Something old, something new

 

No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved. Matthew 9:16-17

 

The unshrunk cloth results in a tear, the unaged wine results in a spill. In both cases, something new is added to something old and the results were destructive. That which is new (the new covenant) must be put into that which is new (the new heart, born again by the Spirit).

We live in an age obsessed with self-improvement. We want to put a patch here or there, and just fix up what we already have. “Sure, I’ll take some of that salvation”, and the gospel that is poured in, we cannot contain because we have not been made new by the Spirit. Our self serving religion cracks, the wine spills and the skins are destroyed.

New wine must be put into new wineskins. The gospel is not another self improvement method, adding Jesus to Dr. Phil and Dr. Laura as another good teacher that can help us learn how to live right. We don’t need to be fixed, we need to be made new.

It seems to me that there are only two religions in the world – law and grace. For those under law, whatever form of it they choose to follow, the work never ends. Endless patching needs to be done, which never fails to lead to more tears to be patched. But for those of us who have received grace, we have been made new totally apart from our own efforts.

Grace. What good news!