From the Word
15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, 20 always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.
Ephesians 5:15–20 ,RSV
God having in his infinite goodness so richly shed upon us in these latter times the gospel of light, we ought in honor and gratitude to him try to reform ourselves in the matter of intemperance. We should fear lest through this evil, besides committing other sins, we draw upon us the wrath and punishment of God. For naught else can result from the pernicious life of intemperance but false security and contempt of God. Individuals continually dead in drunkenness, buried in excesses, living like swine, cannot fear God, cannot be occupied with divine things. Such are the excesses now to be seen in the courts of princes—banqueting and drinking — that one would think they meant to devour the resources of the country in a single hour. Lords, princes, and noblemen — the entire country — are ruined, reduced to beggary, for the reason that God’s gifts are so inhumanly wasted and destroyed.
The evil of drunkenness has, alas, gained such ascendancy as to be past restraint unless the Word of God may exert some controlling influence among the few, the individuals who are still human and who would be Christians. It is my opinion that if God does not sometime check the vice by a special judgment, even women and children will become inebriate, and when the last day arrives no Christian will be found, but all souls will descend drunken into the abyss of hell. Let all who desire to be Christians know that it is incumbent upon them to manifest the virtue of temperance; that drunken sots have no place among Christians, and cannot be saved until they amend their ways, until they reform from their evil habits.
Just as idolatry and adultery are sins excluding from heaven, so drunkenness is a sin which bars from the blessings of baptism, from remission of sins, faith in Christ, and personal salvation. Hence, if you would be a Christian and be saved, you must lead a sober and temperate life.
O God, how shameless and ungrateful we are, we so highly blessed of God in having his Word and in being liberated from the tyranny of the pope, who desired our sweat and blood—how ungrateful in the face of these things not to amend our lives in some measure in honor of the gospel, and in praise and gratitude to God.
Luther, Martin, and John Sander. Devotional Readings from Luther’s Works for Every Day of the Year. Augustana Book Concern, 1915, pp. 239–40.