The Life Boat, vol. 5

August 1902

“Can the Drunkard Have Hope?” The Life Boat 5, 8, pp. 169, 170.



IS there hope for the drunkard? Is there deliverance for him from his bondage, or is he to say that he is too far gone, that his bonds cannot be broken, that he must submit to enslavement forever? LIBO August 1902, page 169.1

Of course there is hope for the drunkard, as really as for any other sinner. He is not to submit to his enslavement and consent that he is to be a bondman forever; there is freedom for him, yes, even glorious liberty. LIBO August 1902, page 169.2

The Lord Jesus died for every man. He paid the price—the same price, the infinite price, for every soul individually. Thus every soul individually is redeemed. And to every one of the redeemed, to every soul individually, he has proclaimed, and still proclaims, “liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” LIBO August 1902, page 169.3

This freedom from bondage, this glorious liberty from captivity, is not a theory, it is not a conclusion logically derived from formal premises, for a man to argue himself into. It is a substantial thing, that has been wrought out in the life, and by the faith of the Lord Jesus in human flesh; and is a gift to be received. It is a free gift to every soul on earth. And whosoever accepts this gift of freedom from bondage thereby receives the substantial thing of a new life, a life of freedom indeed, and stands in the glorious liberty of the children of God. LIBO August 1902, page 169.4

But the slave of drink may be ready to say, “That is entirely too general to apply to my case. I want something specific.” Well, here it is: “We have not an high priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin.” The Lord Jesus was tempted exactly as is the man who is addicted to strong drink. So entirely and so personally was this so, that he knows exactly how the drunkard feels in his temptation to drink. For he was “touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” Have you the infirmity of the habit of strong drink, that bears you down under the temptation? The Lord Jesus knows just how you feel; for he has felt the same temptation. And when he felt that temptation that you feel, he resisted it, he conquered it, he triumphed over it, and his victory is your victory today. And there is the hope, the deliverance and the triumph of the drunkard today. LIBO August 1902, page 169.5

Yet still the drunkard may be inclined to say, “But I do not see how that reaches my case; for Jesus never was drunk, he never drank strong drink. How then could he feel my infirmity? How could he know my temptation, who have been drunk—yes, and even my father before me—so that it is really hereditary.” Yes, all that may be true in your case, and yet Jesus meets you even there and was touched with the feeling of your infirmity. Indeed, it would be difficult to find in the present generation of men a single species of sin that has not a cast of heredity. But yet in it all Jesus meets mankind just where they are and knows just how they feel under the infirmity of temptation. Read these words of infinite grace: “Forasmuch then as the children (of man) are partakers of flesh and blood. He also himself likewise took part of the same. Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren” (Hebrews 1:14, 17). “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14). “God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.” (Romans 8:3). LIBO August 1902, page 170.1

When He came thus in flesh like ours, flesh the same as ours, it was at the end of a line of direct and unbroken descent of four thousand years of men of flesh and blood such as only this sinful world knows. And in that line of descent were men who, whether by accident or appetite, got drunk, as well as committed other sins that are common to fallen man. And when the Lord Jesus took human flesh “the same” as ours, at the end of a line of descent such as that, it was human flesh such as under the law of heredity human flesh would be. And thus He could be “tempted in all points like as we are,” because He was “in all things like” us. And this for the very purpose “that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in all things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people; for in that He himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted.” (Hebrews 2:17, 18). LIBO August 1902, page 170.2

He was tempted on the point of strong drink, as in all other points like as we are. But by trust in God He never yielded. He triumphed over every temptation, and in that triumph He has accomplished assured victory and triumph for every other tempted soul in this world. LIBO August 1902, page 170.3

And this is the hope of the drunkard. And it is a blessed hope, sure and steadfast, an immovable anchor of the storm-tossed soul. Oh that everyone would just now flee for refuge and lay hold upon this hope set before them, in the temptation and the triumph of the Lord Jesus in our flesh. LIBO August 1902, page 170.4