Drinking alcohol may not be a sin, but it certainly is a coping mechanism I need to be careful about. There is always a risk of turning to that instead of Christ.
Unfortunately, the same can be said of the Law: the religious, psychological, and social structures I rely on to control (rather than cure) sin.
This was the ugly truth I had to confront when God delivered me from addiction almost twenty years ago. I had grown up a model Christian, but fell (or to be honest, jumped) into addiction in my twenties.
Through intensive journaling, counseling, and encountering Christ through His Word, I eventually discovered that I had really been putting my faith in the Law — rather than Christ!
God in His infinite mercy allowed me to experience the shame and humiliation of a physical addiction in order to free me from a far more deadly spiritual addiction.
What grieves my heart is that I can see how that same addiction is strangling the Church. We seem unable to tell the difference between Gospel and Law, which is why we so often fail to manifest the Fruit of the Spirit in how we treat the world (and each other).
I have been asking God for several years what I must do to help Him redeem His Bride (and me). He has done this before, with men like Augustine, Luther, and Wesley.
But we can’t simply emulate the revivals and reforms of the past. We must unlearn our cultural Christianity in order to, like Paul, know Christ in the fulness of His suffering, and thereby receive the fulness of His resurrection power.
I don’t think anything less can save us.