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The Christian and Gambling

by Mike Riley

"I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of our Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive." ~ Acts 20:35

Gambling is very much a part of American life today. Time Magazine has said gambling is among the "biggest and fastest growing commercial activities in the United States." It has been estimated that illegal gambling takes in as much as $50 billion dollars every year. Add to this all the "legal gambling" (such as bingo games and lotteries sponsored by churches and political organizations) and "innocent gambling" (like football, football pools, golf games, etc.), and we are not surprised to hear that 80% of our population considers gambling to be an acceptable activity. There are millions of "compulsive gamblers" in the U.S. and nearly 500 chapters of Gamblers Anonymous to help them deal with their "affliction". With all the gambling going on around us, what should the Christian's attitude be toward it?

Christian's Attitude Toward Gambling

1) We should not shrug it off as an "innocent pastime", and seek to justify it on the basis that "everybody takes chances" (by buying stocks, crossing streets, or planting crops, etc.). Gambling is more than merely taking a chance; it is making a chance of winning the losses of others. Gambling winnings only occur on the backs of gambling losses! Even though the losers may have been willing participants in the scheme, it amounts to robbery by consent.

2) We should not fall for the "get something for nothing" appeal. Gambling appeals to man's selfish interests and encourages covetousness. Gambling flourishes where materialism abounds.

Jesus said, "Take heed and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth" (Lk. 12:15).

The Apostle Paul said, "the love of money is the root of all evils: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows" (1 Tim. 6:10; cf. Col. 3:5).

Gambling appeals to man's desire for more and more.

3) Gambling is morally wrong because it violates the law of labor and exchange. The Bible teaches us to earn our bread by the "sweat of our faces" (Gen. 3:19), to "labor with our hands" (Eph. 4:28).

Laws Of Transferring Property

There are but three legitimate means of transferring property:

1) the law of labor.

2) the law of exchange, where a commodity is exchanged for its value in money or goods.

3) the law of love, where money is given without any expectation or desire for return.

Gambling does not qualify in any of the above listed means. The gambler earns "nothing" and produces "nothing". He lives off the earnings of others; he is a parasite on society.

The Apostle Paul said it best when he stated in Eph. 4:28, "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth".





"...upon this rock I will build My church..." Matt.16:18


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