I am a professed Christian and an ordained minister of 30 years. In the last several years I became addicted to alcohol. My question is: Can a saved man, a Christian, be addicted to a substance, such as alcohol?
Being a Christian does not make a person immune to sin. "If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us" (I John 1:8). The reason there are so many warnings in the New Testament regarding being watchful against sin is because we can fall. "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (I Peter 5:8).
This last verse explains why addictive substances, such as alcohol, are such a danger to Christians. Alcohol distorts a person's judgment. "For they will drink and forget what is decreed, and pervert the rights of all the afflicted" (Proverbs 31:5). It is difficult enough to battle Satan without giving ourselves a handicap. "But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ" (I Thessalonians 5:4-9).
No Christian can make it to heaven while repeatedly getting drunk. "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God" (I Corinthians 6:9-10). Perhaps you are saying to yourself: But I don't get drunk all the time! But consider the other sins. The fornicator isn't having sex every day. The swindler doesn't rip off a victim constantly. What makes these sins a problem is the fact that the sinner accepts them and makes little or no effort to change. But a faithful Christian rejects sin and can't stand to have sin in his life. "For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. or behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter" (II Corinthians 7:10-11).
Therefore, a Christian who used to be enslaved to alcohol can be saved because he has left his sins behind, even though the temptation to return to alcohol will plague him the rest of his life. But a Christian who remains trapped by alcohol is not likely to make it to heaven.