Can We Go To Heaven With Tattoos

by Sister McCook

In many parts of the world, tattoos are more common than ever. In recent years the number of people with tattoos has significantly increased.

Tattoos are no longer for delinquents or rebels only. The edginess of defiance associated traditionally with tattoos is beginning to wear off.

Nothing is said in the New Testament on whether a believer in Jesus Christ should get a tattoo or not. Therefore we should not say that it is a sin to have a tattoo.

Because of the silence of Scripture, getting inked falls into the “grey area” category, and believers should obey their faith in the matter, respecting others who may have distinct convictions.

can we go to heaven with tattoos - woman with tattoo drinking from a mug

What Does The Bible Say About Tattoos

The Bible does not make any specific reference towards getting or having tattoos. To get a tattoo, here are some general biblical concepts that might apply:

Children are to respect their parents and follow them (Ephesians 6:1–2). It is biblically unsupportable for a minor to have a tattoo in defiance of their parents’ wishes. Rebellion-born tattoos are sinful.

“Outward adornment” is not as relevant as the growth of the “inner self” and should not be a Christian’s priority (1 Peter 3:3-4). A person who wishes to get attention or attract praise from a tattoo has a selfish, sinful fixation on himself.

God sees the heart, and glorifying God should be our inspiration for everything we do (1 Corinthians 10:31). The reasons for having a tattoo, such as “fit in,” “stand out,” etc., fall short of God’s glory. The tattoo itself may not be a sin, but it might be the reason to get it.

can we go to heaven with tattoos

Our bodies have been purified and belong to Creator, as well as our souls. The believer’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19-20). How much improvement is sufficient for that temple? Is there a line that is not meant to be crossed?

Is there a point at which painting ceases to be the proliferation of tattoos on one body and begins to become sinful mutilation? This should be a topic of meditation on individuals and sincere prayer.

We are ambassadors of Christ, bringing the word of God to the world (2 Corinthians 5:20). What message does the tattoo give, and will it benefit or distract from Christ’s representation and gospel sharing?

Anything that does not come from faith is sin (Romans 14:23), so the person who gets the tattoo should be completely assured that it is the will of God for them.

can you go to heaven with tattoos - A couple holding hands

Tattoos Mentioned In The Old Testament

We cannot leave the discussion of tattoos without looking at the Old Testament law that prohibited tattoos:  “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves.” I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:28).

In this passage, the explanation for the prohibition of tattoos is not mentioned, but tattooing was probably a pagan activity associated with idolatry and superstition.

Marking their skin with the name of a false god or with a sign honoring some deity was possibly popular for the pagans. God was asking His children to be different.

The Israelites belonged to Him as He reminded them in the same verse, ‘I am the LORD.’ They were His workmanship, and they could not carry on their bodies the name of a false god.

Although believers in the New Testament are not under the Mosaic Law, we may take from this command the idea that it should never be for superstitious purposes or to spread worldly ideology if a Christian wishes to get a tattoo.

can you go to heaven with tattoos

The bottom line is that it is not a sin to have a tattoo, per se. It is a matter of Christian liberty and should be guided and rooted in love by biblical values.

Can You Go To Heaven If You Have Tattoos

A Christian may have converted and was not a believer before they got tattoos and piercings; they can still go to heaven. All of us may not get to God simultaneously and may do ungodly things through our journey to God. This is why we repent and ask for God’s blessings and forgiveness.

You don’t go to hell for having tattoos, and we believe that you should not allow others to make you feel bad because of their personal convictions.

We believe that Christians can still go to heaven even if they have tattoos. Our bodies do not define the faith of our souls. Our bodies are the vessels on earth for our souls, which we will be separated from when we die.

Even if the reference to tattoos in Leviticus 19:28 is addressed purely to how pagans mourned for the dead (something that can certainly not be proven), the above-noted scriptures make it clear that Christians tend to avoid tattoos.

We must live our lives in faith to please God (2 Corinthians 5:7; Hebrews 11:6) that we obey His commands because whatever is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23).

A couple's fingers tattoo with anchors - can we go to heaven with tattoos

We are to be the members of the coming Kingdom of Heaven and of Christ Himself, rather than upholding the traditions and practices of the community around us.

“And do not comply with this world” (Romans 12:2). Come out from among them, therefore, and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch unclean things, and I will receive you (2 Corinthians 6:17).

We believe a Christian should not get a tattoo based on the proof from God’s Word and these beliefs. It is your choice whether to leave it alone, cover it up or have it removed if you already have one.

Tattoos and Heaven Summary

It’s not our job to judge each other and to discern who has or has not sinned. At the end of the day, it is our faith and trust in God that are most important.

Bible Verses About Tattoos

The following are some of the other scriptures in the Bible about tattoos.

“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. – 1 Corinthians 10:23
“You are the sons of the Lord your God. You shall not cut yourselves or make any baldness on your foreheads for the dead. – Deuteronomy 14:1
And try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. – Ephesians 5:10
Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are. – 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
On his robe and on his thigh, he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. – Revelation 19:16
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, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. – 1 Corinthians 10:31
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves – Romans 1:24
You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the Lord. – Leviticus 19:28

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