Overcoming Sin through Christ: Gambling

  Overcoming Sin through Christ

A Comprehensive List of Sins

(Alphabetically Arranged)

Richard Hollerman

The plan of this study is simple.  We will look at a large number of sins, one by one, alphabetically.  We will define the sin, describe it, and comment on it, along with noticing Scripture references on the particular entry.  Some illustrations will be offered along with the description.

Gambling

Have you ever gambled in your life? Maybe you gambled as a child with pennies and perhaps you gambled as an adult with dollars.  Have you gambled on a sports event, or at a horse race track, or at the car races? Have you played poker with the fellows? Or have you visited a casino—whether in Las Vegas or elsewhere—and there indulged in the carnal activity of gambling?

We are all acquainted with gambling, whether we have participated or simply known of others who actively participated.  “Gambling is the wagering of money or something of material value (referred to as “the stakes”) on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money and/or material goods.”[1] 

Gambling is very common in most parts of the world.  “Researchers at Washington University at St. Louis assessed risks and rates of gambling in 2005.  According to their gambling rates study, approximately 1.6 billion people gamble during any given year with over 4.2 billion having gambled at one time or another.”[2]  Can you imagine—4.2 billion in a world of over 6 billion people! How many of these are serious gamblers with this sin affecting their lives?  “Although gambling is simply one form of recreation and fun for many people, studies have shown that for 4% to 6% of gamblers it can become a compulsion or addiction.”[3]

People can gamble in many different ways.  We might remember how the soldiers were “casting lots” in their gambling for the garments of Jesus at the cross (Matthew 27:35). Men and woman gamble by means of “lotteries, poker, betting on horse races, and such casino games as blackjack, roulette, and slot machines.”[4]  We’ve known of friends or acquaintances who eagerly look forward to traveling to Los Vegas to spend their vacation gambling at the big casinos.  Many travel to New Jersey or Louisiana to gamble in the casinos there. (Texans often go to nearby Louisiana since Texas at this writing forbids this form of gambling.) People may gamble for their favorite sports team, gamble at the horse races, and gamble in their homes with poker and other card games.  Children may gamble with pennies, dimes, or quarters—but adults may gamble with thousands of dollars!

There are many reasons why gambling is sinful.  The second greatest command is, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). Along with this, Paul says, “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10).  If we have an outgoing love for others that seeks their highest good and if we refrain from doing any wrong to them, it is obvious that we cannot gamble against them and seek to win their money and possessions.  If we take away their money, how can we say that we genuinely love them? 

Another reason why gambling is sinful is that it is based on covetousness or greed (which we have treated elsewhere in this list of sins).  Paul says that “greed” is an attitude that “amounts to idolatry” (Colossians 3:5; cf. Ephesians 5:5).  Covetousness is wanting what belongs to another and seeking to obtain it in any way possible.  Greed is seeking more for ourselves at the expense of another.  The covetous person has no “inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God” (Ephesians 5:5) and “the wrath of God” will come upon him (v. 6; cf. Colossians 3:5-6). 

Wayne Jackson offers various reasons why gambling must be considered sinful.[5] (1) Gambling violates the obligation of faithful stewardship (1 Peter 4:10; Luke 12:42; 1 Corinthians 4:2; Luke 16:2). (2) Gambling operates under the false view of “might makes right.”  We are to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:39) and love does no wrong to a neighbor (Romans 13:10). We are to do to others as we would want them to do for us (Matthew 7:12).

(3) Gambling promotes laziness and quenches the desire for honest work (Genesis 3:19; 2 Thessalonians 3:10). (4) Gambling is addictive (1 Corinthians 6:12). (5) Gambling sets an evil example before others (Romans 12:17; 1 Timothy 5:14; 2 Peter 2:2; 1 Peter 2:21; 1 Corinthians 11:1). (6) Gambling breeds dishonesty and deceit. (7) Gambling destroys the home (1 Timothy 5:8). (8) Gambling is the enemy of mental serenity.

For these reasons and many more, we must avoid the sin of gambling and help others to repent of this attitude of greed and lovelessness.

 



[1] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gambling

[2] gambling.addictionblog.org/how-many-people-gamble/.  The same statistics are found at: wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_people_gamble.

[3] Ibid.

[4] The World Book Encyclopedia, 2009, s.v. “Gambling.”

[5] “Gambling,” Living Soberly, Righteously, and Godly, ed. Thomas F. Eaves (Delight, Arkansas: Gospel Light Publishing Company, 1977), pp. 117-126.

 

 

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