24)
Any and all who are saved receive the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-39), and therefore, they receive self-control (Galatians 5:23). Thus, the Holy Spirit is the Savior. He delivers from drug and/or alcohol addiction.
It doesn't take man's programs (rehab or otherwise) to free from the power of sinful behavior (e.g. drug and alcohol abuse, etc.). It takes the Savior, who saves "His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). Drug abuse and alcohol abuse is sinful behavior, and the only true solution to it is the Savior Himself, Scripture (James 1:21).
For example, Proverbs 8:13 says,
The fear of the Lord is to hate evil.
Anyone who is truly terrified of God, as Job was (Job 23:15-16), as the Psalmist was (Psalm 119:120), as Jesus commanded (Luke 12:4-5), will hate evil. And,
by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil. (Proverbs 16:6)
The fear of the Lord is the Savior (Psalm 19:7-11). It causes one to hate evil and to depart from it. Therefore, by the fear of the Lord one departs from drug and/or alcohol addiction. Anyone who fears God is too afraid of Him to continue doing wrong (e.g. Job 31:1-4). Anyone who believes the Bible (the fear of the Lord) knows the horror of those who refuse to submit to Him (e.g. Revelation 20:10-15; 21:8; 22:14-15). They don't go there!2
Therefore, drug addicts and/or drunkards (aka: alcoholics) need the good news of God's Word given to them, and that is all, nothing more, to deliver them from their addiction.
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)
If they heed not the message of the cross, there is no other way (John 14:6) for them to be truly free. And, any effort to set them free by any other means is antichrist.
Any effort to clean up a sinner, be it from their drug addiction, alcohol debauchary, or any other misconduct, using anything other than the Bible and what is found therein, or claiming to use the Bible but actually adding some additional means (Proverbs 30:5-6), is antichrist. Paul warned,
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. (Colossians 2:8)
Any philosophy (e.g. psychology), tradition of men (religious or otherwise), any man-made approach (basic principles of the world, e.g. pragmatism) to dealing with sin (drug addiction,3 etc.) is to be rejected, as Paul warned. It is empty deceit to attempt to clean up a sinner from their sin in any other way than via the simple truth of Scripture (Christ). The reason Paul gives this warning is because,
in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, . . . . (Colossians 2:9-10)
Jesus Christ is Scripture (the Word) incarnate (John 1:1, 14). He is God in a human body ("all the fullness of the Godhead bodily"). Anyone who believes in Him is "complete in Him" (Colossians 2:10) and has "all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him" (2 Peter 1:3). "Jesus Christ has come in the flesh" (1 John 4:2) and anyone who uses any other means (Colossians 2:8) than Scripture alone to deliver from the dominating power of sin does,
not confess Jesus Christ coming in flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. (2 John 7, a more literal translation)
III. Disregard The Word
Finally, Drug & Alcohol Recovery Programs ignore the wisdom found in Proverbs 31:6-7.
Give strong drink to him who is perishing, and wine to those who are bitter of heart. Let him drink and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more. (Proverbs 31:6-7)
Those who heed not the gospel (God's Word) are those who are perishing (Psalm 37:20; 73:27; 92:9). The Lord does not command us to clean such people up. He does not command us to help them recover from addiction. He does command us to proclaim His Word to them (Psalm 96:2-3). But, if they heed not His warning, then what does the Word of God say to do? Give them strong drink. In other words, the wisdom of God does not instruct us to get them off the bottle, but to encourage them along with the bottle.
Anyone who gets a drug addict or alcoholic off of their addiction via a drug or alcohol recovery program (or by any other worldly means) is not only distaining Proverbs 31:6-7, but they are doing the same kind of thing Christ condemned the Pharisees for doing. Jesus said to the Pharisees,
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. (Matthew 23:25-26)
The Pharisees had the outside clean doing outward acts of "righteousness" (e.g. Matthew 23:27-28), but inside they were evil to the core. This is what happens when someone is cleaned up via man's devises (rehabs, recoveries, treatment programs, etc.). The outside gets clean, but the inside stays filthy, and they become worse than they were before. As Jesus said to the Pharisees,
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. (Matthew 23:15)
God instructs to give strong drink to him who is perishing, to those who are on their way to hell. If instead of giving them alcohol, you clean them up and get them off their booze, they are worse off. When you do so, you remove their most obvious sin and lead them to believe they are delivered from their wickedness, when they are not. You make them think they are now wise, no longer a foolish drunkard or drug addict (when in reality they are still a fool, Romans 1:22), and the hope of them ever truly being saved from their sin becomes ever so remote. Sadly then, Proverbs 26:12 becomes their reality.
Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. (Proverbs 26:12)
Encouraging people off of their drug addiction and alcohol abuse, when not giving them solely Scripture, is actually doing more damage to their souls, and not helping them in the least. Moreover, if it is done in the name of Christ, but not truly in Christ (as all "Christian" drug and alcohol programs are), then it is even worse (Matthew 23:14).4 Such programs are the work of false teachers, deceivers and antichrists (2 John 7), who,
allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. (2 Peter 2:18)
May God repay them according to their deeds (Galatians 1:8-9).
1. The thief on the cross had a change of heart somewhere within the three hours of first being crucified, which was around the third hour (Mark 15:25), and the sixth hour when the darkness came. See Mark 15:25-33 (Matthew 27:44-45) & Luke 23:43-44.
2. Does this mean sinless perfection? No, sinless perfection is impossible in this life (1 John 1:8-10, for more on that, see Not By Works).
Drug & Alcohol Recovery Programs boast to deliver people from their addictive behavior. Does anyone accuse them of claiming to produce sinless behavior? Not typically. What the Recovery Programs claim is that people in the program get delivered from their addictive behavior. If that was not their claim and that was not happening (at least superficially), the program would prove itself to be a flop (worthless). The whole point in the program is to recover from addiction. If they aren't doing that, they are not doing what they exist to do.
Yet, this rehab, this freedom from the addiction, is exactly what Christ does for any and all who call upon Him in truth. But, it is not the superficial outside of the cup clean up that the recovery programs do. It is inward, real, and everlasting for all who "continue in His goodness" (Romans 11:22; see also 2:7).
3. It may be argued in some severe drug addiction cases that medical treatment may be necessary to sustain life when a person stops using a particular drug. Even so, any medical services for whatever and whenever is not what delivers the heart from addiction. The person could easily go right back to drug abuse if they have no change of mind.
A body that is physically addicted to a substance is a consequence of a sinful lifestyle. Scripture does not promise to free, in this life, from the physical consequences of sin. God may choose to do so, but He does not promise He will (Psalm 115:3).
4. As Matthew 23:14 illustrates, religious hypocrisy receives greater condemnation. See also Mark 12:38-40 (Luke 20:45-47).
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