Assuming you’ve read Part One of this series, let’s see if we can swim through the thinking, reasonings and biblical backing of this complex topic. In this post we deal with the “Can I have them?” question, freedoms in Christ, and the true purposes of the law God once held us to.
Can We Have Piercings As Christians?
As I suspect you who read this will all be in many places spiritually, I shall begin at the very basic beginning – Christianity in general.
What true Christians (as opposed to posers) claim to believe is that we (humanity) were once under a law, given by God, to set us apart from the world in practice and convict us of imperfections in our existence (how we no longer resemble God). This showed us our fallen state because of disobedience and rebellion to a perfect God, and how we needed a mediator between us and God.
The reason the law was to set us apart from the rest of the world was, in short, because the world in its fallen state was very much opposed to the nature of God, and because God was preparing a permanent plan of redemption for those would follow him.
The mediator (“savior”, “messiah”, “christ” etc.) was Jesus. Ya know, the one we call “son of God” – fully God, fully man – and when he came, upheld this law to its perfection. Perfect and “holy”, like his father, God. Part of the law was that because of our imperfections, death must occur for payment and coverings of sin so that the rebellion was placed on that animal and blood and we could still be in relationship with God.
Thus, when Jesus died on behalf of people’s disobedience, the law was fulfilled and appeased to its perfect extent (this is important in a second). If you want to know more about this message, go here for now: True Gospel.
So How Does This Relate To Piercings? The Law.
We must refresh our memories on this message, because it truly all boils down to it. Why does it? Because the only reason one can truly claim piercings to be an issue is if you believe it’s sinful or causes sin (rebellion from God) in others. So, is it? Does it?
At one point, yes. In that law I mentioned, it was unlawful for people of God to have piercings of any kind. This includes ears!
“Why?”, you may ask, is because it was a common practice for pagans (not people of God) to pierce their bodies in worship of the dead. Not a practice God likes… at all.
So this leads me to an important point to flush out here. I mentioned why we had the law, but still, why was the law the law that it was?
The Three Purposes Of The Law
- Ceremonial Practices – The law required many, many rituals and various practices from God’s people, and especially the priests – the earthly (incomplete) mediators between God and man. These were typically to represent cleanliness and making ones self holy and respectable before approaching a perfect God. See, the Father is a particular, exact God, and he set high expectations for his people because he is able to do such, being perfect himself. These ceremonial practices were done in reverence and worship of him. These were so exhausting people had to dedicate their whole lives to fulfilling these. Oh, and these had nothing to do with piercings.
- Cultural Distinctions – The law also enforced many cultural distinctions. As mentioned, these were to set apart God’s people from the many pagan practices, lifestyles, and ceremonies of the surrounding nations and people groups. Again, this was about holiness and being a people prepared for, and following, the one true God. It was about allegiance and giving no opportunity for people to fall into the confusion and lies of the surrounding nations and thus stray from the one true God. This, is where piercings come to be an issue.
- Moral Obligations – This is the aspect of the law that everyone tries to turn everything into. In a sense, that’s not a bad practice because it’s the most important for sure. These are the things that directly relate to God’s character and his purposes for us to be like him, as he originally made us before our rebellion. These are the unchanging laws of the universe. Even after Christ’s fulfillment of the above two aspects of the law, these still exist. So much so, that even if we would have wanted to squirrel our way out of them, they’re repeated by Jesus and the apostles / authors of the New Testament again and again. These are the truths of character that when scripture talks of freedom, it’s talking we’re free from our old slavery to selfishness and evil, and free to be able to do and be these! We still fulfill these obligations, because we are being made like Christ. However, these have nothing to do with piercings either – and no, it’s never mentioned in New Testament.
So Why The Long Lecture? The Freedom.
See when Christ set us free from the old nature, and free to be the new nature, he realigned humanity with the true concerns of God. For example, God had said all along, that
“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Sam 16:7
It was always his main concern. However, this is why shortly after Christ left the apostles, and especially Paul, had to start launching into all these church plants and cities, and writing letters trying to help people discern things of morality and things of freedom in Christ.
Admittedly, it can become confusing. Many people can twist things to fit their own agendas. They were from the start, and they still do. Many people also have just been, frankly put, wrongly taught because of some pastor, leader, or culture’s preference. So we can get hung up on things that are completely meaningless to God, and esteem other things that God does not.
It’s important that we understand the purposes of the law, and in so doing, we understand the nature of our freedom. This is something that is so poorly taught on, even still, that we have many confused, immature Christians from age 10 to 100, that grew up in a society trying so hard and missing it by so much. Putting on a show, but not making true disciples that worship in spirit and truth.
Our righteousness does not come from performance or appearance.
In case you still want to cling to this erroneous teaching, go ahead and read through Galatians 5 in preparation for the next post. In case you’re thinking, “Ha, got them told! This will get me what I want!” Go ahead and start thinking through why it is you want piercings so badly. We’ll address that too.
More To Come!
We’re not done yet! This will give you plenty to chew on, but there are so many conclusions to be drawn still, and most importantly, we must think through how we communicate this to people in a world of confusion because, well, not everyone is going to read a three-part blog series like you!
So in the next post we’ll flush out the many conclusions and responses to the objections listed in Part 1, and we’ll talk about what this means for you if you’re a leader or if you’re leader does have piercings. We’ll also discuss a couple – rare – occasions that there might be valid objections to piercings.
Yeeep, nothing but fair reporting here!
Stay tuned! Go check it out: Conclusions, Warnings, and Implications Of Our Freedom In Christ – [Piercings Pt 3]
Let’s hear it: What do you think so far? Was this helpful or did this confuse you even more? Have you ever thought through the law in this way? Have you been taught otherwise?