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What does the bible say about gambling?

I cry for the inhabitants of the earth, satan has cast out his evil net, The devil has cast out his gambling net, he has made the net look so blur that even some Christians can hardly notice the net. And it has caught so many; more than 60% of the world’s population, especially the youth involve themselves in one form of gambling or the other. As a Christian, you’re not supposed to be involved in any form of gambling, don’t gamble, don’t work for bookmakers or bet site owners, don’t advice anyone to gamble, don’t give them any gambling tip or idea. I want us to discuss the subject of gambling, whether or not it is morally, Scripturaly, Legitimate, proper for Christians to involve themselves in it. And we are also discussing what gambling is, and offer biblical evidence and know what the Bible says about the morality of gambling. Obviously the bible is the moral standard for Christians to follow, and it reveals the word of God for all these. Let me make this point before we discuss this topic, there are many things we know to be wrong as Christians even though the bible didn’t name them or directly talk about them, even though the bible doesn’t have a verse that say “thou shall not do this specific thing”. We know what’s wrong because of bible principle; we understand the principles of the word of God, and if we understand what the activity is and then we apply the principles of the word of God, then we know if Christians should do or should not do. And to some extent that necessary and it has to be that way because what people like to do; one of the devils favorites trick is to use a different name for something and people will say “that’s ok” e.g people say is okay for a man and a woman who are not yet married to live together in other for them to know more about themselves and they term it “trial marriage”. And we all know this is fornication, but satan changed the name and people think is okay. We need to understand bible principles and not just to have a label that applies to something and a verse that talked exactly about it. So let’s study gambling and apply bible principles to it. Irrespective of people giving gambling different names, Gambling simply means a wager or bet with each player agreeing to risk losing some material possession (e.g. money) of other players, exchange for the chance to win possession of other players without compensating the loser and the win or lose is determined by the outcome of some kind of game. Simplifying it, some other elements also go with gambling. 1st nobody knows for sure the outcome of the event at the beginning of the event; a game of chance or skill, an unknown outcome e.g. football, election. 2nd element is the stakes; each player places a risk of possession of material value often times money or something of value. The 3rd element is the wager or the bet which involves an agreement; each person involved in the gambling puts their money with the idea that if somebody else wins they will give that up to that person, but they also hope to win so they can take other people’s stakes that’s the agreement; the wager that’s involved. And of course the outcome of the game determines who takes the whole money. The 4th element is that there is not mutual compensation; there is no intent to give goods or services of fair value in exchange for what is lost. The loser loses and gives up his possession and the winner wins. The winner has no intention of giving the loser something of equal value in return for what the person has lost. These are basically the concept of gambling 1. Nobody knows for sure the outcome of the event at the beginning of the event. 2. There is a stake; each player places a risk of possession of material value often times money or something of value. 3. There is a wager or the bet which involves an agreement; each person involved in the gambling puts their money with the idea that if somebody else wins they will give that up to that person, but they also hope to win so they can take other people’s stakes 4. There is not mutual compensation; there is no intent to give goods or services of fair value in exchange for what is lost. The loser loses and gives up his possession and the winner wins. People confuse risk with gambling. Gambling involves all the above elements but risk doesn’t. E.g. owning a business, there may be risk involved but there is no agreement; wager or bet to take other people’s money. Instead there is a mutual exchange of goods and services. There is compensation. You give a product in exchange for what the people pay you. So the intent of it, if it is done properly is to give fair value in exchange; there is compensation so in that sense it doesn’t constitute gambling. Another e.g. is buying insurance. Sometimes people think buying insurance constitutes gambling, but again there is no wager or bet, there is compensation here. What the insurance company does is to compensate somebody if they do have a loss; when your house is wrecked by a storm or fire, or your car is wrecked. So it isn’t gambling. The key point in gambling is that, the gambler always wants other people to suffer loss of their possession because he wants to gain what they’ve lost. Some of the e.g. are the football betting, horse racing betting, F1 race betting, lottery, baba ijebu, poker (in your room for money), poll, race track betting, raffle draws, casino gambling; slot machines, dicey card games, number games e.t.c all those play per stakes or any events that involves the elements of above. It doesn’t matter the amount of money whether small or big it is still gambling. It’s the principle that determines whether it is moral or immoral. What are the Bible principles? There are a whole group of factors; biblical principles that need to be consider in discussing the subject of gambling. One of the biblical principles is the law for transfer of properties i.e. 3 proper ways that money or possessions can pass from one person to another. 1st is the law of exchange. Two people agreeing to exchange money for goods, or goods for goods; trade e.g. you buy a car in exchange for money. You pay money to get the car. Here there is a mutual benefit of fair exchange. Let’s look at Matthew 13 vs. 45, 46. “45, again the kingdom of God is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: 46, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it”. Here we have two transactions, he had property, 1st he sells all that he had for money and 2ndly he takes the money and buys the pearls. In each case, the intent is to give fair compensation for each party; each party is benefiting from the exchange. John 4 vs. 8 “for his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat”. I want to emphasize that in a fair transaction there is mutual compensation; benefit to both parties. And neither party, if the deal is done properly should be attempting to take other people’s property with giving fair value in exchange. Does this fit gambling? The answer is no. Because in gambling, the winner has no intention to compensate the loser; is a one sided thing. Is not a matter of mutual compensation, is not a matter of ‘someone given something in exchange for something of equal value. But it is rather, trying to take someone’s money and another trying to take your money too without compensating the loser and this violates the law of exchange. Another proper way for someone to obtain property or money from somebody else is the law of labor or the work ethics. Here one person pays for service and the other person offers the services. 1st Timothy 5 vs. 18 for the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, the laborer is worthy of his reward. This is a biblical principle. Again there is a mutual benefit here; both of them gains. Ephesians 4 vs. 28 “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 him that needed”. Here the principle says we should work some jobs, to receive what we need (money). Rather than going out to steal, taking someone else’s money, or taking someone’s property improperly. Secondly it says, “Working with his hands the thing which is good” what does this mean? It means to work something beneficial to the person who is paying you, give something of value in exchange for what the person pays you; a mutual benefit. If it is not done this way, then it is not proper biblically. Also notice that there is a contrast to stealing when if you try to take somebody’s money without given something of equal value in exchange; is an improper way of trying to get their money. 2nd Thessalonians 3 vs. 10-12 “10 for even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. 11. For we here that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.” From this, we are not supposed to take money from somebody else without given them labor, service or something of fair value in exchange. Does gambling fit this? Obviously not, because a gambler always tries to take people’s money without given them something of fair value in exchange for their money. Gambling undermines the work ethic because instead of accomplishing the productive labor that benefits other people, the gambler tries to take other people’s money without fair exchange or mutual benefit. The fact that a gambler has to work, to try to win the game doesn’t mean that it is a legitimate work, because he is not working that which is good according to Ephesians 4 vs. 28, he is not given that which is of benefit to other gamblers. If it was, then all the gamblers are working, so they should all be compensated. But the point is that they are not working for everybody to be compensated; they want to take from the others, and the others will be the losers. So you see it is not a legitimate work as they think. Gambling is not a legitimate entertainment too. A legitimate service involves a contractual understanding; it’s understood who is giving the money and who is giving the service for e.g. the football game, the football players give the services; entertainment and they are been paid for their contract. The people who go to the stadium pay to buy ticket to watch the match. So the players are the workers and the people who watch the match pay for the services. So if gambling is a legitimate work, then all the players should all be paid. Gambling is wrong because it undermines the work ethic and leads people to seek profit by causing other people’s loss. 3rd way that the bible describes as a legitimate means to obtain property from other people is the law of giving out of free will. This is when a person makes use of his own free will to give something in expression of caring, kindness or goodwill. No obligation for the receiver to compensate the giver. This is an act of goodwill. In this case there is no mutual compensation, but the giver gives something away for a reason. The reasons are the love, the compassion, the helpfulness, the kindness of the giver. As in Ephesians 4 vs. 28 “that he may have to give him that needed”. So you give something out of the goodness of your heart to help someone who is in need. This is an act of good will and not grudgingly. For e.g. 2 Corinthians 9. Vs. 6-7 “But this I say, he which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” This is a proper biblical teaching about given. This doesn’t apply to church offerings or giving only, but also applies to giving to someone in need. The point is that it should be done willingly (because you want the receiver to have it) and not grudgingly. Now does this apply to gambling? Is the gambler willingly and cheerful giving and wants the other person to have his money or property? No! He is trying to take the other people’s money or property and tries to keep them from taking what he has/ his own money or property. If he was, then the gambler should give it out bountifully, cheerfully as the verse says 2 Corinthians vs. 9, 6-7, obviously not. This also goes contrary to Acts 2o vs. 35 “It is more blessed to give than to receive. Is this how the gamblers see it? No, he doesn’t think it is more blessed to give than to receive, he always wants to take from other people. Let’s look at 1st John 3 vs. 17-18 “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteh up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” 18. My little children let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth”. 1st Corinthians 13 vs. 3 “and though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing” Does the gambler have love? Is he giving out of love? Does he want the other people to have what he has cheerfully? If not, then is not biblical giving, it doesn’t fit what the bible says. The truth is that gamblers agreeing to give i.e. to lose, what he has because he wants a chance to take, what the other people possess. Gambling does not fit this category because; gamblers are not giving out freely out as an active compassion, kindness or love. The point is as far as biblical principles are concern; there are only 3 moral ways for property to pass from one person to another and gambling doesn’t fit any one of them. Rather it contradicts them. As far as bible is concern, Gambling is an immoral, illegitimate way of obtaining other people’s possession because is a desire to take what belongs to somebody else without compensating fairly for what you’ve taken. As gambling doesn’t fit any of the biblical ways of transfer of property or money, then what bible concept does gambling fit? If it does fit any of the proper ways of transferring property then it must be wrong. What is it? To answer this, we need to understand what the bible says about Covetousness. ‘Coveting’ let’s look into the book of Ephesians 5 vs. 5 to 7 “for this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7. Be not ye therefore partakers with them” whatever this covetousness is, the verse says we should not partake of that, it brings God’s wrath, and it’s disobedience. 1st Corinthians 6 vs. 9 to 10 “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10. Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of GOD.” Romans 1 vs. 29-32 “Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers. 30. Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, invetors of evil things, disobedience to parents. 31. without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32. Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” Also those who encourage others to also do them are worthy of the same punishment. In general, we can define gambling as the desire to wrongfully take someone else property. I.e. to take someone’s property in some other ways other than the ways that we just found appropriate to do it. The biblical means we just discussed above. Another definition says, it is a desire for increasing one’s possession at the expense of others without a fair compensation. No means of mutual benefit, but covetous. Act 20 vs. 33 says “I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. 34. Yea, ye yourself know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. 35. I have shewed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, it is more blessed to give than to receive.” Paul said if it is not this proper ways, then it is covetousness. Proper giving or receiving; if is not something that you worked for and somebody paid you, or you’re giving willing, out of a cheerful mind and not as a grudging obligation, or receiving a thing/property as a proper gift or in exchange for something of fair value then that is covetousness. Gambling isn’t a gift, given cheerfully, out of goodwill; it is given as a matter of grudging obligation. Gamblers don’t want to pay the others; he wants to collect their money. Covetousness is the bible word for giving as a matter of grudging obligation; you don’t want to give it, you really want to keep it. Not only do they want to keep their own money, they also want to take other people’s money. This is what all gamblers do. So the word ‘gambling’ may not be in the bible, but the bible talks about the concept of gambling. Even if the loser agrees to give, it is not a willing or a cheerful giving. Deep down his heart, he really doesn’t want to give it. If there is no mutual benefit or fair exchange, or is not a matter of love, compassion, kindness, helpfulness, then it is covetousness. When two people gambling it is a mutual covetousness because both parties have agreed to take the other person’s property. The fact that both parties agrees to it doesn’t make it right. Gambling is mutual covetousness. Gamblers all agree to covet; to take another person’s property/money without giving something in fair value in exchange. Some say they gamble for fun; they don’t gamble for the money they gamble for the trill; the excitement. As far as you are involved in gamble or the concepts of covetousness, it is still the same thing and you are worthy of the same punishment of God’s wrath over covetousness. If you don’t gamble for the money why not leave the money out of it, and play for the fun? Don’t deceive yourself by saying is not for the money. Gambling is Covetousness! When a person wants to take someone else’s property/money without returning fair value in exchange for what is been taken, or it is not an act of kindness or concern, for the wellbeing of the other person; you just want the other person to have it, goodwill giving, then it Covetousness. And that is exactly what gambling is all about. We need to understand exactly what the bible says, we need to understand the biblical principles so we do what is right and also help other people to do what is right. Satan takes advantage of people’s ignorance. Satan is the master of blur! He wants to make our spiritual eyesight fuzzy, So we’ll think we are worshipping God when we are really worshipping the devil. Remember what the word of God says, “My people are destroyed because of lack of knowledge, we need to seek answers, we need to ask for knowledge and wisdom from God to help us understand some unclear biblical principles, laws or concepts and apply them to the activities of life. We, the generation of vipers, we look for signs and no sign shall be shown unto us. We take things for granted. Some of us think that God is a joker; some of us take the death of Jesus Christ on the cross for granted, we think that God will take things easy with us on the Day of Judgment. No, he won’t. He will repay you, every man according to his works and deeds. What are we doing? Where is out faith in Christ Jesus? Where have we lost the knowledge that the word of God brings to us? Where is the Holy Spirit in us? Matthew 7:14, “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”” what does this mean? It actually means that people are already seeking for the truth, they are looking for the narrow way, but it also said that “few there be that find it” this means only few people that will find it irrespective of the fact that they are Christians. We need to pray to God through our lord Jesus to open your inner eyes, to understand and perceive wisely and accurately bible principles and apply them in our daily life. May God help us in Jesus Christ’ name. Amen Please share this message with others, May God bless you as you do.

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