Can We Gamble? (1)

By Keith Greer

Just by the mere fact that we live in Las Vegas, with gambling not only legal but a very lucrative industry here, there are many temptations placed before us to participate. Even if we stay completely away from “The Strip,” there are slot machines in virtually every grocery store in town. One has only to stand in a grocery store line and watch a child begging his mother to go home – while she just keeps putting one quarter after another in the machine – to realize that gambling is not the “fun little pastime” that many would have us to believe.

Gambling is one of the most difficult sins to recognize. There are those who want to gamble and want to prove that it is correct in the sight of God. As we go through our study, I would like you to consider some questions that you should ask deep within yourself and answer according to the Scriptures.

(1) What is good about gambling?

(2) What is attractive about gambling that entices so many to want participate?

(3) Does gambling damage your example and influence as a Christian?

Gambling, by definition, is “to play a game for money or other stake. . . Hence: to take money or other thing of value upon an uncertain event; to hazard; wager” (Webster’s N.I. Dictionary). There are two essential elements involved in gambling.

(1) The “stake” (one must win at the expense of another);

(2) The element of “chance.” (If you play, then you have the chance to win or lose.)

One of the reasons that many have trouble seeing anything wrong with gambling is the fact that it is accepted, in some form, in virtually every part of our society.

Many denominational and secular groups, not only approve, but also arrange gambling operations to raise money for some “worthy cause.” Such events as bingo and “Monte Carlo nights” bring funds to various organizations which hide behind the “good” that this money does. Here in Las Vegas, much publicity is given to the contributions that the gambling industry has made to our schools in the form of revenues.

Presently adopted by one-third of our states, lotteries have become an “acceptable” means for governments to raise revenues without calling for a tax hike.

Regardless of what others are doing, as Christians we are to “abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:22-23). If the Lord comes today, are you ready?

Guardian of Truth XXXV: 5, p. 129
March 7, 1991