The sin of gambling is a rapid growing sin that goes unchallenged. Seemingly, most everyone wants to be a millionaire, peradventure a billionaire, at the expense of their families and friends and a host of losers who purchase losing tickets. Ruined homes, divorces, widows, orphans, lost jobs, and an endless list of related problems come with gambling. Gambling is so common place in our wicked society that hardly anyone points out the fact that Presidential candidate Donald Trump (2016-R), owns several casinos, promotes gambling in his business dealings, and is the major reason why he is mega rich. He profits off the unfortunate who are willing to gamble their hard earned wages for one chance to win millions.
Gambling is stealing from another by mutual consent. Past generations knew the dangers of gambling. This is why churches scorned it, fathers and mothers sheltered their children from it, and communities forbid it. We are being enticed that gambling aides in education and roads while lowering our taxes. Even if that were partially true, why should any country raise revenue by tempting the the poor and working class to throw away their money?
The moral standing of a nation can somewhat be assessed by the entry of moral questions into the political arena. We have seen this with saddened eyes with the issue of abortion and homosexuality. It seems less apparent to many in the form of the lottery and various pari-mutuel ventures. The sadness forms because of a conviction that such involves sin.
The practice of gambling is not branded as error because of a traditional way of thinking. The practice of gambling is wrong because it violates clear principles found in the Scriptures.
The Bible stresses the following Bible principles and laws which are violated by the practice of gambling: Earn a living by honest labor (Gen. 3:19 f; 2 Thess. 3:10). Good stewardship (1 Cor. 4:2) toward God (Prov.3:9,10), family (1 Tim. 5:8), and others (1 Tim. 6:17,18). Not moved by covetousness (Lk. 12:15 ff; Heb. 13:5; Col. 3:5). Love does not harm (Rom. 13:10). Influence (Matt. 5:13,14).
The Lord says we are to earn our living by the sweat of our face (Gen. 3:19). Jesus stressed that the laborer is worthy of his hire (Lk. 10:7). He said to the children of Israel, “Behold, therefore I have smitten mine hand at thy dishonest gain” (Ezek. 22:13). The Lord said further, “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needs” (Eph. 4:28). We are commanded to “provide things honest in the sight of all men” (Rom. 12:17). By what stretch of the imagination can a person feel that money or property acquired by gambling is honest gain? The Lord branded gambling as an evil when He forbade covetousness.
Gambling creates an atmosphere of “get something for nothing. ” Many have always sought to get something for nothing. It is that inevitable attempt to avoid sweat on the brow. Schools now employ this basic human tendency to fund all sorts of worthy endeavors. In some places, the sale of products has given way to raffles and contests of chance. A raffle was recently held in this area to raise money for someone with a catastrophic illness. Isn’t it sad that people won’t give to give but are glad to give if there is the remotest chance that they might get? Many people go to Las Vegas Casinos with their life savings in their hands and come back a pauper. We, of all people, should realize that the only true prize of life is eternal life. And it’s no gamble if we’ll just live as God ordained.
How trustworthy is a steward that squanders money in something with nearly impossible odds? The Wall Street Journal reported that gambling in the lottery is “technically a swindle.” Slot machines, one arm bandits, rob people of their money in small increments and rarely pay off. Would you say that one who places his money on such bets is a wise and trustworthy steward? Such a one has more faith in the ‘god of chance’ than the God of heaven (Matt. 6:25-33).
Covetousness has plagued man since the beginning. The sin of greed finds its vent in get rich quick schemes. Rather than working for one’s needs, people like to find ways of attaining such easily. Jeremiah describes the people of his day as being given to covetousness (Jer. 6:13). How would our “civilized age of intelligence and sophistication” compare to those days of greed and avarice?
When one examines the true effects of gambling, it is quickly realized that participation in such supports some very harmful results. Away from the lottery, consider those who do not win. In effect, the winner wins at the expense of others. Although they have participated voluntarily, they have also been harmed by the process. The same is applied to slot machines. Many place their coins in the machine losing, while one person comes along and takes advantage of the previous losers. Joint participation makes one a party to that harm inflicted on the losers.
One’s influence should be governed carefully to avoid complicity in these matters. Not only would you be breaking clear principles stated above; but would also be lending your influence toward others doing such.
Gambling, even when one wins, destroy lives. Most are not used to handling such a large sum of money and destroy their own life and the life of those around them. Most will lose their winnings, lose their homes, lose their jobs, and most of all, lose their dignity. As Jeremiah warned about ill gotten gain: “As a partridge that broods but does not hatch, so is he who gets riches, but not by right; It will leave him in the midst of his days, and at his end he will be a fool (Jer 17:11)?
The word gamble is not mentioned in the Scriptures, but neither is child pornography, cross gendered, suicide, rape, bootlegging, or larceny and we sure don’t accept them. Young people can be misled by someone pointing out certain words that are not found in the Bible. We need to remember when the Scripture so clearly identifies something as sinful we don’t need a specific name (Gal. 5:21). Much has been condemned in the past under the guise of gambling which really has nothing inherently wrong involved in it (playing pool, cards without betting, etc.). Perhaps this has left the idea in the minds of some that gambling really isn’t a serious issue to be addressed by Christians. Consider, however, the above principles and what they say about the wonderful way our government would raise revenues.
One of the greatest problems faced by law enforcement officers in their efforts to outlaw gambling has been the churches! Gambling in churches is defended on the basis that the money goes for a good purpose. But it is never right to do wrong that good may come from it. In the first century some reported that Paul taught this, but he said it is a slanderous report. The apostle further said that anyone who would teach, “Let us do evil, that good may come” will receive damnation and it will be just (Rom. 3:8).
Conclusion: After you consider these matters, your course should be clear. Avoid any support of those who promote or gain from gambling, and encourage your friends to do the same. Greed is a mortal sin. Sodom and Gomorrah was not only destroyed for immoral conduct but also for the laziness and greed (Ezek 16:49,50). Gambling is covetousness which is idolatry. God’s plan calls for work (Eph. 4:28), exchange (Acts 4:34), giving of gifts (Matt. 2:11).
If we are seeking wealth, Solomon says, “The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds not sorrow with it” (Prov. 10:22). Remember 2 Thessalonians 3:10: “If we don’t work, we don’t eat.” Proverbs 12:11, “He who tills his land will be satisfied with bread, but he who follow frivolity is devoid of understanding.”Gambling is a blight on any society that would claim a degree of self respect and intelligence and will cause you to lose your mortal soul! Bottom line, don’t gamble with your soul!