Ask Your Preacher
Is it a sin to play Blackjack if I am skilled enough to hold an edge over the house?
Dear High Roller,
The Bible never specifically mentions gambling 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).
Is it a sin to wear pants?
One Leg At A Time
Dear One Leg At A Time,
We are guessing that your question has to do with women wearing pants. The Old Testament gives us the principle that women are to dress like women, and men are to dress like men (Deu 22:5). This concept of men avoiding looking effeminate and women looking feminine is reiterated in the New Testament (1 Cor 6:9, 1 Tim 2:9). In some cultures and time periods, only men wore/wear pants… other cultures have pants that are specifically tailored for women, and it would be quite noticeable and disturbing if men wore them! The key is that men are to dress like men, and women are to dress like women. Men should never look effeminate, and women aren’t to look masculine. Culture and current fashion will dictate the specifics of what we wear, but the principle remains the same throughout all ages.
Today, many older people cannot afford to marry due to funds they get each month for different reasons. They will lose part of their money. What does a christian do about this problem? Thank you.
Dear Social Insecurity,
There is a reason that the marriage vows include the words “for richer or for poorer”. We can certainly sympathize with difficult financial circumstances, but money problems aren’t an excuse for living together outside of wedlock. Young and old alike have financial considerations to factor in when getting married. God promises that if we trust Him and do what is right, He will always take care of us (Rom 8:28). If two people truly love each other and want to get married, then they should both count the cost and just say, “I do”. No matter what, it would be ungodly to have sexual relations outside of marriage (1 Cor 7:2).
I have heard many interpretations and predictions on what it is thought the mark of the beast will be. One of those thoughts is a microchip placed in your hand. Would it be wrong to implant my dogs with microchips? This seems to be the most effective way of keeping up with them and preventing them from getting lost, but is it wrong?
Devoted Dog Breeder
Dear Devoted Dog Breeder,
The verse you are referring to is Rev 14:9. However, take comfort – it isn’t referring to your pups. The book of Revelation is dealing with the struggle between christians and the idolatrous nation of Rome; therefore, it can’t be referring to modern microchipping, no matter what the televangelists and pop-culture preachers say.
It is important to remember that the book of Revelation is a book written with symbolic and figurative language (Rev 1:1). It is a vision the apostle John received on the island of Patmos that uses apocalyptic dream-like visions to teach on a real-life subject that was “soon to come to pass” and “at hand” (Rev 1:1 and Rev 1:3). Considering John wrote the book somewhere between 65 A.D. and 100 A.D. – we are about two thousand years too late for the vision to specifically apply to us. Today, you need to obey the Gospel in order to be in God’s light (1 Jn 1:5-6). We recommend that you read “What Must I Do To Be Saved?”, so that you can feel confident about what will save your soul. There is more to it than simply asking Jesus into your life, but it has nothing to do with unmarked hands or microchipping.
Where in the Bible does it say that the kingdom is the church? From my reading, the kingdom is still in the future when Christ comes back.
Looking For Citizenship
Dear Looking For Citizenship,
Jesus and John the Baptist said the kingdom was near (Matt 3:1-2, Matt 4:17). Jesus taught His disciples that the kingdom would come within their lifetime (Matt 16:28). Jesus also taught that His kingdom wouldn’t be a physical kingdom, but a spiritual one (Lk 17:20-21, Jhn 18:36). Jesus used the terms ‘church’ and ‘kingdom’ interchangeably (Matt 16:18-19). The Bible teaches that you enter them both through baptism (Jhn 3:3, Acts 2:41). The Bible teaches that God is calling people into the church (1 Cor 1:2), and He is calling people into the kingdom (1 Thess 2:12). Lastly, Paul says that the christians who are in the church are also in the kingdom (Col 1:13). The church is synonymous with the kingdom.