"Tattoos aren't new"

You might think that tattoos are a recent phenomenon. Not true. The ancient Romans would tattoo (or brand) slaves and criminals. Later, during the fourth century AD a Christian sect called the Montanists tattooed themselves as slaves of God (Revelation 7:2-3). And Coptic Christians have been tattooing crosses and other symbols on their hands for more than 1,200 years. Many Coptic (Egyptian) Christian villagers still sport cross tattoos today. For them, the tattoo reflects their commitment to Jesus, whose scars will forever be reminders of His sacrifice for us (John 20:19-28).

Paul, in Romans 6, reveals what should be the mark of a true believer in Jesus today. "We are no longer slaves to sin," he wrote (v.6). Unlike the slaves branded by the Romans, giving them a permanent identity as a criminal, believers in Jesus choose to be "a slave of Christ Jesus" (1:1). Jesus transforms us from the inside out and calls us to "live new lives" that show "we were set free from the power of sin" (6:7).

As we turn from sin and embrace the holy life to which Christ calls us, we bring glory to Him and present a picture of what Christianity is all about. Paul put it this way: "We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives" (v.6).

Whether or not tattoos of a cross are a good idea may be a disputable matter. But all of us who are true believers in Jesus will reveal our faith in Him by turning from sin. He has broken the power of sin over us, setting us free to live "for the glory of God" (v.10). You don't have to get a tattoo to show your faith. A life of pure devotion to Jesus, radiating His power to resist sin, will show the world you belong to Him. , Tom Felten, Our Daily Journey

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