Sin intoxicates man to perform transgressions. To intoxicate for the purpose of unrighteousness is the nature of sin. Man who is born pure eventually becomes sinner before God. Sin works at various levels in man and makes him utterly undesirable to God. A man with sin is like a man with wine. He is like a man in a drunken state. He does not know nor has the mind to know the difference between good and evil. He performs whatever comes to his mind. He is driven by the power of sin and in sin he performs works. In this process there will be some works that yield good, but they still do not lead him to the righteousness of God. This is because the good works he does are mingled with the works of sin. In other words, the good works a man performs apart from the righteousness of God are part of sin. Every work he does under the influence of sin, he does not consider unrighteous. There is a fine reason for this. The sin in him does not allow him to deem his works as those that cause death. It constantly drives him to justify his works. It makes him deny the works of the past. He does not consider his sinful works the causative to his death. Therefore, he does not resist them. He further rejoices in them. By them he makes a living, sustains his family, performs benevolent works and even holds a feast for a thousand; by them he commands, desires and demands. Every work a man accomplishes while with sin is working against God and the result is death. “Belshazzar the king held a great feast for a thousand of his nobles, and he was drinking wine in the presence of the thousand” (Dan 5:1).
The primary reason for Belshazzar to perform a sinful work against God is the endless drinking of wine. The sin present in him intoxicated him to drink wine for the purpose of offending God. He did not know the difference between good and evil. Hence, he did not shy away from committing sin in front of the thousand. In fact, the sin in him provoked him to pride in his work. As he profaned the holy things of God, the punishment he received from God was no less than death. His punishment was not due to his using of any gold and silver vessels, but because he used the vessels that were particularly made to glorify God to perform utter sin. He was the king. His nobility to hold a feast for his people was acceptable considering the right he possessed. However, when sin was controlling him, it made him insensitive toward good. It made him forget the works of the past i.e. the events that happened during the time of his father and the manner in which God punished him. For this reason, a wise man of God once warned saying, “My son, keep my words and treasure my commandments within you” (Prov. 7:1).
All wise men of God fear God and are able to give such warning, since they themselves have received it and have known the effect of heeding it. Herein is the characteristic of a wise man of God. God’s words and commandments have perpetually become his words and commandments. The sin that intoxicates man to commit transgressions does not drive him. Though sin might strive to enter him, it cannot; and if it does enter him, it is when he no longer treasures the words and commandments of God. Nonetheless, when sin cannot enter him, it works from the outside and for this reason, he suffers. This suffering is good, since it paves the way for the filling up of the power of God in him. He fights the good fight. He has the authority to consider the words and commandments of God as his words and commandments. The Spirit of God will guide him to do so. When he speaks, people listen. On the other hand, men who are not of God, which is the case in the many present day churches, cannot speak or perform like the wise men of God. When they have not made God’s words and commandments as theirs, sin is still the driving force in them. The sin present in them intoxicated them to preach the word according to its power. This produces some good outwardly, but does not fulfill the righteousness of God. For this reason, the churches are Spiritless and fruitless. They are unable to grasp the depths and limits of God. “Its measure is longer than the earth and broader than the sea” (Job 11:9).
True churches of Christ and of God understand the might of God. The righteousness of God in them will drive them to understand it. They acquired righteousness by fully believing in Him. They sought the word that helps them understand the depths and limits of God. On the contrary, if unbelief and unrighteousness are like the endless wine in Christians, they are driven by the power of sin and in sin they perform works. When these preach the word, it produces a congregation of unbelievers. Unbelievers are unrighteous. They are empowered to refute the word that calls for belief in God. They cannot differentiate between that which is of God and that which is not of God. What is the result? They have become foolish. “I passed by the field of the sluggard and by the vineyard of the man lacking sense” (Prov. 24:30). It is not a surprise to see the field of a sluggard. He does not work; therefore, it does not yield. The churches will only begin to bear fruit for God when believing in God and His word becomes their work. This belief will provide them with the necessary righteousness to seek the grace of God. The word of God is present for the reasons that men may believe it, receive from it, bear fruit for God and receive the reward. Yet, many churches have become as those that pretend to be hard workers, but when passed by are found to be the field of the sluggard. Their gathering together has become a gathering of men lacking sense. Their fruits are thistles and nettles. They lost the passion present in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sooner or later the spiritual accountability that is required from every man, church and institution will fall upon them. Then, their righteousness will fail them and belief will evade them. “Then Elisha came to Damascus. Now Ben-hadad king of Aram was sick, and it was told him, saying, “The man of God has come here”” (2 Kings 8:7).
What the present churches need is men of God that can lead them in the will of God. Men like Elisha, who can bear the word of God, who can lead people away from danger, who can teach people of the things that would happen, who can help people overcome their weaknesses, sickness and deprivation, who can help people believe in God, who can teach people to nurture themselves in the wisdom of God and who can help people engage with the Spirit of God. The work of such men will produce believers that become righteous. These believers produce fruits for God. They concur with the word of God leading many more to Christ. Their works which are apart from the power of sin will themselves become a source for proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. The reason many are unable to believe in Christ is because of those who pretend to be of Christ and because of those who ignorantly preach Christ. The same power of sin that drives the world is also present in many churches, and Christians’ wayward belief in the true God has caused many to suspect belief. Therefore, be prepared to answer God, who says, “Son of man, say to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his hordes, ‘Whom are you like in your greatness?’” (Ezek. 31:2).
Seriously, this question is to those churches that assume to have the truth, claim to speak the truth, speak of themselves as a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and then vacillate the word and wisdom of God. To whom can your greatness be compared? To the churches of the first century who both believed and received? To those who came before you and walked in the commandments of God? To those who have interpreted the word by faith and in the Spirit of God? To those who are able to make the words of God and His commandments perpetually as their words and commandments? Do you have men like Elisha or did you produce men like Elisha from your congregations? Have you engaged with the Spirit of God for the purpose of glorifying God? On the contrary, you have become like those who caused distress and scattered the sheep. You do not grasp that man is punishable by God, because he is provoked to work against God by the sin he harbors. The sin that intoxicates man to perform unrighteousness is still present in you. It is working at various levels in you. You are insulting God. Your unbelief is the wine for sin to intoxicate you. Therefore, you continue to use the word that is particularly given to glorify God to perform grave sin. You are not shying away from boldly deducing that which is not from the word of God. He who is of wisdom take heed that no such men or churches disable your belief in God and in His Son Jesus Christ, “Since we have heard that some of our number to whom we gave no instruction have disturbed you with their words, unsettling your souls” (Acts 15:24).