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Doctrine of Christian Liberty - Inferences II

June 5, 2022 Series: Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith

Scripture: Romans 12:1–2, Leviticus 19:28

Quote: George Washington

The whole duty of man is summed up in obedience to God’s will.


Last week we spoke about using inferences to more fully understand Scripture.

We said that sometimes we used arguments like:

  • If the Bible does not explicitly declare something, then it does not matter what we do.

But we learned from our examples last week that Scripture is fully sufficient and therefore

  • we need to study the Scripture in full to understand its far-reaching implications

Remember, we said that within Scripture, there are direct statements that point to underlying principles and those underlying principles are indeed important.

But, if we do not understand how to apply those underlying principles, it will be exceedingly difficult to draw out the proper inference and then put that right understanding into practice.

The direct statement we used last week was found in 1 Corinthians 6 – where we learned that our bodies belong to the Lord.

The underlying principles, or inferences, we have come to understand from that direct statement:

  1. Our bodies are not our own and we cannot do as we please with them.
  2. We must care for our bodies because they are somebody else’s property
    1. The Lord Jesus Christ owns them
    2. The Lord Jesus Christ has bought them
    3. we are united to Christ Jesus in the likeness of His death, and in his resurrection.
  3. Some practical applications:
    1. We ought to healthy.
    2. We ought to keep our bodies fit.
    3. We ought to get proper rest.
    4. We ought to get proper exercise.
    5. We ought to get proper medical care.
    6. We ought not to deface our bodies with piercings and tattoos.
      1. Note, this does not apply to earrings as there are examples in Scripture where earrings are spoken of favorably.

We are going to continue our discussion on inferences by looking at our duty to God.

We will first examine Romans 12 and then look at the implications for holiness and separation by looking at Leviticus 19.

Your Duty to God - Romans 12

Granted, we are sort of jumping in the middle, almost the end of the argument in Romans 12.

Let us quickly walk through and remind ourselves of the outline of Romans:

Romans 1 – State of the unrighteous man
  • Teaches us that we have generally bad news
    • for irreligious man
    • for those who have who have rejected God and the gospel
  • That the wrath of God is revealed from heaven
    • against all ungodliness
    • against all unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness
  • The lack of morality and rebellion against God is the result of God's judgment.
Romans 2 –State of the righteous man
  • Tell us that there are such things as religious people, and they are in trouble too.
    • g., Jews who forsake the law of God
  • Tells us the Gentiles who have the law of God written upon their hearts
    • such that they do the things that are in the law
    • and yet we know that they are not thereby justified.
Romans 3 – State of all; guilty; Christ alone.
  • Teaches us, that just in case anyone has been left out, that all men have sinned
    • that everyone is liable to God's judgment.
Romans 4 – Justification is by faith alone, not works.
  • Paul turns his argument and begins to speak about how a man can be righteous with God
    • that it is through faith alone
    • that is not according to works.
  • Paul talks about Abraham being justified by faith
    • that is the extended argument of chapter 4.
Romans 5 – Salvation by grace
  • Paul talks about the archetypal righteous one, our Lord Jesus Christ
  • That there are only two options
    • we can be in Adam
    • we can be in Christ.
  • We learn the concept of representation,
  • We learn about imputation
    • that is essentially the end of his gospel argument in chapter five.
  • The Gospel argument at the end of Chapter Five
    • that God justifies the ungodly
    • that the law is established because we maintain a righteousness
      • it is a righteousness that is not our own
      • it is the imputed righteousness of Christ.
Romans 6, 7, 8 –Sanctification
  • The opposing argument runs like this
    • if salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, and apart from all works, then tell me this…
    • shouldn't we just live as we please?
    • So that as we commit more sins, the greater the grace of God that is heaped upon us?
  • Of course, you know Paul's short answer to that it is (May Ginomay) God forbid
  • Paul goes on to explain the principle of the power of sin being broken in our lives
    • because of us being united to Jesus Christ
      • in the likeness of His death
      • in the likeness of His resurrection
    • Note again, our bodies are not our own.
Romans 9, 10, 11 – What about the Jew?
  • This argument runs like this
    • Ok, so then salvation is by grace alone through faith alone, and it is being united to Jesus Christ.
    • What about all the promises that God made to Israel?
  • Paul answers all those questions based on the gracious election of God
    • he explains what it means that not all Israel is Israel
    • he begins to show that division
      • within Abraham's family
      • within Isaac's family
      • and so on
Romans 12
  • Paul says, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God
    • What mercies of God?
      • the mercies of God that unite you to Christ
        • in the likeness of His death
        • in the likeness of His resurrection
      • the mercies of God that have delivered you
        • out of the power and bondage of sin
        • into the marvelous liberty of the sons of God
      • the mercies of God to present your bodies a living sacrifice
    • It is your worship service to Him, that is in perfect accord with reason.
    • In the first two verse, the apostle Paul sums up our duty to God in just a couple of verses.
    • He then explains this in the rest of chapter
Romans 13, 14, 15 – duty to God, Others
  • Paul explains the duty that we owe to God.
Romans 16 - Farewell
  • This chapter is basically a goodbye to everyone

Back in Romans 12:1-2

The Apostle Paul, in those two short sentences, lays out all of our duty

How does he describe it again?

  • that our bodies are not our own
  • that our bodies are living sacrifices, acceptable to God

Why are our bodies acceptable to Him?

  • because they are Holy
  • because they are completely dedicated for His service.
  • because they belong to him.

Notice that our minds belong to him as well.

  • It is not just our bodies.
  • It is also our minds.

He is Your Redeemer - Heb 10:19-22

We often forget that last phrase, don't we? → our hearts are sprinkled from an evil conscience.

Notice also that our bodies are washed with pure water.

  • Of course, that is speaking of the water of baptism, which is a consecratory rite. (Upwards toward God)

Remember what happen when we are baptized?

  • we give up our names to God
    • that means we give up title to ourselves.
    • that means we belong to someone else -> we belong to Jesus Christ Himself

Remember last week we read Psalm 24

  • It talks of God's propriety over all flesh.

Remember in 1 Corinthians 6

  • It spoke of God's propriety over all flesh.
  • and these other passages speak of God's special propriety over us.

We belong to him in a way that other folks that do not call upon his name belong to Him.

  • They belong to Him because they are responsible to their Creator
    • He possesses a creative ownership over them
  • But for the baptized Christian
    • it goes beyond that
    • Christ is our Redeemer.
  • And as our Redeemer he claims a special propriety over us.

Galatians 3:27 → as many of you as were baptized, were baptized into Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:12:13 → the apostle is going to tell us that we sustain the same relationship to Jesus Christ as the parts of a body have to the head.

  • when the head says, hand move, the hand moves
  • when the head says, arm move, the arm moves
  • when the head says, run, the body goes
  • In other words
    • we respond and obey the head
    • we are not our own.

Why? Because He is our redeemer and He own us.

  • There is metaphor after metaphor
    • that teaches us that we do not belong to ourselves
    • that teaches us hat our bodies belong to Jesus Christ
      • and that in a greater, fuller, more intimate, and more responsible sense seeing that we are purchased with the precious blood of Jesus Christ
      • and united to him by baptism.

These passages point to us not belonging to ourselves

  • we are not possessors of our own bodies
  • they belong to Christ
  • our bodies are not our own.

Our bodies were purchased and redeemed.

  • Remember that the price was Christ’s blood.

Separation - Leviticus 19

The legislation in the Book of Leviticus takes several different tacks.

  • We must understand that it was a legislation that was given what our confession calls “a church underage”
    • there were things that were forbidden
    • there were paradigms and understandings and particular practices
    • there were put upon them to teach them things in a very overt way
  • This was done because
    • they were a church underage
    • they have not received the full light of the coming of Jesus Christ and all of his teaching.
  • So, they had to be taught, if you will, like little children
    • Pastor Ruddell refers to this as a primary color religion
    • It is the gospel in primary colors.
  • The primary color gospel that existed in the Old Testament was, indeed, something that taught them several things
    • it taught them of the sacrificial work of Jesus Christ
    • it taught them of the substitutionary atonement
    • it taught them through tactile and if you will, immature signs and types and shadows
    • it also taught them to separation from the world in the same kinds of immature signs.
  • What were some of those immature signs?
    • when you plow your field, do not mix your seeds -> one field, one seed
      • because children of Israel, you are to understand that you are not to be mixed with the nations.
    • when you get up in the morning, and fix your breakfast, your food's going to be different from all the other foods upon the face of the earth.
      • because you are not going to eat like the rest of the people of the world eat.
    • It taught them that they were separated unto the Lord
      • Why? Because they belonged to Him
    • So, God said →
      • you are going to eat this way
      • you are going to dress this way
      • you are going to get up in the morning this way
      • you are going to conduct your lives this way
    • It was an existence that was to be a separated existence.
      • So much so that when they finally were to enter into the land of promise
      • here is what you are going to do with all the inhabitants of the land
        • you are going to kill them.
        • you are not to be mixed with them at all
      • here is how you are going to treat the trees of that land.
        • They will be uncircumcised to you.
        • In other words, they will be dirty, they will be unclean.
        • You should not eat of those trees for 3 years, then you lay up the produce of the 4th year and you eat it in the 5th year
      • Separate yourselves
        • from their idolatrous practices
        • from the practices of the way they do things.

Leviticus 19.28

You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead.

  • What does that mean?
  • Some commentators say that this is an act of mourning.
    • It is not an act of mourning.
  • It is a way of tattooing yourselves and leaving scars upon your body for the remembrance of your deceased ancestors.
    • It was a kind of ancestor worship.
  • They would make cuttings on their flesh
  • The Lord says, that is how they do it, not you.

nor print any mark upon you.

  • This is what we call a hapax-logomena
    • it is one Hebrew word, and it is translated rightly as tattoo.
    • literally, it can be translated as “tattoo”
  • That is the way they do it.
    • It should not be the way that you do it.
  • There is a proper understanding of separation from the practices of the world around them.


Looking back our example for using inferences from clear statement of Scripture -> body modifications and tattoos…

the implications are fairly clear.

  • Since our bodies do not belong to us and they belong to the Lord Jesus Christ
    • we have to take care of our bodies
    • we eat healthy
    • we get proper rest
    • we get proper exercise.
    • we get proper medical care
  • Since our minds also do not belong to us and they belong to the Lord Jesus Christ
    • we should care for both our bodies and our minds
    • we must use them for approved uses according to His commands
  • There are folks that believe they believe that they own their own bodies
    • they take better care of them than they do their own souls
  • But we can and must care for both our bodies and our souls at the same time
    • care for our bodies ought not to trump our care for our souls.

He has redeemed our bodies and has given them to us that we should be zealous for good works.

  • Ephesians 2:8-10 - We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, that you may walk in them.
  • Titus 2:14 – We are a people redeemed in order to be zealous for good works

What does all this have to do with body modification?

  • It strikes against the principle of God's ownership and of the Lord Jesus's ownership of our bodies
  • It asserts our own right over our body.

If you were to interview people who are tattooed or have body piercings, you might hear this:

  • This is how I express myself.
  • This is my body, I can do with my body, what I, what I want.

Now what about the Christian?

  • What if the Christian says that a tattoo is how they exhibit the fact that they are owned by Jesus Christ or believe in Him?
    • The tattoo that I want is going to be a Christian tattoo with some kind of a Christian testimony.
  • Then, the question must be asked at that point
    • Is that what God has designed you to do with your body?
    • Is this a proper service that we offer to him apart from his command?
    • Is this really in keeping with the principle that God owns your body?
      • or is it just another way to assert our own service to Him
    • As people who understand the regulative principle
      • we should not need to flesh this out


As we think about the impetus, even in Christian circles now, to go out and get a tattoo, we must ask the question, why?

  • What is it about getting a tattoo?
  • Why are there Christians today that want to get tattoos or body piercings, and so on.

Remember, as far as the tattoo is concerned

  • It was the unbelieving cultures of the Old Testament that were the ones who put the tattoos on themselves
  • God's people were always instructed not to do that
    • the marks that Christians had put upon them were invisible marks
    • they were sacramental marks.

Remember Ezekiel 8 - where the man with the inkhorn spiritually goes by and makes a mark on everyone that sighs and cries for the abominations of the worship?

  • In other words, God has marked out not in the flesh but spiritually speaking, those who are His.

And so, in the press in Christian circles today to go out and get a tattoo or excessive piercings, we must again ask questions.

  • Who are we following?
  • Where is that desire coming from?
    • Is it coming from a desire to be separate unto the Lord?
    • I think the answer must be no.
    • It is not coming from a desire to be a holy people unto the Lord.
    • Rather, it is coming of a desire to follow after a practice that has long known to belong to unbelievers
    • Rather, it is coming from a desire to exert influence and control over that which does not belong to you.

So, if you ask my advice →

  • “Should a Christian tattoo their bodies?”
  • “Should a Christian participate in some of that statement kind of piercing that we see"?”
    • Your body does not belong to you.
    • Your body is not a vehicle for your own self actualization or expression.
    • Your body belongs to Christ.
  • He has marked you out with his marking, for water baptism.
  • He has given unto you a name.
  • And He has united you to himself, in his life and in his death.

This also has wide implications.

  • But asserting our ownership over our body…
    • It is not biblical
    • It is not godly
    • It is not keeping with the principle that our bodies are not our own.

As we reflect on how we can use inferences and implications from a wider reading of Scripture, we begin to see these wider implications.

  • Everything you do must be done with the understanding
    • your body and your mind do not belong to you.
    • You are not your own.
    • You were bought with a price
    • You belong to the Lord.

Therefore, glorify God in your in your bodies, and in your spirit, which is God's.


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