Body piercing seems to be a growing phenomenon within the Body of Christ. Young people especially seem to be expressing their individuality by this strange and bizarre practice. Rather than finding their identity in Christ, they are choosing to find some fleeting identity through being different. Having lived and worked as a missionary in New Guinea, I’m reminded of how these primitive tribal people would place bones through their noses as well as employing other means to ‘decorate’ their earlobes, lips, etc. What was once considered a relic of a past culture has now become fashionable in the 21st Century.
However, I really don’t want to talk about the popularity of “body piercing” but rather the unpopularity of “body washing.” I can already hear someone saying, “What’s that all about? Allow me to explain.
The book of Hebrews refers to those who have had their “hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and their bodies washed with pure water.” Regarding this verse, Pastor Jack Hayford once said that while most Christians only need to have their hearts cleansed by the blood of Christ, there are some who need to have their bodies washed. He explained that many of those who have been involved in some form of illicit sexual activity are left feeling dirty, defiled and debased in their physical bodies. This results in shame, condemnation and maybe even the inability to enter into a meaningful physical relationship with their spouses.
The good news is that the blood of Jesus Christ is able to cleanse not only the heart and conscience but also the physical body!
Let me remind you that the Corinthian church was made up of every type of sexual addict. In fact, Corinth was well known as a cesspool of sexual perversion.
Paul told them, “Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals... shall inherit the Kingdom of God. And such were some of you; but you were washed...” (I Corinthians 6:9-11) Paul not only refers to their soiled and sordid past, but also to their present state and condition as “washed.” But he doesn’t stop there. In his second epistle he writes, “For I am jealous for you with a godly jealously; for I betrothed you to one husband, that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.” (II Corinthians 11:12) Not only does Christ wash us, but He also restores our virginity.
Anyone who has experienced working in some type of dirt or filth knows the refreshing feeling that comes from taking a shower. I can’t imagine anyone going about covered in dirt day after day, knowing they had the means of washing themselves and yet doing nothing about it.
Paul’s great fear was that… well, I’ll let him say it: “I am afraid that when I come… I may mourn over many of those who have sinned in the past and not repented of the impurity, immorality and sensuality which they have practiced.” (II Corinthians 12:21) How it must have grieved Paul’s heart to think that some of these people had not repented of the sin which had so polluted them.
Why is “body-washing” so unpopular? Why do so few avail themselves of this glorious life-changing experience? Body piercing may not damn one’s soul to hell but not experiencing the washing of one’s body by the Holy Spirit certainly will!
David Ravenhill has worked as a missionary, pastor and teacher for over 40 years. He shares the passion of his father, Leonard Ravenhill, for the Body of Christ to return to holy living. For more on David Ravenhill, visit www.davidravenhill.net