The Riches OF GRACE
“hath appeared to all men.” Titus 2:11
Robert W. Reed
“Abstain from all appearance of evil.” I Thessalonians 5:22
+ The Sin of Gambling +
Gambling is not only a bad bet, but it is a sin against God and our fellow man. Most Americans do not think of gambling as a vice, but only as a harmless entertainment. Gambling is an invention of the devil and paganistic in its practice. A Christian has no business being involved in any form of gambling, whether it is in a casino or with a church organization.
Gambling used to be put in the same category with alcohol, drugs, and prostitution, but now it is very much accepted and has become more popular than ever. It is promoted by Hollywood and those who win are headline news. Gambling increases crime, corruption, family problems, suicide, personal debt, violence, theft, fraud, embezzlement, etc.
George Washington called gambling, “The child of avarice, the brother of inquity, and the father of mischief.” He also referred to it is as an, “abominable practice.”
Many Christians try to justify gambling by saying that the Scriptures are silent on the subject, that there is no verse that says, “Thou shalt not gamble.” There are no verses that say not to sniff cocaine or not to use heroin either, but we know it is a sin to do so. The Bible may be silent on shooting someone with a gun, but it is not silent on murder. Neither the Old nor the New Testaments endorses gambling. The principle is clearly seen in Galatians 5:19-21. There is a list of the “works of the flesh,” and in verse 21 we see these words, “and such like” indicating other sins that are not mentioned here. The point is, gambling is a sin by Biblical standards. Legalizing gambling does not change the fact that it is sin. Making sin legal does not in any way make it right in the eyes of God. For example, abortion has been legal in America since 1973 (but it is still sin).
Biblical Reasons for Rejecting Gambling
1. Gambling Promotes Covetousness
According to Colossians 3:5, covetousness is a work of the flesh that we are to mortify, “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” This verse also refers to covetousness as a form of idolatry, for that which we covet becomes our god. Gambling is the worship of material things. It turns a person away from the true God in gratifying the flesh to enthrone self. According to Ephesians 5:3, covetousness is not to be named among the saints. In Ephesians 5:5, the covetous person is found in the same hell as the thief, fornicator and drunkard, “For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” To gamble is to risk eternity. Please understand that the entire motive of gambling is getting something for nothing, and the desire to possess what belongs to another. A desire to get rich quick is contrary to Scripture. In I Timothy 6:8, we are told to be content with food and raiment, that is, be satisfied with what God has supplied. In verse 10, the desire to gamble is motivated by the love of money, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” Please consider also Hebrews 13:5 and Exodus 20:17 on the subject of covetousness.
2. Gambling Perverts Moral Character
We are told in I Corinthians 15:33, that, “Evil communication corrupts good manners.” and in I Thessalonians 5:22, to “abstain from all appearances of evil.” The gambler is bad company and gambling has the appearance of evil. Gambling has its association with crime, drinking, cursing, nudity, violence, corruption and worldly entertainment. We are not to associate ourselves with those who reject the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:11, II Corinthians 6:14-17). Why would a Christian join with those who have chosen the broad way that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13)? We must be a good example and testimony to those around us. In Ephesians 5:11 we read, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” We cannot gamble in the name of Christ (Colossians 3:17) nor do it for the glory of God, I Corinthians 10:31, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
3. Gambling Plagues Our Neighbor
Gambling is a failure to love our neighbor as the Bible commands (Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 22:34-40, I John 4:20). We are told in Philippians 2:3-4 to be concerned about the welfare of others, even preferring them above ourselves, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” Gambling does not bring about a better relationship with others, but exploits them and takes advantage of them. It never produces a bond of love, but does produce distrust. We are even told to love our enemy in Matthew 5:43. This cannot be possible if we seek to benefit at the expense of another.
4. Gambling Prohibits Good Stewardship
Gambling is contrary to Biblical stewardship. Faithfulness is the key to stewardship, I Corinthians 4:1-2, “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” Every believer must give account of his or her stewardship (Luke 19:11-28, Matthew 25:14-30). We must not take risks with the Master’s money which He has entrusted to us. All we possess, our health, job, family, talents, etc, were given to us by God.
5. Gambling Pollutes Work Ethics
In Genesis 3:19, we are told that, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread”, not by playing cards or pulling the arm on a slot machine. God has ordained that man is to earn his living by working with his own hands. His first assignment was to be a farmer (Genesis 2:15). Gambling is an attempt to get something without working for it. The non-laboring life of the gambler is clearly condemned throughout Scripture. In Exodus 20:9, men were to work six days and rest one. The following passages will show the importance of work: II Thessalonians 3:10-12, I Timothy 5:8, Ephesians 4:28.
6. Gambling Produces Addiction
In Ephesians 5:18, the Holy Spirit is the only thing that is to be in control of the believer’s life, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” Anything else that enslaves us is sin (John 8:34). According to Matthew 6:24, we are to have only one master. Gambling is addictive; it gets into your blood. It has the controlling power of a narcotic. This addiction has become an epidemic not only among adults, but also among the youth of our land as well. When a state institutes gambling, the number of compulsive gamblers will increase between 100 to 550 percent.
7. Gambling Proves A Lack Of Faith
Gambling is the opposite of faith. In II Corinthians 5:7, we are told that, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” We are to be living a life of faith, not that of luck, chance or fortune. When we gamble we dethrone God and despise His Word. We cannot gamble by faith, for whatsoever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23). We are to trust in the Lord for everything and not try to exploit chance hoping to get lucky. May God have mercy on every ignorant and foolish believer who somehow thinks that faith and gambling go together. Amen.
“The soldiers at the foot of the cross threw dice for my Savior’s garments. And I have never heard the rattling of dice but I have conjured up the dreadful scene of Christ on His cross, and gamblers at the foot of it, with their dice bespattered by His blood. I do not hesitate to say that of all sins, there is none more surely damns men, and worse than that, makes them the devils helper to damn others, than gambling.”
Charles H. Spurgeon
“Because strait is the gate,
and narrow is the way,
which leadeth unto life,
and few there be that find it.”
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Acts 16:31
Victory Baptist Church
Pastor Robert W. Reed
14473 Bellingrath Road
P.O. Box 257
Coden, Alabama 36523