The Silent Gospel - 5 Things the Bible Doesn't Talk About

Gambling

One of the most opaque 21st century ethical topics not explicitly addressed in the Bible is gambling.

Clearly, most people gamble in hope to cash in on 'Lady Luck', as well as a completely different life with less work and more fun; however, although the Bible doesn’t directly mention "gambling", this doesn’t mean the activity is sinless. In fact, by that philosophy, issues like pornography and illegal drugs would be considered tolerable, when in reality, both violate God's laws.

When we look at God's Word, we find what our attitude should be with respect to money and work:

“Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.” ~ Ecclesiastes 5:10

"No servant 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." ~ Luke 16:13

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” ~ 1 Timothy 6:10

Essentially, what these Scriptures tell us is that gambling contrasts the call to persevere, to be faithful, to work hard…and earn a healthy living. As it states in 2 Thessalonians 3:11-12: “For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.”
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Masturbation

Like gambling, the Bible doesn't mention masturbation verbatim; however, it does have plenty to say about the heart and spirit behind the activity and how it contrasts God's best intention.

The challenging question regarding the issue is if the physical act can be detached from lust. Even if one is unsure if masturbation is acceptable or not, we can know lust to be an egregious sin based on what the Bible proclaims:

"But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart." ~ Matthew 5:28

"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh." ~ Galatians 5:16

"Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body." ~ 1 Corinthians 6:18

"For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God." ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5

If one wants to know if it's possible to disconnect masturbation from lust, then understanding what constitutes "desires of the flesh" is important. Ultimately, by asking, Does masturbation qualify as "desires of the flesh", we find the answer to be "Yes", since masturbation is an applied action to an established sin, whether impurity, lust, idolatry and/or fear. In other words, one cannot masturbate and separate it from some type of spiritual stronghold. Truth is: masturbation is an indiciation of unrepented sin, regardless of one's moral awareness with respect to the issue.

Thus, if one is wrestling with the habit, a key question to ask is: Am I depending on God to meet not only my spiritual needs, but also my emotional and physical needs? At the end of the day, am I trusting God to satisfy the desires of my heart?

'Cause once we realize masturbation is a forced means to independence from God and a temporary, self-centered solution to an everlasting call to live purely, only then will find the breakthrough to overcome.

As it says in Romans 6:11-14: "So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace"...

...and 2 Timothy 2:22: "So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart."
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Smoking

Many place smoking on the same level of alcoholism, given the Bible is ambiguous with regards to smoking (which is no surprise considering smoking wasn’t an issue at the time the Bible was written). But while I've heard both sides of the argument concerning if legal drugs is a sin or not, my belief is smoking is a sin if it’s being used to medicate.

Far too often, smoking, like alcoholism, develops into an uncontrollable addiction and a means for emotional dependence; however, unlike modest alcohol consumption, smoking is not considered a celebratorial action. As the Bible says about alcohol, consumption centered on celebration in an accountable social environment (see Psalm 104:14-15 and Amos 9:14) can reap positive consequences.

Yet, unlike appropriate alcohol consumption, smoking is often more of an individualistic activity. Thus, it can be difficult for the smoker to smoke in a way that is detached from a desire to be satisfied. On a spiritual level, the issue is comparable to masturbation in the sense smoking is a choice that does not honor the body as a “temple of the Holy Spirit” as outlined in 1 Corinthians 3:17 and1 Corinthians 6:19-20.

Ultimately, the sinfulness of smoking boils down to where the heart is and what the motive is. Although the Bible may appear to be silent on the matter, common sense and Spirit-led decision-making can deduce the act to be unholy, as it does not glorify God in and through the body. Furthermore, it could be said that smoking is one of several acts that conflict with a desire to worship God.
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Embyronic Stem Cell Research/Study

One of the modern-day issues not covered in the Bible due to its historic placement is embryonic stem cell harvesting and research. Unlike abortion, a case where the principles surrounding the act should be fairly clear, embryonic stem cell therapy is a hazier topic; however, when we look at the life of Jesus, we find a major feature of ministry to be His healing power (Matthew 4:23-24). And it’s the healing benefits of embryonic stem cell therapy that often warm up proponents to accept it is as legal and efficient. But the real question is: Is it right…and does embryonic stem cell therapy line up with God’s will?

When we consider embryonic stem cells are derived from human embryos and that in order to harvest them, an embryo must be destroyed, we can immediately know it conflicts with the Biblical teaching that human existence begins at conception (Psalm 139:13-16, Jeremiah 1:45).

Thus, when look at the ethical question of, ‘Is stem cell therapy God’s will?’ it’s clear to see how it’s a flawed practice, since there’s no Scriptural evidence that advocates the killing of humans for medical advantages. However, when it comes to research on adult stem cells, this does not require the loss of human life, thus, qualifying as a sinless act. Especially if the research is geared towards finding alternate solutions that do not involve the destruction of embryonic stem cells, then I believe the study falls even more so within the will of God.*
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Sabbath Work [...in the 21st century]

One of the toughest questions, especially among young retail, restaurant or entrepreneur workers, is: Is it okay to work on the Sabbath day? Granted, for many, our work schedules aren’t something we can control. Yet, to answer the question righteously, one must probe God’s intent for the Sabbath itself. When we look at Mark 2:23-28, we find Jesus emphasizing an important truth: the Sabbath is intended for us to set time aside to reflect on what is holy, our relationship with God…and our family and friends. It’s about being intentional to thank the Lord for all he does for us.

In his ministry, Christ often combated the legalistic viewpoint of the Pharisees, who held a twisted view on what it meant to keep the Sabbath day holy. In fact, in Matthew 12:9-13, we find Jesus exposing the heart of the Pharisees, questioning their love of falsely accusing people. When Jesus brings up the lost sheep illustration, one can apply this to modern times through the lens of “It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” It’s not about a bunch of religious rituals as compared to intentional rest and meditation. Even if a doctor has to treat an emergency patient on a Sunday afternoon doesn’t mean he is incapable of holy reflection. As it says in 1 Samuel 16:7, God cares more about the heart than external elements.

In conclusion, it is okay for one to work on Sunday; however, in order to keep the day holy, it’s important we find time either on the day or surrounding it to rest (i.e. not work) and to be engaged in family life, in church and community.
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At the end of the day, even though the Bible doesn't address each present day issue verbatim, all men can know the principles surrounding them. That's the beauty of the Scriptures. Although its authorship is confined to a specific historical context, the content speaks on how to navigate ethical and moral issues that far exceed the limitations of time (at least how we perceive it). Thus, we can know the ways of God when we seek to know His heart on the principles surrounding any issue we contend with today.

* Paraphrased from http://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-stem-cell-research.html

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