New Wine in Old Wine Skin

If you read my last blog on out of context scriptures the title of this blog may have rung a bell. Ironically I’m not writing on the traditional meaning of the story about the wine and the cloth from Matthew 9, I want to use it to present a more applicable lesson to us gentiles.

Jewish Background

So in order for you to grasp what I’m about to say you need to understand the origin and meaning of Jesus’s parables. First of all the Pharisees were always trying to catch Jesus red handed disobeying the Torah or the Law of Moses. They challenged him about his disciples not fasting, about them not washing their hands (Mat 15:2), about activities on the Sabbath (Mat12:2), about authority over demons, they bugged Jesus about sitting with sinners (Mat 9:11), about the lawfulness of divorce (Mat19:3), even Johns disciples wondered about his obedience (Mat 9:14). basically they wanted Jesus to abide by the rules of the Old Covenant.

So what’s the big deal expecting the Son of God to obey God’s law?

Jesus was the fulfillment of that very Law that God gave Moses on the mountain. It all pointed to Him and showed that mankind alone was unable to achieve perfection and atonement before God. So if we think we still have to obey the Law of the Old Covenant, we have missed the whole point of Jesus coming to us. He came to make us perfect so we could know the Father directly.

Mat 5:17 – “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
Mat 5:18 – “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.

Eph 2:15 – having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace,
Eph 2:16 – and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.

Rom 7:4 – Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.

Jesus + The Law does not mix

To teach the Pharisees why him and his disciples don’t obey the Law of Moses Jesus uses two parables to describe the problem of mixing of the Old Covenant with the New Covenant (Himself). First it’s like putting fresh wine in to a wineskin that has already been used to ferment a previous batch of wine. This is not a good idea. Because the wineskin (dried goatskin used as a container) has already stretched because of it’s previous fermentation of wine the elasticity of the skin is lost due to the alcohol of the previous batch. So if you put new wine (freshly pressed grape juice) in a used wineskin for fermentation the fumes will be released, the skin will expand and then break open and destroy the entire skin. This would mean 2 to 4 months of time wasted.

The next story he tell is of clothes (a little easier to understand in our culture). Jesus says you can’t rip off a piece of a new garment and patch it on to an old garment to fix it. The new garment would then be ruined, and the old garment would not match the new patch! The Christian audience of the book of Hebrews and Galatians struggled with this subject, they were originally Jewish and later accepted Christ but they went back to their old ways of the Old Covenant not understanding that it was done away with. The New is better than the Old. Jesus’s blood atones for our sins in a way that the priests sacrifices of the Old Testament could not (Heb 9:13-14).

How does this apply to me, a Gentile?

Just as the Jews who recognized and believed in Jesus had to learn that they could not continue their old way of life AND accept Jesus as their Lord and savior, neither can we continue in our old ways, habits, traditions, or mindsets and simultaneously walk in to the new life of Jesus Christ.

Rom 12:2 – And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Here are some challenging questions to ask yourself:

  • Now that you are saved, do you think different?
  • Do you act differently than before?
  • On the outside, what makes you different from the nonbeliever?
  • Do you feel that the purpose of life is something external to yourself, or is it still self centered?

If you lived in the world before coming to Christ, compare the two. Are there any things that have carried in to your new life with Christ that do not belong? If you were raised in the Church and have not been “out there”, do you act like the lost? Do you resonate with the desires, goals, and attitudes of popular TV shows that do not glorify God? How about MTV?

As Christians of any walk of life we absolutely cannot simply add Jesus to our old container. That old container is our carnal life, our flesh, or our worldly life before Jesus. We must crucify that old life, we destroy that old container and allow Christ to build a new container in it’s place. This is a new wineskin with new wine inside, just as God intended it to be!

Here are some common topics, after reading the definition ask yourself if you have God’s perspective on these things or do you still have your old self’s lingering opinions.

  • Success

God – Fulfilling God’s perfect will for your life, finding content in any situation, success with God is independent of income and possessions.
World – Fulfilling your own dream for your life no matter what it takes, gaining as much acceptance as possible and storing up for yourself money and possessions. This is based on your ability and will power to achieve it.

  • Happiness

God – When you are at peace with your situations, and enjoy what God made in the way God made it. Money, possessions, skills, relationships, food, sex all in it’s rightful place.
World – When something gives you temporary satisfaction, fills your mind with pleasure, serves you. This is independant of other peoples enjoyment and you can use anything at any time at any place in life, no limitations.

  • Power

God – When you are given authority over things or people and you work those things as unto God. You have power when God’s power is working on your behalf.
World – When you can do what you want or get what you want no matter the expense of other people. You can use your power to satisfy your senses whenever you see fit.

  • Independence

God – Living in the fullness of your true identity as designed by God, surrounded by a network of people who love you and keep you accountable through life.
World- Living solo, no roles or unwanted responsibilities, no one to check on you and keep you on course when your eyes are closed.

  • Truth

God – The presentation of facts that never fade, die, or end. The inconvenient but life-saving wisdom. Truth effects your morals, goals, and purpose.
World – Similar to an opinion, it can be whatever you want and thus you can act in whatever way you desire.

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12 thoughts on “New Wine in Old Wine Skin

  1. I basically agree with the point you are trying to make (that the Sinai law is not part of the NT faith). But you seem to be saying that the law was really just a prophecy, and, having been “fulfilled” (obeyed?) it is no longer a law. That does not cohere with our common understanding of law.

    The USA has a body of law known as the “Constitution.” If I were to obey that law 100%, would it then cease to be binding on the rest of the USA population? That does not follow.

    A more accurate understanding of the issues involved relate to the fact that the law continues unmolested, but that the believer is “dead to” that law and is no longer beholden to it because faith, apart from the religious activities of the law, is adequate to become right before God.

    The figure of “abolishing the enmity” is NOT to be confused with the idea that Christ abolished the law itself.

  2. Once we become members of Christ’s family, he does not let us go hungry, but feeds us with his own body and blood through the Eucharist.

    In the Old Testament, as they prepared for their journey in the wilderness, God commanded his people to sacrifice a lamb and sprinkle its blood on their doorposts, so the Angel of Death would pass by their homes. Then they ate the lamb to seal their covenant with God.

    This lamb prefigured Jesus. He is the real “Lamb of God,” who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29).

    Through Jesus we enter into a New Covenant with God (Luke 22:20), who protects us from eternal death. God’s Old Testament people ate the Passover lamb.

    Now we must eat the Lamb that is the Eucharist. Jesus said, “Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no life within you” (John 6:53).

    At the Last Supper he took bread and wine and said, “Take and eat. This is my body . . . This is my blood which will be shed for you” (Mark 14:22–24).

    In this way Jesus instituted the sacrament of the Eucharist, the sacrificial meal Catholics consume at each Mass.

    The Catholic Church teaches that the sacrifice of Christ on the cross occurred “once for all”; it cannot be repeated (Hebrews 9:28).

    Christ does not “die again” during Mass, but the very same sacrifice that occurred on Calvary is made present on the altar.

    That’s why the Mass is not “another” sacrifice, but a participation in the same, once-for-all sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

    Paul reminds us that the bread and the wine really become, by a miracle of God’s grace, the actual body and blood of Jesus: “Anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself” (1 Corinthians 11:27–29).

    After the consecration of the bread and wine, no bread or wine remains on the altar. Only Jesus himself, under the appearance of bread and wine, remains.

  3. Colossians 2:13-14 New American Standard version:

    13When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,

    14having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
    —————————————–

    The Law is dead, thankfully, having been nailed to The Cross and not resurrected, (save for in the minds and hearts of those who would wish to nullify The Word for the sake of their traditions).

    The law of The Spirit reigns now. Again, thankfully.

    • Great scripture Donald, thanks for sharing. What is the law of the spirit? Love? the 9 fruit?

      Wounded – I don’t think the O.T. Law is comparable to the US’s law. The US Law is active to ensure justice for all and to give the people representation, also to keep things orderly. However the O.T. Law was to teach the people of Israel their need for the Messiah:

      Gal 4:1 – Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all,
      Gal 4:2 – but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father.
      Gal 4:3 – Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world.
      Gal 4:4 – But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
      Gal 4:5 – to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

      I agree with you though that we are dead to the Law.

      • Two things:

        Unless you are a Jew, you never were under [beholden to] the law.

        God didn’t crucify Israel’s tutor! He freed Jews who convert from tutelage.

        Can you see the difference between these two concepts?

      • I partially agree, but what of those who entered in to the family of Israel that were not Jewish by blood? Weren’t they expected to hold to the Mosaic Law? If so, than if Jesus were to come at a later time (let’s say 2050) and I were a gentile now as I am I could not enter in to any kind of relationship with Yahweh unless I became (religiously) a Jew. Do you agree with that? People such as Rahab were grafted in to the Jewish culture, did they need to obey the Law?
        You said “God didn’t crucify Israel’s tutor!” If by tutor you are referring to Galatians 3 where the tutor is the Law than I agree, if you are calling Jesus the tutor who was sacrificed I don’t, Jesus was never referred a tutor of the Jews.

        This is getting both very hypothetical and nit-picky, and I don’t even know what we are arguing about, but this is a great verse concerning the Law and Jesus – Gal 3:24 – Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

      • >>>…I partially agree, but what of those who entered in to the family of Israel that were not Jewish by blood?…

        Only a Jew could be a Jew. There was no such thing as becoming one of Abraham’s descendants other than by birth. These were a chosen race. End of story.

        But people could come to live under Jewish law and then they would be subject to the law, that’s true.

        If I were in Israel today, I would be beholden to their laws, because that is the law of the land. The Arabs there are beholden to that law. If they go to France, they are beholden to the laws of France. But a Jew, regardless of where they are, are bound by the laws of the Sinai covenant.

        By tutor, I did, indeed refer to the law.

        There are reasons why all of this is important.

      • Wounded Ego,

        You said:
        “Only a Jew could be a Jew. There was no such thing as becoming one of Abraham’s descendants other than by birth. These were a chosen race. End of story.”
        ———————

        Not end of story. Beginning of eternity.

        Galatians 3:26-29…New American Standard:

        26For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
        27For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
        28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
        29And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.

        You also stated to Michael that the New Covenant was for the Jews, or “made with the Jews”. Not at all. If this were the case, then John was wrong in saying that Jesus was given for the world and not just for Israel, which we become under the New Covenant. Jesus did indeed come for Israel first, of course, but I can confess openly that I am a dog who has eaten the crumbs from His table.

        The New Covenant goes beyond Israel as we know it. It is open to those whom God will elect.

        You mentioned the word “stake”, in reference to The Cross. Are you coming to us from the Jehovah’s Witnesses? If so, that explains much about your theology.

      • >>>…29And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.

        Abraham, if you read what Paul is saying in Galatians, was called “a father of many gentiles.” To be a child of Abraham is not necessarily to be a Jew. Esau was not a Jew, for example.

        >>>You also stated to Michael that the New Covenant was for the Jews, or “made with the Jews”. Not at all.

        Please see Jer31 and Hebrews 8.

        >>>…You mentioned the word “stake”, in reference to The Cross. Are you coming to us from the Jehovah’s Witnesses? If so, that explains much about your theology…

        No. And my understanding and theirs are quite different. But they are quite right about the word STAURON.

  4. >>>…God commanded his people to sacrifice a lamb and sprinkle its blood on their doorposts, so the Angel of Death would pass by their homes. Then they ate the lamb to seal their covenant with God….

    That was not lamb (though translations render it so). It was a mature flock animal, probably a goat.

  5. >>>having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us…
    The Law is dead, thankfully, having been nailed to The Cross and not resurrected…

    Donald, the “certificate of debt” is not the law, but rather the offenses. The Roman government published the crime of the one being executed and affixed it by nails to the stake of the executed. On Jesus stake they affixed the certificate stating that he was executed for claiming to be the king of the Jews, and therefore an insurrectionist. He was executed with other insurrectionists on either side of him.

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