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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.