For a few years now, I've been considering getting a tattoo. I have some friends who got inked, even a family member who took the plunge. I even took the time to think of a design I'd be happy with. And I've finally come to terms with it. I'm getting a tattoo.
But not just yet.
Now, I know that great advances have been made with removal techniques, but it's the permanency of a tattoo that has given me pause. I mean, what if I change my mind? Or what if the design doesn't turn out how I envisioned it? My mum has a point, you know — tattoos are a "for life" decision.
But I am getting a tattoo—of sorts. If you're a believer in Christ, you are too.
When John scribes a letter to the Philadelphian church for Jesus, he writes these words as they explode from the bright and morning star, the Alpha and Omega, the one who was, and is, and is to come, the Almighty:
Revelation 3:7-13 (ESV)—“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens. “ ‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
Jesus is going to ink me—and this mark will never fade. I am forever His, and it will be the name of my Saviour, and the name of my home, that will be eternally scribed on the possession of my God.
One of my favourite scenes in the classic children's animation Toy Story by Pixar was the moment when Buzz Lightyear, filled with anguish and doubt as he tries to come to terms with his false identity, finally realises that he is owned and loved by Andy. This happens as he looks down and sees the childish scribble of Andy's name recorded in permanent ink across his foot.
As a child of God, I have already been brought into an unimaginable inheritance. I have been made co-heirs with Jesus himself (Romans 8:16-17), and I have been sealed with a guarantee which will one day become a living reality.
Ephesians 1:11-14 (ESV)—In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
One day, that which is already true now—namely, that I am owned and treasured by God, a living display of His grace and mercy—will be permanently engraved for all to see. Jesus will take a pen—and with the name of my God, the name of the city of my God, and with his own new name—he will boldly write, "YOU ARE MINE!"