One Billion May Die Unnecessarily!


One Billion May Die


We all hear and read of the causes of death in our modern world.  No longer is it TB.  No longer is it bacterial infections.  No longer is it starvation.  Today we know that heart disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and kidney disease affect people and either hasten death or cause death.  Some of this can be prevented by following a prudent diet, getting sufficient physical exercise, and exercising self-discipline in many forms.

A news item recently came out with these headlines: “Report: Tobacco Could Kill 1 Billion.”  The article opened with these words: “Tobacco use killed 100 million people worldwide in the 20th century and could kill 1 billion people in the 21st unless governments act now to dramatically reduce it, the World Health Organization said Thursday in its report Global Tobacco Epidemic 2008.”

Some of the findings in the report were interesting.  Some 2/3 of the smokers of the world live in ten countries.  Thirty percent live in China, 10% in India, along with more who live in Indonesia, Russia, the United States, Japan, Brazil, Bangladesh, Germany and Turkey. 

Vast numbers of studies since 1950 have proven conclusively that smoking is harmful to our health—especially the smoker’s health but also those affected by “second-hand” smoke as well.  No one in our modern world can plead ignorance of the deleterious effects of smoking tobacco products.  This would also include the use of smokeless tobacco.  The public has known for centuries that tobacco has harmful effects on the human body.  As early as the sixteenth century, King James of England (who authorized the 1611 translation that bears his name) wrote a treatise against the use of tobacco.

While all people should be concerned about dying prematurely from the use of tobacco, the Christian is well aware of the spiritual implications of this filthy habit.  Consider a few reasons why the follower of Christ would oppose the use of tobacco.

1.      Would Jesus use tobacco?  We know the answer.  The Christian is to “follow in His steps” and “walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 Peter 2:21; 1 John 2:6).

2.      The Christian would not want to abuse his body with tobacco smoke or in any other way.  Paul commands, “Present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Romans 12:1).

3.      The believer is a steward of all God’s gifts to us (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:2).  One of those gifts is our human physical body. 

4.      The follower of Jesus would not want to defile the temple of the Holy Spirit—which is his redeemed body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

5.      The Christian is careful to use his money and possessions in a wise and responsible way.  It would be foolish to use money for a selfish habit that could cost $100,000 (or more, if it were deposited in the bank) during a lifetime.

6.      The child of God wants to use every moment of his life to serve the Lord.  A one-pack-a-day smoker cuts an average of seven or eight years from his life span.  A heavier smoker shortens his life even more!

7.      The Christian wishes to glorify God in everything he does.  Paul says, “Glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20).  He also declares, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).  Smoking cannot glorify God.

8.      The believer is to be a good example to others (1 Timothy 4:12; Titus 2:7).  One cannot be a good example if he smokes or chews.  He or she is a bad example.

9.      The Christian’s life is to be characterized by love for others.  Scripture commands, “Let all that you do be done in love” (1 Corinthians 16:14).  Failure to be a good example to others reveals a lack of love.  Failure to do good to one’s spouse and family is to lack genuine love.

10.  Finally, we are to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:28-31).  If we truly love God, we will want to please Him by living a pure, clean, and exemplary life before others.  The smoker cannot do this.

Obviously, there are many other reasons why the Christian would want to keep from the use of tobacco products.  Further, there are many other reasons that should motivate the unbeliever to repent of this common, public, and destructive habit.  In the succinct words of Paul, we need to simply “stop sinning” (1 Corinthians 15:34).  The unbeliever needs to repent of all his sins and come to Christ Jesus who died for his sins—including the sin of smoking—and offers full forgiveness of sins and a home in heaven!

Richard Hollerman



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