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Gambling nauseates me. Literally. The idea of someone losing their life savings over a game causes so much pain that my stomach clenches . A hundred years ago I might have been a temperance union biddy in high button shoes pointing her accusatory umbrella at drunken sots wasting their wages on liquor and games of the devil.

But please don’t think I’m judging every person who enters a casino. I realize most people head for Vegas with an amount in mind to spend on leisure, and they won’t deplete their bank accounts to keep trying for the jackpot.

It must be my cautious nature. Or maybe it dates back to my childhood when all the cousins played poker after Thanksgiving dinner. I always lost. I was too timid to bluff unlike one cousin who will remain unnamed. He would force us all to fold then gloat over his pair of twos.

I’ve confessed all of the above to make a point. God’s grace always holds the winning hand.

Consider the poker game of life.  The sinner antes up two chips of sin. God covers it and raises the stakes with grace.  The sinner can fold or throw in a few more good-works chips to try to match His grace. Or he could up the ante by adding more sin chips.

Once I understood Christ’s sacrifice, I folded after a few hands, more than content with His grace covering me. I was happy to give over the sins and be done with them. Losing–surrender–is a blessing in God’s kingdom!

The stubborn sinner will keep raising the stakes. No matter how many good deeds he adds,  no matter how many sins he throws into the pot, God meets him and raises with grace again. The game can go on for years and years because of Romans 5:20. “Where sin abounds, grace abounds even more.” However, as soon as a sinner folds, grace wins, and the sins are gone.

Unfortunately for the sinner, if he won’t admit God has the better hand, if she refuses to fold by Judgment Day, I  guess you could say, “God calls.” He meets what the sinner flippantly tosses into the pot, and both hands are exposed to view. God wins.

And the loser? The opportunity to fold to God’s grace has passed. Like the gambler who bets every penny he owns on a pair of deuces, he loses it all. FOR-EV-ER.


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