The question of whether smokers can go to heaven is a complex theological debate with reasonable arguments on both sides.
Ultimately, God is the supreme judge who decides based on the state of each individual’s heart and soul.
However, some biblical principles can provide wisdom on this difficult issue.
Will Smokers Go to Heaven
Smoking is not specifically prohibited in the Bible.
However, the Bible teaches that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) which we should honor by keeping them healthy.
Smoking carries proven health risks of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and more which can shorten one’s life.
The Bible also instructs us not to intentionally harm our bodies.
Health Risks of Smoking
- Lung Cancer – Smoking causes 87% of lung cancer deaths which is the leading cause of cancer death. Quitting smoking at any age can significantly reduce your risk of developing lung cancer.
- Heart Disease Stroke – Smokers are 2-4 times more likely to develop coronary heart disease and have a stroke than non-smokers. Quitting smoking rapidly reduces risks.
- Other Cancers – Smoking increases risks of over a dozen other cancers including mouth, larynx, pharynx, esophagus, pancreas, cervix, kidney, bladder, stomach, colorectal, and acute myeloid leukemia.
- Early Death – On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than non-smokers. Up to half of all smokers who don’t quit are killed by their habit.
Principles About Our Bodies
The Bible sets out some key principles related to how we should honor our bodies:
- Our bodies are temples of God’s Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) which we should honor by keeping healthy. Intentionally harming our health shows dishonor.
- We should glorify God with our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:20). Shortening our lives limits our opportunity to serve God.
- Our bodies belong to God, not to us (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). We are stewards, not owners, and should care for that which belongs to God.
Based on these principles, smoking appears difficult to justify biblically since it damages our health which dishonors God.
Can Smokers Repent?
The good news is God offers redemption to all sinners, including smokers, through Jesus Christ.
By repenting and accepting Christ, even long-time smokers can have hope of salvation and heaven.
With the Holy Spirit’s help, smokers can repent, turn away from smoking, and follow Jesus.
So while smoking itself violates core biblical principles about stewarding our health, smokers can certainly repent and turn to Jesus.
God can grant even decades-long smokers “a new heart and…a new spirit” (Ezekiel 18:31).
Can Smokers Go to Heaven
Whether current or former smokers can go to heaven primarily depends on their relationship with Jesus Christ.
Accepting Christ’s redemption and maintaining an obedient faith relationship with Him is the central requirement for heaven stated in Scripture.
Salvation by Grace Through Faith
The Bible clearly teaches we enter heaven only by God’s grace through faith in Christ, not by our own good deeds (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Even devout Christians struggle with sinful habits whether smoking, overeating, pride, or other.
But God’s grace offers redemption to all who trust in Christ: “Whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Salvation hinges on faith.
Genuine saving faith produces good works and ongoing repentance from sin.
All believers still struggle with sinful tendencies – whether smoking, anger, or greed – but should continually fight against them.
Scripture reminds believers: “Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit” (2 Corinthians 7:1).
For smokers, this means making every effort to quit and limiting smoking’s impact on health.
Through support, prayer, perseverance and God’s strength, believers can have victory over smoking.
But occasional stumbling does not necessarily indicate lack of saving faith.
The key is maintaining an overall trajectory of repentance and obedience to Christ.
Judgement Belongs to Christ
Ultimately judgement belongs to God alone who knows each person’s heart (James 4:12).
Christians abstain from passing judgement and show grace while holding to biblical standards.
Wise Christians recognize lingering sinful habits in other believers who still evidence fruits of genuine faith.
So while smoking violates principles for stewarding our health, smokers who trust in Christ, evidence faith and repentance, and make efforts to quit can certainly go to heaven by God’s grace.
Will I Go to Hell for Smoking?
Simply smoking does not destine someone to eternal punishment in hell.
The Bible is clear that faith in Christ’s atoning work on the cross is the sole basis on which anyone enters heaven.
However, persisting unrepentantly in any sin is dangerous and risks indicating lack of genuine saving faith.
Smokers who make no effort to quit should carefully examine whether they have truly surrendered their lives to following Jesus.
Smoking Alone Doesn’t Condemn
Every genuine believer still struggles with sinful tendencies – whether smoking, lust, greed, pride or other (1 John 1:8).
But they continue fighting to submit those areas to Christ, confessing failure, and accepting His forgiveness and strength to resist (1 John 1:9).
Smoking brings legitimate health and addiction concerns making quitting extremely difficult.
But smokers who recognize its dangers, hate their smoking tendency, and make ongoing efforts to quit need not fear automatic hell because of smoking alone.
However, smokers who feel no conviction about the risks of smoking and make no effort to quit should seriously question their spiritual state.
Willfully persisting in sin directly against God’s principles without remorse indicates a heart untouched by the Holy Spirit.
Scripture warns that impenitent sinners will not inherit God’s Kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
So smokers who feel no need to fight smoking’s hold may not have experienced salvation by God’s grace.
All impenitent sin puts our souls in jeopardy.
Ultimately judgement belongs not to churches but to Christ Himself (James 4:12).
He alone determines if people trust in Him or in themselves, if they submit their lives to following Him or living for themselves.
Persisting in any sin impenitently risks indicating lack of genuine faith.
But smokers who confession, repentance and efforts to quit can still enter God’s Kingdom by grace through faith, not by good works. The gatekeeper is Christ.
Related: Is Smoking Weed a Sin in the Bible?
In summary, smoking poses legitimate health concerns and represents a failure to steward our God-given bodies well.
But smokers who have confessed faith in Christ, shown fruits of repentance, and fight against smoking’s grip can still go to heaven by God’s grace.
Only impenitent, willful sin risks excluding people from God’s Kingdom.
So smokers who recognize smoking’s dangers and make prayerful, ongoing efforts to quit need not fear automatic hell because of smoking alone.
Through God’s power, even decades-long smoking can be overcome.
While abstaining from smoking is certainly wise based on biblical principles for stewarding our health, smoking itself does not destine someone to eternal separation from God.
Related: Bible verses about smoking
The gatekeeper who determines heaven or hell for each person remains Jesus Christ alone based on their faith and repentance.
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