36 Question 2

That’s a great question, but not easily answered.  The Bible doesn’t say much about the practice of body piercings, but neither does it have much to say about many of the fads that seem to come and go.  We do read in Leviticus 19:28, “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.”  This probably doesn’t have much to do with today’s practice of piercings and tattoos.  However, it may give us a clue as to where these practices came from.  Historically, the practice of cutting yourself while grieving the death of a loved one was a pagan ritual.  The Lord told His people to not engage in that.  They were also told not to practice the art of tattooing.  Again, it was a pagan practice to mark the body with symbols to the gods that the pagans worshipped.  I’m sure today; you won’t find a lot of people that will say their piercings or tattoos are for either of these pagan rituals.

As with all fads, people tend to participate because others are doing it.  There is influence from every direction; movies, TV programs, all sorts of social media.  As people are apt to do, once a fad begins, others just follow right along with it.  Does that make it sin?  Is it actually against the Lord’s will for anyone to get a piercing or tattoo?  Let’s read Romans 12:1-2, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”  Here, the Lord does tell us that we should not strive to be like the rest of the world.  As believers on the Lord Jesus Christ, we are different.  We have a heavenly citizenship as we read in Philippians 3:20, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.”  Rather than be conformed, the Lord wants us to be transformed, or changed, by renewing our minds with the Word of God.

Perhaps instead of asking if piercings or tattoos are sin, we should ask if getting a piercing or tattoo can be honoring to the Lord.  Remember, as believers on the Lord Jesus, we do not belong to ourselves anymore, we belong to the Lord.   1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”  It would be a good practice that before you get a piercing or tattoo that you pray about it first, asking the Lord to show you His will.

The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:23, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.”  While some things may not be necessarily wrong, we need to ask ourselves if these things are needed and do they work to encourage others to follow the Lord.  What is the intent of the piercing or tattoo?  Do we want to attract attention to ourselves or do we want to attract attention to the Lord.  What about Christian tattoos?  Are they right or wrong?  To that, I would just have to allow that to be between the person and the Lord as we read in Romans 14:4, “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.”  To those things that scripture is absolute about, let us be absolute.  To those things that are more personally discerned, let us leave that between the servant and his master.

There is one piercing that I am very thankful for.  Let’s read Exodus 21:2-6, “If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him.  If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself. And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free:  Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever.”  What a sacrificial love, that a servant would sacrifice his freedom for the benefit of his wife and family.  This story is a wonderful picture of the love of the Lord Jesus for us.  Rather than save Himself, He chose, rather to be pierced through that we might be saved.  He was taunted while he was on the cross as we read in Luke 23:36-37, “And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.”  No, He would not; indeed He could not save Himself.  He must die so that we might live.  We read prophetically of the Lord in Psalms 22:16, “For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.”  We also read in John 19:34, “But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.”  Even as the servant of old would be pierced for those he loved, the Lord Jesus was pierced for us all.  That is one piercing for which we can all be thankful.  (36.2)