Ask Your Preacher
Is it wrong to buy lottery tickets or buy chances at a drawing or raffle?
Taking My Chances
Dear Taking My Chances,
The Bible never specifically mentions the lottery as a sin, but it doesn’t have to be specifically mentioned to be wrong. There are a great many things surrounding gambling that are sinful. Consider that:
- Gambling focuses around money and greed. God warns us clearly about being fixated with money (1 Tim 6:10, Heb 13:5). God wants us to be satisfied with our income (Eccl 5:10). Contentment is a major component of spiritual maturity (1 Tim 6:6).
- Gambling is used as a means to gain money without working for it. God finds pleasure in people working for their livelihood (2 Thess 3:10-12, Pr 10:4).
- Gambling wastes money because, ultimately, the house does always win. God expects us to be good stewards (1 Cor 4:2) and save for the future (Pr 6:6-8).
- Gambling and the places where gambling occurs are often associated with other sinful things. There is a reason Las Vegas is called “Sin City”. That industry is not one that a christian should be supporting (2 Cor 6:16-17).
Gambling is addictive. We can only have one master (Lk 16:13).
Will God ever stop giving us chances?
One More Chance
Dear One More Chance,
When we die, our fate will be sealed because there will be no more opportunities to repent (Heb 9:27)… but that isn’t because God gave up on us. God doesn’t give up on us; we give up on Him. God tells us that if we repent and confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive us (1 Jn 1:9). Our heavenly Father is ready and willing to forgive (Ps 86:5). He doesn’t desire anyone to perish (2 Pet 3:9), but He accepts our choice… even if we choose to reject Him.
Is a Christian allowed to smoke cigarettes and drink beer?
Does A Body Good?
Dear Does A Body Good,
God never specifically condemns drinking wine, but He does condemn ‘strong drink’ (Pr 20:1), drinking parties (1 Pet 4:3), and drunkenness (Rom 13:13). Almost all alcohol that is consumed today would fall into the category of ‘strong drink’ because our alcoholic beverages are artificially fermented to increase their alcoholic content (unlike the wine of Jesus’ day – read “That’s Just Grape” for further details on the wine Jesus drank). We would all do well to heed the words of Pr 23:31-32 and avoid alcohol as much as is possible.
As for cigarettes, anything that purposefully poisons our bodies is wrong to use. There was a time where the facts were not clearly known about the effects of cigarettes, pipes, and cigars on human health. Those days are long since gone. The data is exceptionally clear that smoking is always harmful to the human body and that smoking has no positive health benefits. God tells us to treat our bodies as a temple (1 Cor 6:19). Our bodies are a gift from God, and life is something to be cherished. When we purposefully abuse our bodies with unhealthy lifestyles, we rebel against God and show ungratefulness for the life He has given us. Present your body as a living and holy sacrifice to God (Rom 12:1). Who knows what work He has prepared for you in the days and years that would be lost if you died from the effects of smoking?
Is saying, “OMG” (oh, my God!) using God’s name in vain?
Yes, emphatically, yes it is. We are so thankful you have asked this question because it is such a problem in today’s culture. Acronyms and shorthand used in texting (such as l8r, btw, ttyl, etc.) have become a part of the pop culture and our everyday speech. When you shorten something, it still retains the same meaning. For example, ‘ty’ still means ‘thank you’ and is accepted as a phrase of gratitude. Therefore, when people type or say ‘omg’, it still means that they are treating God’s name in an irreverent and blasphemous way. It is a sad fact that many christians treat phrases like ‘omg’ as a sort of “loophole” around using the Lord’s name in vain… but it is still blasphemy. God isn’t fooled by shorthand (Gal 6:7).
The fourth commandment clearly states to remember the Sabbath day and to keep it holy. Why do so many churches not keep this command?
For The Fourth
Dear For The Fourth,
The Sabbath was a holy day for the Jews, not for Christians. The Old Testament has a myriad of laws that are no longer binding in the New Testament: animal sacrifice, clean and unclean foods, and various festivals… just to name a few. 2 Cor 3 is an entire chapter devoted to explaining how the Old Law has been surpassed by the New Law. 2 Cor 3:3 especially clarifies the issue when it states that our law is “not in tables of stone”, a direct reference to the Ten Commandments that were written on stone tablets.
Gal 3:24-25 makes it clear that the Old Law was a tutor to bring mankind to Christ, but now that Christ has come, we are no longer under that tutor. The Sabbath is a part of that Old Law. In the New Testament, christians meet on the first day of the week to worship, take the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7), and take up a collection (1 Cor 16:1-2). In short: different covenants, different days.
The Old Testament law given by Moses was a covenant with the Jews (Deut 5:1-5). The New Testament law given in Christ is for all of mankind (Acts 2:38-39).
Who changed the law? God did.
When did it change? When the church began.