What does the Bible mean when God forbids the use of sorcery?

The Breakdown: Pharmakeia and Mind Altering Drugs 06/24 by Minister Fortson | Religion

I’ve had several discussions, and arguments over the years about the use of marijuana by Christians. I’m sure you have heard all the arguments, and perhaps you were even the one making the argument for it. If that is the case, I’d like for you to consider the list of sins that sorcery is included with, and the context of its prohibition, as well as what it actually is.
Many of us have discovered, or have been taught that the Greek word translated as sorcery in the New Testament is, “φαρμακεία.” (pharmakeia) It is where we get our modern words, “pharmacy, pharmaceutical, and pharmacist” to name a few. The Latin derivative means, drugs. It is a simplistic definition that did not carry the original Koine Greek meaning with it fully.
In context to the time, language, and the entirety of scripture, the meaning becomes clear. Sorcery was the practice of using naturally occurring compounds alone, or mixed to make one feel a certain way, or to see visions, (hallucinations) or to poison them, or to simply get them high. It was often in conjunction with witchcraft, and ritual sexual immorality.
We know sorcery isn’t the work of a physician as Luke was a physician. The Greek word for physician was, “ἰατρὸς.” (iatros) it meant, a practitioner of medicine. The word for medicine was, “ἴαμα.” (iama) and it meant, healing, curing, or remedy. Being a physician (healer) was an accepted practice. They would use medicines in their practice. The negative social connotation of a sorcerer was more akin to the modern drug dealer, and occultist, than a pharmacist, or doctor.
Pagan religions would use, and some still do, potions, plasters, and bolus’ in conjunction with sexual immorality, including orgies, and bestiality, to either worship their false gods, or have spiritual experiences. One might say they were pseudospiritual, but I think it would be more accurate to classify them as demonic spiritual experiences.
It is true however, that the English word, “sorcery” when used in the Old Testament to translate the Hebrew word, “ וְֽכִשֵּׁ֔ף” (wə·ḵiš·šêp̄) didn’t specifically state that it was drugs, but it was still associated with witchcraft, enchantments, evil mysticism, and paganism outside of the one true faith, and it shared same connotation that was understood in the New Testament. It has always been an abomination to God, and forbidden to His people.
It is obvious from scripture that having a sober mind is a good thing. If we are sober minded, we can pray, and be on guard against sin, and evil in our lives, but if we are not sober minded our inhibitions against sin are reduced, and so are our faculties. Engaging in drug us is not the same as using a prescribed medicine from a doctor to bring about healing. We can see that the abuses associated with sorcery, and witchcraft are abominable. If you truly seek to fight sin in your life, then you will not purposefully subject yourself to sorcery, substance abuse.
Marijuana is one of those drugs that we as Christians should not take. It is a drug that people take to get high. They take it for the express purpose of dulling their senses, and not being sober minded. Some might protest, and argue about how they have other reasons they take it, but there are other ways of dealing with stress, anxiety, or other problems, that don’t involve using drugs. Drug users will always have an argument, but if you seek the truth, and righteousness, stay away from drugs. You can take medicine from a physician, but not drugs from a drug dealer, even if they have made it legal in your state. Legal doesn’t mean moral. As always, repent of your sins, and trust Jesus Christ’s justifying work on the cross, and not your own works.

After all, what does living for God’s glory look like?  Does it look like someone who loves pot more than Christ?  Does it look like someone who has been defiled by being stoned out of their gourd?  This doesn’t just apply to drugs.  Whatever it is that you can’t live without, drugs, porn, booze, adultery, a pet false teaching, anything in your life that dishonors God is sin.  We have to come to the realization, and understanding about these things so we can be honest about them, and fight them, instead of justifying them away.  It is impossible to come to God in repentance, if you are minimizing your sins, or justifying them away.  Ask Jesus to forgive you based on who He is and what He has done to make you right with God.  Then, fight against these sins.  Don’t give up.  You may be fighting for a long time.

7  The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. 1 Peter 4:7
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
[Deu 18:10 NASB] 10 “There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer,
[Exo 22:18 NASB] 18 “You shall not allow a sorceress to live.
[Isa 57:3 NASB] 3 “But come here, you sons of a sorceress, Offspring of an adulterer and a prostitute.
[2Ch 33:6 NASB] 6 He made his sons pass through the fire in the valley of Ben-hinnom; and he practiced witchcraft, used divination, practiced sorcery and dealt with mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him [to anger.]
[Gal 5:20 NASB] 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,
[Rev 18:23 NASB] 23 and the light of a lamp will not shine in you any longer; and the voice of the bridegroom and bride will not be heard in you any longer; for your merchants were the great men of the earth, because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery.

The Holiness of God.

The Holiness of God.

As we will be studying what God’s word has to say about His holiness, I thought I would quote some of what our elders have said on the topic of holiness in this brief preface to our study. We can learn from their wise counsel. Also, We would be remiss to do a study of holiness without first acknowledging the source. The holiness of God is not merely, or solely, an attribute of His among many others. To quote Charles Hodge, “The holiness of God is not to be conceived of as one attribute among others. It is rather a general term representing the conception of God’s consummate perfection and total glory. It is His infinite moral perfection crowning His infinite intelligence and power.” There is no other quality of God that the seraphim angels praise three times, time and again in eternity. [Isa 6:3 NASB] “And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.” To know God, we must know He is holy, and we are not. “Only one attribute of God, in sacred Scripture is emphasized three times. Only once is a characteristic of God mentioned three times in succession. The Bible says that God is holy, holy, holy. Not that He is merely holy, or even holy, holy. He is holy, holy, holy. The Bible never says that God is love, love, love; or mercy, mercy, mercy; or wrath, wrath, wrath; or justice, justice, justice. It does say that he is holy, holy, holy, that the whole earth is full of His glory.” R.C. Sproul.

God, Being distinct, other than, separate, set apart, in moral perfection, transcendent in His holiness, cannot be fathomed by man. This holiness also manifests as majesty. The chasm that separates us from Him due to our sin is so great, only the cross can bear us from one sin to glory. R.C. Sproul wrote, “The most violent expression of God’s wrath and justice is seen in the Cross. If ever a person had room to complain for injustice, it was Jesus. He was the only innocent man ever to be punished by God. If we stagger at the wrath of God, let us stagger at the Cross. Here is where our astonishment should be focused.” The only way to please the holy God, is for Him to provide what is pleasing. In Christ, He has provided righteousness for our justification. In Christ, we are separated from sin, and set apart for His use. We are consecrated to and for the glory of God. Jonathan Edwards wrote, “Never did God so manifest His hatred of sin as in the death and suffering of His only begotten Son. Hereby He showed Himself unappeasable to sin, and that it was impossible for Him to be at peace with it.”

Our problem is that we are not holy. Here is a quote from R.C. Sproul, “Sin is cosmic treason. Sin is treason against a perfectly pure Sovereign. It is an act of supreme ingratitude toward the One to whom we owe everything, to the One who has given us life itself. Have you ever considered the deeper implications of the slightest sin, of the most minute peccadillo? What are we saying to our Creator when we disobey Him at the slightest point? We are saying no to the righteousness of God. We are saying, “God, Your law is not good. My judgement is better than Yours. Your authority does not apply to me. I am above and beyond Your jurisdiction. I have the right to do what I want to do, not what You command me to do.” It is evident that we must come to the knowledge of what holiness is by contrasting our dire lack of it with its perfection in God’s being.

A.W. Tozer had this to say, “We cannot grasp the true meaning of the divine holiness by thinking of someone or something very pure and then raising the concept to the highest degree we are capable of. God’s holiness is not simply the best we know infinitely bettered. We know nothing like the divine holiness. It stands apart, unique, unapproachable, incomprehensible and unattainable. The natural man is blind to it. He may fear God’s power and admire God’s wisdom, but His holiness he cannot even imagine.” This is the transcendent holiness of the Creator. It is on display for us, in the natural creation, in His word, and personally in His Son.

“Without such a vision of God’s holiness, true worship is not possible. Worship is not giddy. It does not rush into God’s presence unprepared and insensitive to His majesty. It is not shallow, superficial, or flippant. Worship is life lived in the presence of an infinitely righteous and omnipresent God by one utterly aware of His holiness and consequently overwhelmed with his own unholiness… If you have never worshiped God with a broken and contrite spirit, you’ve never fully worshiped God, because that is the only appropriate response to entering the presence of Holy God.” John MacArthur.

“God’s holiness means He is separate from sin. But holiness in God also means wholeness. God’s holiness is His “God-ness.” It is His being God in all that it means for Him to be God. To meet God in His holiness, therefore, is to be altogether overwhelmed by the discovery that He is God, and not man.” Sinclair Ferguson.

“If every attribute of the Deity were a distinct member, holiness would be the soul to animate them. Without holiness His patience would be an indulgence to sin, His mercy a fondness, His wrath a madness, His power a tyranny, His wisdom an unworthy subtlety. Holiness gives decorum to them all.” Puritan, Stephen Charnock.