Monday, February 5, 2018

Is It Ok To Drink Alcohol, Gamble And View Sports Being A Christian?







What About Christianity And Gambling, Alcohol and Television Sports Viewing?

Question: Can you shed more light on the following topics,

1. Christianity and Gambling

2. Alcohol and Christianity (totally abstaining or partly)

3. Christianity and Television, (sports viewing i.e. soccer, boxing.)

Thanks. Regards and Much Blessings!

Answer: Greetings to you in Jesus wonderful name!

Gambling does mean, 'play games of chance for money; bet. Take risky action in the hope of a desired result.' So we know gambling includes betting, lottery, casinos, etc... The Bible does not explicitly speak about gambling, yet it does point to it implicitly through many many Scriptures we see.

Bible always deals with the root of the problem, rather than the fruit of the problems we face. I mean the root of all our sins that we do are due to the desires of our heart controlling us, rather than letting God control our desires through being the owner President of our heart rather than just a resident within it
(1 Cor 6:19). This is the reason Jesus said, "20 ...“What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” (Mark 7:20-23).

Apostle James agrees with the above truth and says, "14 Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. 15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. 16 So don't be misled, my dear brothers and sisters." (Jam 1:14-15, NLT).

So the root of the problem with gambling is the love of money, and the intense desire to amass wealth in a moment of time rather than by hard work and effort that takes much time. The Bible reveals that, "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." (1 Tim 6:10). In other words, such greediness for money which comes out of the love of money has the potential to not only waste a person's time through leading him in to all kinds of evil, but it does have the power to make a person stray away from the eternal faith that God has given them, and also at the end will only make them sorrowful for having wasted their time, effort and money by putting it all in to things that were temporal, instead of investing in to the eternal wealth of the kingdom of God (Matt 6:19-21).

People who want to gamble away their wealth moderately or severely, God says to them that because their heart is filled with love for money, that is where whatever treasure they acquire will be also. I mean when their hearts are set on temporal things, they will collect only temporal treasures on earth, instead of collecting eternal treasures in heaven.

Then is gambling a sin? When a person does miss the mark of the Glory of God and end up collecting temporal treasures of "wood, hay and straw" (1 Cor 3:12) which will be burnt to ashes when it will be tested by God on the judgment day for believers, instead of collecting "gold, silver and precious stones" which cannot be burnt away but can only increase in quality through fire, how can we ever even think whether gambling is a sin or not, it is a absolute sin to walk in anything less than the perfect will of God (Rom 3:23). That is why God even finds faults with angels when they choose less than the perfect in their lives (Matt 5:48), God finding faults does not consider the fallen angels at all but even with the holy angels of God and his servants on earth (Job 4:18; 15:15).

The sin of gambling can only be considered as ok when someone becomes a worldly Christian, who searches the Bible to reason out to say, has it been said in the Bible that I should not gamble?, He will end up as a compromising Christian who instead of staying in truth, will have traded the truth for the worldliness and its lure.

When people want to gamble, they say, that if I win in the lottery, I will spend it for the Kingdom of God. But you cannot see a person who has won the lottery and have given it to the Kingdom of God, because first of all covetousness of idolatry will lie with in the root of the heart and will not allows the winner to spend it for God
(Col 3:5), above all God's doesn't need such money to build his kingdom through such devious ways like people who commit theft used to come and promise in the temple that if they burgle successfully, they will give it to the demon gods after their successful return, such cursed money God hates (Deut 23:18; Psa 24:1; 50:10-12; Job 41:11; 1 Cor 10:26). The living God of ours owns the heavens and the earth and all that is in it. In gambling, people are undeniably tempted with the promise of quick and easy riches, and once they are inside their net, they are duped by the gambling promoters who get all their money through various trickery of the tricksters and finally will empty the gamblers hand.

Casinos use all sorts of marketing schemes to entice gamblers to risk as much money as possible. Everything in a casino is perfectly rigged for taking money in large sums and giving nothing in return, except for fleeting and empty pleasures. In other words, if anyone has excess money, they should be saved for future needs or given to the Lord's work, not gambled away. Even what comes through winning a lottery or gambling, God never blesses such money as God says,
“Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.” (Prov 13:11) and "The more easily you get your wealth, the less good it will do you." (Prov 20:21, GNT). Casinos take the money of people by trickery and dishonesty, and then they give it to you even when you hit and win a jackpot. All the “get rich quick” ways of the world will bring sorrow along with it as God says a big 'No, No..' to it (Proverbs 13:11; 23:5; Ecclesiastes 5:10), but when God blesses you in the right way through hard work and diligence, your wealth will stay with you blessed for generations down the line (Prov 10:22). Earn money in the right way that God has ordained for you, and you will more blessed than anyone who takes the short cut to get rich quick.

God never encourages such gambling activities. God's Word reminds us again,
"Wealth obtained by fraud [i.e. like gambling and get rich quick schemes which is vanity] dwindles to become so little to perish away soon, but the one who gathers by labor increases it [in God's right method and way for it to be a blessing to himself and many]." (Prov 13:11, NASB). And therefore no one should say, "The lot is cast in the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord." (Prov 16:33), and expect foolishly for God to favor their bidding to win any get rich quick scheme. The main use of casting 'lot' was to render a decision not biased and based on human choice, but letting God decide the matter as it was believed that God has the power to make a 'lot' fall in place according to his will. Lot in those day were used to divide the inheritance (Num 33:54), find God's will (Prov 16:33), for settling a tribe of people in a particular place (Num 26:55; Jos 14:2), for choosing back a apostle to fill the place of Judas (Acts 1:24-26), it does mention events of “luck” or “chance” (Eccl 9:11). God cannot be manipulated to endow good fortune through superstitious practices. And His omniscience precludes and prevents from happening the existence of any truly random event. As an example, casting lots is used in Leviticus to choose between the sacrificial goat and the scapegoat, it was also used to end disputes between the mighty (Prov 18:18), and thus it was used for social-political and religious ways to find God's will to go further (Lev 16:8). But in the Bible, lots were never thrown to gamble money or other things precious, except by those people who were unsaved Roman soldiers at the cross of Christ gambled for Jesus' garments by "casting lots" (see Mt 27:35; Mk 15:24; Jn 19:24). God is sovereign and will provide for the needs of the church through honest means. Would God be honored by receiving donated drug money or money stolen in a bank robbery? Of course not. In the same way, money gained through gambling which comes through swindling of the poor people money “stolen” from the poor in the temptation for riches should never be offered to God, and it will not bring honor or glory to God. David said that he will not give to God that which costs me nothing, that should be our attitude when it comes to giving God our money or anything (1 Chron 21:24).

One's spiritual blindness does not excuse his guilt of sin due to wrong desire which has blinded him (Lev 5:15-17). Sin means much more than breaking the commandments of the rule book of the Bible which says, yes or no to any action that produces a spiritual reaction, it does mean "to turn aside, to wander, to err, to make a mistake, to miss the mark." The person misses the real objective in life, which is to obey God and to be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:15-17; Lev 20:26).

The state of sin is a surrender of freedom; it is like being enslaved to any habit other than living in the liberty of the spirit who gives freedom of choice to please one self or God (2 Cor 3:17). This is the reason Jesus said, that devil is no equal or opposite kind of choice for man to choose when He doesn't choose God, rather money is the opposite power which enslaves man and becomes his god as long as he lives in this world (Luke 16:13). Satan uses money power to trade souls of men and lead them in to blindness or retain them in their blindness to keep them unsaved, and under his constant control and manipulation (Ezek 28:15, 18; Luke 4:5-7).

This is the reason the great apostle Paul said to those people who ask such questions as, 'Does The Bible Say That We Should Not Gamble?,' 'Does the Bible Prohibit Smoking?,' 'Does The Bible Say We Should Not View Pornography?,' or finally 'Does The Bible Say That Masturbation Is A Sin?,', etc..." 12 I can do anything I want to if Christ has not said no, but some of these things aren't good for me. Even if I am allowed to do them, I'll refuse to if I think they might get such a grip on me that I can't easily stop when I want to." (1 Cor 6:12, LB). Learning this lesson that apostle Paul speaks about is the true maturity that a Christian needs to attain where they seek God to find His specific will for each and everything thing that they do daily in their lives to find what really pleases God and glorifies Him greatly through their lives. The only difference with a legalistic from the worldly is that, they will ask question like these and will try to keep all of them by their own strength and finally be deceived to think that they are pleasing to God for their so called religiosity which God hates, because it bring only pride and more pride in to them like the elder son in the prodigal son parable (Luke 15:25-32).

So according to me, as long as something is not pleasing to God moment by moment, we should avoid it rather than be a legalistic religious hard nut, or a liberal worldly jelly fish. We should learn to hear God moment by moment and walk pleasing to God through maintaining a relationship of joy, peace and righteousness of His Kingdom (Rom 14:17).

So what do I think about consuming alcohol which freely flows like a water in the casinos and gambling den where they want to cajole their customer in to making them spend their hard earned money recklessly, is it not a sin to drink? I do not believe that drinking wine, beer or beverages that contains various percentage of alcohol is a sin, if it is done in moderation (Psa 104:15; Deut 14:26), but if in case you lose control of yourself and become drunk, it might lead to all kinds of evil and it is a sin to do that (Prov 31:4-5). Mostly people who lose self-control often become a addict and they cause much trouble to others, and also learn to use reckless words to utter filthy perverse nonsense which defiles their soul and body, for which they have to give account to God on the day of judgment (Prov 23:30-35; Matt 5:37; 12:36).

But my suggestion is to choose the wine of the Spiritual drink of the Holy Spirit in whom there is no dissipation, and therefore you will have a constant high in the spirit all the time, instead of the inferior one of the alcoholic beverages which will dissipate and burn out our pockets without ever giving a constant satisfaction and a high, and also it might lead to irreparable addiction which leads to premature death (Eph 5:18). So avoid alcoholic beverages, and be full of the Holy Spirit always and all the time! O what a privilege! Praise the Lord!

Finally, television is good only as long as it gives out something important or informative for edification and spiritual growth. The good things of television are, it gives us up to date news, scientific informtions of discoveries, also nice sporty entertainment like soccer, boxing, cricket, baseball, etc...but the bad things that accompany the good is the promotion of lust of the eyes, flesh and pride of life of the world which do not have the love of our Heavenly Father in it (1 John 2:15-17), which is constantly mixed within it through commercial time, in between sport events, unsaved commentators promoting more worldliness, late night so called sexually explicit pictures and nude movies, etc...are like sewage water getting mixed in to harmless clean drinking water, will it be good for our spirit health? By no means we can be blessed more, and it also consumes a lot of time. Once we sit to watch and lose our self-control, we will end up watching all the filth of the world which flows in to our living room or anywhere else too to waste our time, and waste our eternal future of which we can use our present time wisely to influence it positively and powerfully to glorify God now and gain rewards of eternal proportion. Having said that, I do not in any way restrict you from viewing any sports match online or on television, which I do sometimes.

And another thing we do better in our generation than the one before us is, rather than watching television and gulping all the unwanted things that they are throwing at us, we can choose to turn to our cell phones to watch what we want selectively, rather than to take in all the information that we do not need that comes along with what we need. The other day when someone told me to watch the television for sometime, I told him the same things and he understood what I meant.

What ever enters through our eyes and ears will get stored up in our heart, out of which the Bible says will flow out issues of life (Prov 4:23), so let us never watch anything without a purpose just for the sake of watching it, as it will cause unwanted issues of defeat and destruction in our life and living. Rather let us learn to watch some spiritual things from the Television through Christian channels we get, and may be news and sports sometimes, but above all if anything that we do not consider as sin according to our conscience (1 John 3:20-21, 22-23), makes us to pray less than a hour for our needs, Church's needs, salvation of souls, for the men and women of God who are working and serving the people of God, our family, our relatives, etc...it should cause us to reduce the viewing of television or anything, and humbly ask God the wisdom to utilize the time which He has given for us to use wisely as it is very less time we have on earth compared to the eternity we have ahead of us (Jam 1:5; Psa 90:10, 12; Eph 5:15, 16-17; Matt 26:40).

Hebrews 13:5 declares, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” Matthew 6:24 proclaims, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” So we know that we should become content with having the Presence of God which deeply satisfies us in this life and in the life to come, to deny the temptation of the love of money and keep our lives free from it. Either we can love God with our whole heart, or love money with our whole heart, we cannot love both. So we should take a choice to love God and hate the love of money which makes our lives meaningless and purposeless.

Let us all live for the love of God by faith in His Word, by the empowerment of the Spirit, rather than for anything else in this life, and therefore please God in all things we do or say or desire in our lives. Amen!


Much Blessings....




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