I was recently asked if we were told in the Bible not to gamble. The answer is yes… and no. Let me handle the latter part first. There is nowhere in the Bible where it is written “Do not gamble” or “Thou shalt not gamble”; however, though those words are not there, the teaching definitely is. There is not a verse in the Bible that says “Thou shalt not be an atheist”, but the teaching IS all through the Bible (Psalm 14:1). The Bible does not say “Do not go over the speed limit” or “Do not run stop signs”, yet the teaching IS in the Bible (Romans 13:1-5). The Bible does not say “Do not do drugs”, but the teaching IS in the Bible (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). The point here is that it is a ludicrous thought to say that since there is not a verse that calls out your “insert name of sin here”, it is then okay to partake in it. I will begin by showing you two common themes people use to show that Christians should not gamble. I will then present you with the most unmistakable, damning point in the Bible that shows without a doubt, Christians are not supposed to gamble. The problem is that there are those looking for excuses to continue in their sin and they either turn a deaf ear to it, or point out what that person has done to justify their sin. Can I be blunt? It takes a complete idiot to think they can point out something someone else does as their defense, (rather it is really an attack on one giving them the truth), and think they are ok to continue in it.
Let us define gambling. I hear many a pastor from the pulpit preach against it. The thought in mind being a poker table in a smoky room with people tossing money in to start, and taking a chance that they will win the entire thing. Or a slot machine that people toss money in, with the hopes of winning even more with the pull of the arm. Some of these same folks can be seen buying tickets for the lottery, or getting a scratch off ticket. It is the same concept! You put some money in, with the same intent of the person at the slot machine, of walking away with more. It is gambling. That is the definition of gambling.
Now the first of points is greed which is a product of envy. One of the best passages in the Bible to show the difference in the saved versus the lost is found in Galatians 5. First, the lusts of the flesh, which are those things contrary to a walk with Christ:
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Compare that with the things which ARE examples of the Holy Spirit dwelling within you:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
As said earlier, greed is a product of envy; it is also tied to idolatry. The first passage is quite clear where this falls. Scripture speaks for itself, I don’t have to add anything to it. Plainness of speech straight from God.
The second point is that of a Christian being a good steward of their money. This is something more common that people hear. The passage of the bad steward in Luke chapter 16 points towards what God thinks of those who don’t handle their money properly. Another passage is in Matthew 25 starting in verse 22 addressing the servants given talents by their master and how each handled it. A good steward of their money will not gamble it. It is a losing proposition from the beginning. You might as well flush your money down the toilet. You have a little worse chance of winning money that way, but the result is the same… you wasted it. You know, people find a million reasons why they can’t give more to the Lord in offerings, or why they can’t afford to give homeless person money or buy them some food. But they will go waste it gambling. No matter how little you do it, or how small the amount is, a gambler is a horrible steward of the money God has given them.
The final point comes with an example covered in the Old Testament, and followed by its outcome in the New Testament. People have actually tried to justify gambling by appealing to the Jewish custom of casting lots. But there is a huge difference. The Holy Spirit did not reside within until Jesus made salvation available to us all. That being the case, the Jews used something called the Urim and the Thummim. These were stones/jewels that were inserted on the high priest’s breast plate which he wore when entering into the tabernacle before the Lord. In cases where divine decisions were to be made, the question or questions would be asked of the Lord, and the answer would come in a “yes” or “no” fashion by the illuminating of these. In times where the priest was not available as well as in latter times, after these were lost amongst other items when the temple was looted, the Jews then used the casting of lots. They knew the fate of how these lots wound up was in God’s hands so the answer would be from Him.
The New Testament has only two instances of the casting of lots. Let us first look at the Book of Acts. In Acts 1:15-26, Peter is speaking and relates that scripture was fulfilled with what Judas had done, but he was now dead, and they needed to have another fill that twelfth position. Two men, Barsabus and Matthias, were the ones they were to choose from. Peter then again shows the belief that God would control the casting of lots to determine this:
And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, show whether of these two thou hast chosen,
With that, they cast their lots, and Matthias was chosen. In chapter 2 we see the giving of the Holy Spirit. With this Holy Spirit that would now dwell within us, there was no need for lots because we would now be led by the Spirit. There is never another time in scripture where lots are cast by Christians. Point here is, the times spoken of in these instances were NEVER for gambling, it was for God to give His divine will.
But there IS an example of lots being cast for gambling. It was prophesied in the 22nd Psalm, and picked up on in each of the four Gospels. I will show you one. Here’s the backdrop. Jesus is being crucified and his clothes are with the Romans soldiers.
They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.
There it is. Your example of gambling in the Bible. During a time of the only one who can save you, Jesus Christ, being offered up for you; gambling takes place for his clothing. Such a repulsive picture of gambling is clearly God giving a damning judgment upon it. Why would any Christian want to take part in something attached to the death of their Saviour? What is it you are telling Him by continuing in this sin? It’s not my words people, it’s God’s, so you can get mad at me if you want to, but truth is truth. Be sure your sin will find you out.
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
In His Grace,
Mike Harris Jr.
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