Tattoos, Piercings, Body Modification Part 1

Tattoos, Piercings, Body Modifications I. This study seeks to steer between extremes concerning the care and government of the body.

II. God has written into human nature a principle of nourishing and cherishing (treating with tenderness and affection) one’s flesh. EPH 5:29. A. Mind that this text implies an unnatural hating of one’s flesh is commensurate with not nourishing it or cherishing it. B. We should steer clear of idolizing the body (PHIL 3:19) as if our lives must be dedicated to a sensual religion of the outward man. 1PE 3:3-4 c/w PRO 11:22. 1. Bodily exercise means little in contrast to godliness. 1TI 4:7-8. 2. Christ had no form, comeliness or beauty that ignited desire. ISA 53:2. C. Yet we should also be cautious about callously disposing of natural affection. 2TI 3:1-3. 1. Even under the bondage of corruption there is relevant instruction from the very nature of things. 1CO 11:14. 2. Same-sex intercourse merits condemnation not only because the written revelation (both testaments) forbids it, but also because it is contrary to the revelation God has put in nature. ROM 1:26-27. D. Scripture speaks positively of soundness of body and mind. ACT 3:16; 2TI 1:7. 1. If a healthy, intact body is not a positive model and of no significance at all to God, then Christ wasted much time and effort on healing people’s infirmities. 2. At some point, the deliberate abuse of one’s own body contrary to nature or necessity represents a break from rational soundness of mind. MAR 5:5, 15. E. One does not attain unto a more pious Christianity through deliberate neglect of the care of the body. COL2:23.

III. Christians need to consider that their bodies belong to God. 1CO 6:19-20. A. Whereas we have great liberty in Christ as touching the body, we are not its potentate. B. We are still not supposed to eat blood. GEN 9:4; LEV 3:17 c/w ACT 15:20. C. Though we are not under dietary law (1TI 4:3-4), yet we are not to be brought under the power of even lawful appetites (1CO 6:12-13). Gluttony and drunkenness are wrongs of excess consumption of lawful things. PRO 23:21. D. Liberty sometimes has to take a back seat to expediency. 1CO 8:13.

IV. I strive to magnify the New Testament of Jesus Christ in my teaching. A. It is the Spirit’s ministration that embraces liberty. 2CO 3:17; JAM 1:25. B. I do not want to burden Christians with inapplicable O.T. Laws (which not even the Jews could bear). ACT 15:10. C. When I come across something of potential application from the Old Testament, I first of all determine if there is a clear N.T. continuation that we should respect. An example of this is the consumption of blood, mentioned above. D. I reckon that there are certain things forbidden by Moses’ Law that are not specifically mentioned in the N.T. but that doesn’t universally mean there is no application for us. 1. Bestiality (LEV 18:23) is not specifically addressed in the N.T. 2. But such a sin falls under the categorization, “...and such like...” (GAL 5:19-21) and is condemned by the general rule that sexual connection is only for marriage of man and woman. HEB 13:4; EPH 5:31 c/w 1CO 6:16. E. I reckon that there were laws given to Israel to distinguish them from other nations as God’s covenant people and that such laws were not binding upon the Gentiles. One example of this was the sabbath law. EXO 31:13-17. F. There were O.T. laws which forbade Israel from adapting pagan religious principles and customs to the religion of God (DEU 12:30-31) and we are likewise bound. 1CO 10:20-21. 1. Gentile superstition not only drove them to sacrifice children but also to the mutilation of their own bodies to impress their idol deity. 1KI 18:27-28. 2. Their superstitions were sometimes reflected in their personal habits which contributed to spread of disease. EXO 15:26; 23:25; DEU 23:12-13. 3. However, not everything that pagans did was automatically wrong, as when the Egyptians embalmed their dead and put them in a coffin. GEN 50:2-3, 26. 4. The Gentiles were justly repelled by parent-child sexual connection. 1CO 5:1. G. There were O.T. laws which commanded or permitted surgical alteration of the body. 1. Circumcision was required of males from the days of Abraham. ROM 4:11. a. This was a token of covenant relationship to God not meant for public viewing. (1) Mind that inward circumcision (ROM 2:29) is similarly an “invisible” token of spiritual covenant relationship to God. (2) That which proves this relationship to God is not a visible mark but rather the manifestation outwardly of the inward circumcision by faith and good works. GAL 5:22-23. b. False religion’s grand deity demands body modification that is visible. REV 13:15-17. 2. A willing bondman was marked by a bored ear. DEU 15:17. 3. There were permissible nose-jewels and earrings. ISA 3:21; NUM 31:50-54; PRO 25:12. a. earring: A ring worn in the lobe of the ear for ornament; often used for a pendant or ‘drop.’ b. nose-jewel: A valuable ornament worn in or attached to the nose. c. Compare ISA 3:21 w/ PRO 11:22. 4. It would therefore be an overstatement to affirm that God has always forbidden all modifications to the human body.

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