The study of biblical ethics is the study of how to live righteously in our present, fallen world.
For instance, on the subject of sacrifice, biblical ethics teaches us that no great good can be accomplished unless someone is willing to pay the price necessary to bring that good result. Your heart should immediately leap to the Cross, and the price that was paid there, so that the great good of man’s eternal redemption was accomplished. But this principle of sacrifice works in our daily lives as well. If you want your children to enjoy the shade of a great tree, then you must sacrifice your time and effort to dig, and plant the right seedling in the right place. No digging, no planting, no shade!
The study of biblical ethics asks the question, “How will we then live?” Biblical ethics then defines the principles that will guide our decision making to right living. Freedom is defined by two prepositions, ‘freedom from’ and ‘freedom unto.’ Without defining what we are free ‘from,’ and where freedom is to take us (‘unto’), we have no understanding of freedom. Biblical ethics enables us to understand freedom.
It is not my purpose to tell anyone how to live. But it is my purpose to preach that we all must decide how we will live, and that biblical ethics teaches us how to live righteously.
This brief article examines biblical ethics regarding the use of money, and the insidious evil of gambling. I first wrote it in 2003. It’s been the most controversial article I have ever written. I hope you enjoy it! If you do, please forward it to your friends, and preach on it. Love to all! KRP
BIBLICAL ETHICS: WHAT’S WRONG WITH GAMBLING?
“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31
‘I only do it for entertainment.’ That argument is weak and invalid because if it were true, they would return every dollar they won to the casino, because they are gambling ‘only…for entertainment.’
Recently, as I was driving my truck down a quiet Oregon country road, the Lord gave me a vision in answer to a question ( vision revelation can get real interesting when you are driving! ). In my vision two lines of people were walking out of a local Indian casino. One line of people were carrying big boxes marked JACKPOT. They had smiles on their faces. The other line of people were walking out crying. When the people with the big boxes opened their boxes, there were dollar bills inside; but each dollar bill had wings, and flew back to the casino as soon as the box opened. That answered my question…
When we surrender our lives to Jesus Christ our Lord, He becomes owner of us and all that we possess. Our bodies belong to Him, our homes belong to Him, our money belongs to Him. He sets the rules and the standards by which our lives are to be governed, which is His right of ownership.
According to God’s standards, in all financial transactions all effected parties must be benefited. Do you see God’s love for you in that standard?
Money is a means of exchange of value. For instance, let us say that you agree to work at a market for ten shekels of wages for each hour that you work. In effect, you exchange your time and effort each hour for that which the ten shekels will enable you to buy. Money in itself has no value, but it has value as a means of exchange of your time and effort for what you can buy with it. In other words, money is the means by which your one hour of work ‘becomes’ that sack of groceries that you buy with your ten shekels.
There are three legitimate reasons for exchanging money: the law of goods, the law of services, and the law of love. In each instance, both parties are benefited by the transaction of money.
Under the law of goods, you exchange money for material goods. You are benefited by the goods and the seller is benefited by the money.
Under the law of services you serve someone for an agreed price. You benefit by receiving the agreed price in money and they benefit by your successful completion of the agreed service.
THE LAW OF LOVE
Give, and it will be given to you… Luke 6:38 NKJV
Love is expressed in giving. Think of John 3:16. Under the law of love expressed by giving, you give money out of love. The benefit to you is that you position yourself to receive. There are eternal rewards as benefits in giving as well. The benefit to the one receiving your gift is the money itself and what it can purchase in goods and services.
In all legitimate exchanges of money, genuine wealth is created. The goods or services that you purchase or supply become tangible assets, and the giving that you do out of love becomes laid up in rewards in Heaven (eternal assets), as well as positioning yourself for receiving tangible assets here on Earth. This is why Jesus said it was more blessed to give than to receive.
But in gambling there is no such creation of wealth, there is no such benefit to both parties, because the entire gain of one party in the transaction is the entire loss of the other party (( +2 ) + (-2) = 0). The supposition that ‘everyone wins and loses’ does not justify the fact that in each transaction, each ‘bet’, there is one who benefits and one who is made poorer. The casino is simply the ‘middleman’ (or ‘the house’ that you bet against), the provider of a gambling infrastructure, who receives a portion of each transaction.
Sin is sin, no matter how you rationalize it. In gambling the motivation is always selfishness, always greed. There are a lot of things, godly things, beneficial things, that could be done for fun and relaxation. To call gambling ‘entertainment’, is to try to put a fancy dress on an elephant. You can dress her up, but she is still an elephant.
Gambling is a spiritual evil, promoted by the god of this world to destroy civilizations. Wherever gambling’s influence is felt, there is corruption. The hotel with the highest suicide rate in the world is located in Reno, Nevada, USA, a town which is famous for gambling. This same town is also famous for legalized prostitution, which destroys marriages and individual lives. The destruction caused by gambling in individual lives, families, communities, states and nations, is staggering.
GO FIGURE! $380 BILLION – Money spent last year ( 2003 ) on sports gambling, not including Casino games, according to ESPN the Magazine. $75 BILLION – Money needed to feed all the starving people in the world for one year, cited in THE LORDS OF POVERTY by Graham Hancock. Think about what would happen if we didn’t gamble, and we gave that money to hungry people, in love…
The Church, through the Holy Spirit, must cleanse herself of this insidious evil in her midst ( many born again ones are gamblers, ‘fantasy’ team owners, participate in ‘pools,’ etc. ) by the blood of the Lamb. Then she must take an uncompromising stand in society. Finally, if you have an addiction to gambling, even ‘penny ante’ ( you can be a ‘one beer a night’ alcoholic ), you probably need deliverance. Repent, and get some help. If you can’t find anyone else, call me at +1503-302-5381.
You and I must set our hearts to learn to live righteously in this present, evil world. The Holy Spirit, through the Word of God, will teach us how to make right decisions, decisions that will fill us with peace and bear great fruit, bless God forever!
Remember, dear ones, we must be about our Father’s business…