Can a Christian Play Poker

Today, poker and gambling are often accepted in society. It is no longer a common sight to see gambling in casinos. Poker is no longer restricted to Las Vegas. It can be found online and in California. A Google search for “Christian Poker” returned ten top results. The articles that I was looking for said “go ahead” and “as long it doesn’t take control of your life, you aren’t sinning”, but most articles had not read the Bible. Surprisingly there is very little Christian material on the subject.

Is it possible to obey God’s commands? Is it following Jesus’ example by playing poker? Is it dishonoring God to play IDN POKER Is it important if we play poker? Is God concerned about whether we play poker or not? Is there anything in the Bible? You can answer these questions by looking at what Jesus said. Let’s look at the Bible, God’s word, to discover the answer to our question about whether poker should be played.

Let us first ask God for His help while we read His word. Let us pray.

We ask for clarity and guidance today, Heavenly Father. Lord, please help us have open hearts and minds. Help us overcome our selfish and sinful natures and have a heart and mind that is like Jesus Christ. We are grateful for your forgiveness. Please send your Holy Spirit to help us understand this topic. All of these things are done in Jesus’ name, amen.

A lawyer approached Jesus nearly two thousand years ago to find out the most important commandment of the Bible. This is a great question, don’t you agree? What is the greatest commandment you can give? To find the answer to this question, I invite you to read Matthew 22:35-40 with me. It says…

One of them, a lawyer asked Jesus a question and He replied, “Teacher,” which is the greatest commandment in law. Jesus replied to him, “You will love the LORD your God all your heart, soul, and mind.” This is the first great commandment. The second commandment is similar: “You shall love your neighbor like yourself.” All the Law and Prophets are based on these two commandments. [1]

The greatest commandment is that you love God with all your heart, soul, and mind. Jesus did not say that we should give up our souls, minds, or hearts for God. He said to love God with all of your heart, soul, and mind. How can we show our love for God? Jesus provided an answer in John 14.15, where He said, “If You Love Me, Keep My Commandments[2].” Is it possible to love God and others by playing poker? What did God really mean by His commandment to love your neighbor as yourself? Both of the greatest commandments are all about love. We are called to love God, and that includes loving others. If we are Christians but don’t love, we will lose everything (1 Corinthians 13:3). Despite being naturally selfish, humans can find that they want to love God and obey His commands because He first loved them (1 John 4:19, John 15:15). We have been drawn to God by the incredible love and sacrifice of Christ. There is no greater love than God’s for us. We can, however, follow His commands only by the power of Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit (John 15, 5, John 3:9; John 8:31-36).

What does it mean, to love your neighbor as yourself? According to the Bible,

You owe no one anything but to love each other. The commandments “You will not commit adultery,” “You shall never murder,” “You must not steal,” “You should not bear false testimony,” and “You should not covet” are summarized in this saying: “You will love your neighbor as yourself.” The law of love does not require that you do harm to your neighbor. [3]

Loving your neighbor is the law. Galatians 5:14 says it is the fulfillment the Ten Commandments. Many people hear of the Ten Commandments today and think that they are harsh punishments God has given them. They are selfish and think “Don’t tell” so many people view the commandments as a collection of “thou will nots”. We would not want to live in a world without regulations against murder, fraud and theft. It is a law that encourages love and not one that imposes harsh restrictions. Imagine a world in which everyone adhered to the Ten Commandments. The newscaster tells you that there are no murders in the world today. Wow, sounds like heaven doesn’t it? Romans 13:8-10 teaches that the Ten Commandments are not only the fulfillment of God’s law but also the fulfillment of loving God as well as your neighbor.

Sin is something that’s evil or bad. What is sin? Sin is the violation of God’s laws. It is stated that “Everyone who sins violates the law.” In fact, sin is lawlessness. [4] Sin is breaking God’s law. Love is keeping God’s law. We can therefore logically determine whether playing poker is loving, unloving, pure, or a sin according to the Ten Commandments. God calls us to purity and to His original plan of loving like Him. Sincere love must be shown. Do not hate evil, but love what is good. [5]

Let’s take a look at poker. The goal of any poker game is the same. The goal of poker is to have players sit at a table and try to steal each other’s money. The whole point of the game is to steal the money of other players. However, God’s Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) state that the game is purely for taking other players’ money.

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