I know of a very popular preacher who regularly smokes. He’ll smoke early in the morning before going live on television, during his day breaks, and right before bed. He has many followers and gives compelling sermons. People love him because he teaches the Word of God with wisdom and so much passion, with many giving their lives to Jesus and receiving salvation by listening to him speak.
He has played a significant role in fulfilling the great commission assignment and has led many to Christ. But is smoking a sin? Will smokers go to Heaven? Will God look at his powerful sermons or the many people he has drawn to Jesus and give him a place in heaven?
Will Smokers Go to Heaven?
The Bible does not specify whether smokers will go to heaven or not. It only instructs us to honor our bodies and glorify God through them.
However, smoking is dangerous and very harmful to our bodies. It can permanently damage some of our body organs and make us miserable.
Yet, the Bible advices us to take good care of the temple of the Lord.
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“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.”1 Corinthians 6:19-20
As Christians, we have been responsible for caring for God’s temple, which includes avoiding anything that could harm or defile our bodies. Smoking is highly addictive, and it damages the lungs and the heart. People who smoke too much end up with chronic health conditions. And this destroys the temple of the Lord.
We have to remember that destroying the temple of the Lord does not come without its punishment.
“If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.”1 Corinthians 3:17
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God’s wrath will rest upon us if we destroy our bodies in the name of smoking. And we know that God’s wrath can extend to letting us be thrown into hell if we don’t repent.
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything.”1 Corinthians 6:12
Inasmuch as smoking cannot deny us the chance to go to heaven, the Bible instructs us not to let anything master us. Anything that takes control of our lives becomes a god.
If we smoke to the point that we cannot survive a day or stay normal without it, we have made it our master. So, even if the Bible does not condemn smoking directly, we must ensure that we don’t become slaves to it.
Matthew 6:24 warns, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon.” There’s no way we can claim to be devoted followers of Christ and be addicts of cigarettes simultaneously. One will overpower the other. And, in most cases, the one that meets the desire of the flesh is the one that wins this battle.
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Even though we may love smoking as a pleasure, we must consider putting God before our fleshly desires so that He can take control of every aspect of our lives.
“I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. “Romans 6:19-22
What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.”
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As I mentioned earlier, smoking may lead to death due to the side effects that come with it. When we become slaves to smoking, we lose our lives.
But when we offer ourselves as obedient slaves to God, we become holy. Our holiness and righteousness result in eternal life, a life in heaven.
So, if we want to go to heaven, we must choose whether to be slaves to something that can ruin our health or to Jesus, who leads to eternal life.
Additionally, the Bible says that even though we have the right to smoke, it may not benefit us. If we are asked to list 10 benefits of cigarettes today, can we come up with good points? Can we say that since we started smoking, our lives have changed for the better? The Bible challenges us to ask ourselves whether smoking cigarettes is beneficial.
We can take the challenge and write down both the benefits and dangers of smoking. If we find that the benefits outweigh its dangers, then we have every good reason to continue smoking. But if we find that the risks outweigh the benefits of smoking, why should we continue doing it?
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As Christians, we represent Christ on earth and must have a clear conscience in everything we do. We should not give the world any reason to doubt our faith or stand in God. When we smoke, do we feel anything or any voice telling us that our actions are not good?
We should not ignore our conscience since sometimes it is the prompting of the Holy Spirit that lives in us. If we feel a deep urge from within telling us to stop smoking, then it is time to let go of this habit. Ignoring it may cause us harm and hinder us from going to heaven.
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”1 Peter 3:15-16
The hope that every Christian has is the hope of eternal life in heaven. We must be prepared to justify our actions and to explain why we think we can go to heaven even if we smoke. Can we keep a clear conscience while explaining to non-believers that we will still go to heaven even if we smoke?
So, What Do We Need to Do to Go to Heaven?
Hebrews 10:26-27 says, “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” Smoking may not prevent us from going to heaven, but we will burn in hell if we deliberately sin. To go to heaven, we must turn away from anything that goes against the will of God and repent.
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”1 Corinthians 10:13
Sometimes, we find ourselves sinning because the temptation has overwhelmed us. We may be tempted by the company we keep or by the environment we stay in. However, the Bible says that every temptation is common to humankind.
Everyone is being tempted by the same or a different thing. But in all these temptations, God has never failed to provide a way of escape. He loves us that much; He doesn’t want us to perish but to have eternal life.
When tempted, be alert and watch out for the way of escape that God has provided for you. If this involves listening to your inner intuition, then do so. By all means, seek the way that will not lead you into sin and deny you the chance to go to heaven.