Alright, I will be the first to admit that I have some tattoo's. But I will also admit how much I hate them and wish I would have listened to all the people in my past that told me not to do it. So what does the bible say about tattoo's? Many of us have heard the familiar verse of Leviticus 19:28 when this topic comes up.
Leviticus 19:28 You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the LORD.
Well the bible couldn't be more clear could it? It says don't get them. Oh but that is not good enough for many people, what the Bible says. So we hear the arguments that this is the old law and no longer valid because we are" free in Christ". Now I will be the first to admit that we are indeed free in Christ, however many people will use the old law when it suits their view and will say we are not under it when it don't suit their view, and that leads to taking scripture out of context and not properly separating the moral law from the ceremonial law. That is the key, the difference between the moral and ceremonial law. Murder, rape, stealing, these were parts of the old law, so are we allowed to do them since we are not under law but under grace? Of course not. These are prime examples of moral law rather then ceremonial law.
Now things like dietary law (no eating pork or unclean animals), the tithe and other theocratic "taxes", and the sacrificing of animals, these are part of the old ceremonial law. Things that were for Israel in the past to keep them clean and free from idolatry and the surronding peoples in their theocratic society (they were not a democracy nor monarchy, but a theocracy). I could go more into that but I pray you understand and get the "jist" of it for I have much I want to cover.
Now the topic comes up that tattoos aren't really illmoral so won't that be void and up to the person to choose? Well lets look at that. For one the majority of the text surrounding our verse 28 has to do with things people did as witchcraft and pagan practices, and I will agree with that. So tell me, are we allowed to worship pagan practices and Wicca gods now that we are believers and followers of Christ? I would hope we would answer no to that. Why? God wants our whole hearted devotion and to love Him and Him alone with all our heart, mind and being. That right there convinces me that the practice of giving or receiving tattoos should not be a practice of true followers of Christ. Well that won't do for some, so lets look at it from another angle.
Deuteronomy 4:16-17 beware lest you act corruptly by making a carved image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air.....
Now this passage talks about not making any carved image for yourselves as it says, thats just straight idoltary, but think about it, that is exactly what you are putting in your skin. And I will be the first to say that all these "Christian" tattoos are no different then the dragons and skulls and snakes that other non-Christians get tattooed on their bodies. Honestly, do you think Jesus would see a picture of a cross (the device that tortued and killed him none the less) tattooed on you and be like sweet ink! No, He wouldn't. Or maybe you got a small angel, or wings on your back, or his name and a verse somewhere on your body. I am sorry but that is not glorifying to God no matter how you try to twist it. Seriously, twist it all you want but what you are doing and saying is God I know you created me in your image (Genesis 1:26), but I think I know how I look best by adding this tattoo on me. I know God that my body is the living temple (1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?), but I think i will mark it up as I see fit. It seems ridiculous, to the point that if we are as Paul says the temple of God with the Spirit within us, would that not be the same as going to church and spray painting all over the walls of the church, the front of the building, the sanctuary and windows with graffiti? Its something to ponder.
Now I gotta ask, and all you skeptics that think tattoos are fine and I am making a big deal out of nothing, I ask you this: what is your true motivation for getting a tattoo? Seriously? I got them to be cool, I thought they were cool and I wanted to get one because of it. Plus they carry a certain feel and look of rebellion. Right? These are the reasons most people get them if they were to be honest with themselves. Now look at it through God's eyes, getting a tattoo to feel cool and act cool is wrong. Being cool is a form of self gratification and pride and both are sinful. Being cool and wanting to be cool is also a form of worldliness and do I really have to quote the multiple passages on worldliness and separating ourselves from the world. Here are two of them:
James 1:27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (emphasis mine)
1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
Some people get their wives/husbands name, or their kids name, or a real common tattoo is of a relative or loved one who passed as a memorial piece. That's noble and what not, but let me ask, are you really gonna forget a person you really loved if you don't get them tattooed on your skin? Does it really bring great honor that they are permanently marked on your body? Lets be honest here. Being "cool' in the eyes of the world is not very 'cool' in Gods eyes. Let us see Him and worship Him as the Great Almighty Creator of the Universe who is Holy Holy Holy. Ever notice how that is the only attribute of God said three times in a row, Holy Holy Holy. Not mercy mercy mercy, even though He is merciful, not love love love, even though He is the God of love. Holy Holy Holy. Should we not fear and reverence Him as such?
I write this blog topic not to degrade or make fun of anyone, merely I want to address an issue that seems to be overlooked nowadays in the "Christian circle". Liberal theology (apostasy) is running rampant more then ever and will continue to attack the absolute truth and inerrancy of scripture. The battle is fought by little issues like this and others such as declassifying homosexuality and abortion as sin, claiming science and evolution over Creation by God in seven days, claiming there is no devil nor hell, and many others. The Bible is clear on all these, we just want our ears itched (2 Timothy 4:3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,) so we will throw out what we don't like and keep what we do. Be alert and on guard against this, for we indeed are in the down grade controversy that Spurgeon talked about in his time.
My prayer is that we show the love of Christ to the world through the Spirit, love and truth. That we never compromise Biblical truth and we never stop loving the people God puts in our lives. That we put aside the practices and 'coolness' of the world to show people there is a higher calling that our awesome Creator calls us to. With love and prayers always.