Everyone has a god.
Human beings were created to worship. The only thing that varies is the object of our worship. We fashion gods out of self, money, status, careers, excessive TV, other people—the list is endless.
Notice that David used the word “bartered.” Whenever we choose to worship any god other than the true God of Heaven, we trade away all purpose, meaning, and future hope for our lives. And because these “gods” have no ability to satisfy the deepest needs of our souls, we find at the end of this worship nothing but sorrow and emptiness.
. . choose for yourselves today whom you will serve . . . but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. —Joshua 24:15
I am shocked by your comments regarding tattoos. I have appreciated your “tell-it-like-it-is” comments in the past, but you were wrong to soft pedal this one—tattooing is wrong and you know it (Leviticus 19:28). Someone there must have a tattoo and is trying to find a way to justify it.
This is the verse in question:
You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead, nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves; —Leviticus 19:28
The context of the verse is in reference to God’s forbidding using pagan religious customs. The problem was rebellion—following other pagan practices—not tattoos. Consider this verse written some 750 years later where writing on your body is discussed in a positive light:
. . . I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring, and My blessing on your descendants; . . . This one will say, “I am the Lord’s”; And that one will call on the name of Jacob; And another will write on his hand, “Belonging to the Lord.” —Isaiah 44:3, 5
It is possible that verse could have referred to temporary rather than permanent markings, so it’s not a verse to use to support tattooing. Regardless, you can’t point to the Old Testament as the reason to avoid tattoos—as shortsighted as you may think they are. The most critical point we made in that GML was that Leviticus is Old Testament law. We are now under Church Age grace. If we were to implement the Old Testament law today, we would have to stone:
If a man is found lying with a married woman, then both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel. —Deuteronomy 22:22
- rebellious children
- They shall say to the elders of his city, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard.” Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death. —Deuteronomy 21:20-21a
We can think of no biblical reason a Christian should or should not be tattooed. It appears to us that rebellion, culture and/or peer pressure seems to be the driving force in most people. Rebellion and peer pressure is, of course, sin.
For rebellion is as the sin of divination,
And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry
Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,
He has also rejected you from being king. —1 Samuel 15:23
Believers’ bodies are not their own; they belong to God.
Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, you were bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. —1 Corinthians 6:18-19
If you try to stretch the above verses to say someone with a tattoo(s) is not glorifying to God, you would also have to include someone who was overweight, out of shape, had too much or too little sun, had on too much or too little makeup, doesn’t go to the doctor enough, doesn’t exercise their brain enough . . . the list is endless. The context of 1 Corinthians 6:18-19 is sexual sin, and it would be a stretch to try to apply it to tattoos.
We think it is, however, worth noting that both God and Satan will mark people in the future.
He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name. —Revelation 3:12
Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads. —Revelation 14:1
And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, —Revelation 13:16
FYI, no one at Compass has confessed to having a tattoo. However, one has permanent eye-liners, which might be considered tattoos. 🙂
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Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible, copyright The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977. Used by permission.
Answers to questions in GML are intended to be supplementary and in the spirit of Proverbs 11:14, 15:22, and 26:26, which calls for believers to seek counsel from more than one person. Therefore, it is not recommended that any decision be based solely on GML’s answer, but rather it be considered one of several counselors when determining a course of action.Compass International, Inc. www.compass.org