Tattooing is unholy, sinful, and foolish

Tattooing is unholy, ungodly, and foolish.

Does our salvation permit us License to ignore moral law?


The Bible does instruct us that the old testament ceremonial and the civil laws of the Hebrew people do not apply to the church. Moral law, on the other hand, is synonymous with God’s unchanging will, and is eternally binding to everyone, including those under both the old and new covenants and those who aren’t. Heaven and hell are the only two possible destinations, and moral law is what Jesus will use to righteously judge every human being he has created.

In Lev 19, God tells His people to be holy as He is holy. In verse 28, He said don’t tattoo yourself. Both the old and new testament tell us that what we physically do reveal the spiritual condition of our heart and what we truly worship. If you love God, you will obey. The first commandment and idolatry are the spiritual issue with tattoos. Is God really your only god and as such does He have the right to tell us what to do with our bodies?
Common objections include other bans citing 19:27 (hair & beard cutting), 19:26 (eating bloody meat), 19:23 (farming), 19:19 (mating different kinds of animals, planting different kinds of seeds, or wearing clothier woven with two kinds of fabric), and trying to make the case that since we ignore those forbidden items, therefore we can and should make the case that tattooing is outdated too and can be ignored.
Using the other verses to make that case that since “we” ignore other verses, its ok to ignore verse 28 is illogical, foolish, and disobedient to god. We don’t have license to ignore any verse of the bible (see what Jesus said in Mat 5:18-20). For example, since I wear blended fabric and thereby “ignore” verse 19, can I ignore any verse I choose and it should be ok with God? Hogwash! Besides, many of the verses in the bible are not intended by God to be taken literal, but speak to a larger spititual lesson. Don’t do what the ungodly do (19:26-27). Don’t mix cultures(19:19). Be holy as I am holy (19:23). The Hebrews, of the day these passages were written, knew that mixing cattle, seed, or fabric led to problems and was a word picture to explain that God commands us to be different from other people, kept separate, and follow God only.

To insist that holiness depended on literal ranching, farming, and textile practices is absurd. Is this irrelevant to the church? No, It’s relevant and binding to new covenant christians, because if we are truly saved, we are in Christ and are led by the Holy Spirit to obey moral law as Jesus did.
Jesus obeyed this command as He did all old testament moral, civil, and ceremonial law. He was sacrificed to fulfill the ceremonial law for those he came to save. Civil law, although useful for Christian principles, is not binding on the church. Moral law still is binding on everyone (all decedents of Adam). Here, the church has supernatural help in the Holy Spirit and therefore those truly saved and in Christ will accept God’s judgments and strive to obey. If you already have tattoo, repent and god will forgive.

Please understand that I am not judging anyone. I am pointing to God’s judgments, under which we all are judged by God. The new testament warns us not to follow false teachers and false believers. Also, He warns us personally to work out our faith with fear and trembling, and reveals that many falsely believe themselves to be saved, although they never were. For me, that is the scariest passage of all. Perhaps my concern is part of the Holy Spirit’s presents and sanctifying work.

You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:28 ESV)

Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. (Acts 20:28-30 ESV)

Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh. (Jude 1:8, 10, 18, 19, 22, 23 ESV)

They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.” (2 Peter 2:19-22 ESV)

that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:26, 27 ESV)

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:5-10 ESV)

Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Philippians 3:2, 3, 18-21 ESV)

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish. (Psalm 1:1-6 ESV)

Tattooing throughout history was performed by non believers for idolatry, adornment, eroticism, demonic, abuse, status, degradation, and pagan worship, but never as biblically normative. To the contrary, it was typically associated with abhorrent, offensive, or prideful behavior. Today, we hear justification ranging from harmless to harmful, meaningless to its essential for group acceptance or adequate self image, from severely bad to virtuously good, from barbaric to mainstream, from a secret sin to a public spectacle, from shameful blemish to a prideful work of art. It cannot be truthfully or timelessly considered humble, unprovocative, inoffensive, comforting, biblical, or reverent. It’s impossible to honestly assert that something done to permanently change one’ s personal image, will not affect the image of God in which we were created. In Gen 9:6, God cares so much about this image, that he ordained capital punishment based on violating God’s image through murder.

“Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image. (Genesis 9:6 ESV)

God’s indictment in lev 19:28 was that tattooing wasn’t holy. The best case that can be made biblically for tattooing, is that God no longer cares about it. But to do this, you have to ignore the weight of scripture that clearly shows that God does care about it, forbid it, and he never condoned it. Further, it would be easier to justify capital punishment, abortion, petaphelia, and drug abuse, than to justify tattooing. But biblical principles forbid all of them.

No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. (1 John 3:6 NIV)

Please prayerfully consider all that you choose to do and honor God and His Word by what you do and what promote or condone others to do.

In Christ ,



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