Is It A Sin To Gamble?

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Hi R____,
Thank you for your question. You are asking if it is all right for a Christian to gamble.
You say that you do not think “those after the mind of Jesus Christ should indulge, but you don’t seem to have concrete corroboration.”

Well, you certainly are right about what you think about the mind of Christ on this subject. When Christ was commending the servants who had made their talents to prosper, he never once mentions gambling in a casino or in a state run lottery, where the odds of winning are just slightly better than if you had never been born. Neither does Christ commend them for taking part in a raffle which, just as a lottery or a Casino, is designed to enrich the house at the expense of the public. I would suppose that state run lotteries are capable of being reviewed by those who are interested in doing so, but don’t hold your breath until you hear the words “Lottery players lost big tonight…” because that is not going to happen on your evening news. It is the small pittance that is won by the players which will always be touted to the always hopeful lottery players. It borders on deceitfulness to tell people only the winnings and never once mention how many billions of dollars are lost to produce those few winnings.
It is a commentary on human nature as “marred in the hand of the Potter” (Jer 18:4), that when this financial crisis began here in the United States, there was a very marked increase in the number of ticket sales in all the lotteries in all the states with state run lotteries.
When dealing with the “wicked and slothful servant,” Christ gave us an insight into His mind concerning what He would have us to do with “His goods.” That insight is not an endorsement for charging interest, any more that “you must become as this little child if you want to enter into the kingdom of God,” is an endorsement for naivety or immaturity. Neither were Christ’s comments commending the unjust steward an endorsement for stealing from one’s employer. What Christ was endorsing was that we should not be gambling with ‘His goods which we are given:’

Mat 25:14  For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
Mat 25:15  And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
Mat 25:16  Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
Mat 25:17  And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
Mat 25:18  But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.
Mat 25:19  After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
Mat 25:20  And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
Mat 25:21  His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
Mat 25:22  He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
Mat 25:23  His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
Mat 25:24  Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
Mat 25:25  And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, [ there] thou hast [ that is] thine.
Mat 25:26  His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
Mat 25:27  Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
Mat 25:28  Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
Mat 25:29  For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
Mat 25:30  And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

“You ought to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.” God does not ‘take chances,’ and those who have the mind of Christ don’t take chances either.
You have asked me what the scriptures reveal about this subject, and I have given you what Christ said about what He expects us to do with His goods. As King David said, “of thine own we have given to thee,” because our jobs, our homes, our families, and our very lives are not ours but are His.

1Ch 29:14  But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.

If Christ’s associations with sinners, publicans and harlots means to you that you can see Christ buying a lottery ticket, then that is where God has you. That is not where He has me.
Having said all of that, it is important that we never condemn a babe in Christ who still “plays the lottery responsibly.” The very reason you are unable to “have concrete corroboration from scripture” concerning the lottery, is because it is not specifically mentioned in scripture.
But once again, it is a commentary to the total sovereignty of God that when anyone does “win the lottery” this too is “of the Lord.”

Pro 16:33  The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.

Those who God wants to believe that there is nothing wrong with gambling, will be confirmed in that belief, and those who He wants to avoid gambling will be confirmed in that faith. It is all in His hands, and it is right here is this same chapter.

Pro 16:4  The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

Here are a couple more verses of scripture which should be instrumental in helping us to make good Biblical decisions in all of life’s challenges.

1Co 10:31  Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
1Co 6:12  All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
1Co 10:20  But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.
1Co 10:21  Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.
1Co 10:22  Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?
1Co 10:23  All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.

I hope this has helped you to see some scriptures which I pray will give you a better knowledge of the mind of Christ and His Father.

Joh 17:3  And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Your brother in Christ,

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