One needs to examine personal motives. Why would a person want to play cards, dice or games of chance in general? One usually does this because he craves to gain something he has not earned. It can be coveting, and God commands us not to covet (Ex. 20:17; Deut. 5:21). We are also warned about covetousness in Ephesians 5:3-5 and in I Corinthians 6:10. We would not want others to gain wealth at our expense. Likewise for us, as we should love our neighbor as ourselves (Matt. 19:19). Therefore, gambling is sin. Sin is the transgression of the law (I John 3:4).
Gambling can be addictive. Of course, no one would want to fall into that trap. We must be in control of our lives and not allow an addiction to control us. We find this principle in Romans 6:16: “…to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey…” We should also be accountable for whatever wealth God blesses us with and not squander it by gambling. Many people have wasted their livelihood in that fashion and their families have become destitute (I Tim. 5:8).
Card-playing is acceptable as a means of recreation, and can be a source of good fun. The game is not wrong—the wrong use of it is. Playing for fun, when there is no coveting, can actually be a means to socialize and contribute to the success of an activity.
Participating in a raffle may appear harmless, but it generates the desire of collecting for oneself what others have contributed. It is, therefore, a form of covetousness. A draw that comes as a bonus of purchasing tickets for a dance, for example, is acceptable, as it does not entail winning at someone else’s expense. The same applies to a promotional draw, in which a winner is picked, and the purchase of a ticket is not involved.
It is not practical to list every possible case involving a game of chance. Some may have to be assessed according to the principles given by Scripture. You may wish to read our booklet The Ten Commandments ‚Äď ‚ÄúNailed to the Cross‚ÄĚ or Required for Salvation?
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