Aug24th

For Faith to Thrive – Old Forms Need to be Replaced

by 

Mark 2:22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.”

Juaism was the old wineskin and the gospel is the new wine. When the spiritual freedom of the gospel expanded outside of the boundaries of Judaism, the words and works of Jesus totally contradicted that of the old wineskins (legalistic rules and regulations of the scribes and Pharisees). When Jesus showed up as the new rabbi in town, the rules and regulations of Judaism which were based more on ceremonial law rather than the law of Moses begain to crack and spring a leak.

There is a principle that cannot be violated if we are to experience the gospel free from guilt and condemnation as the Father has promised to us through Jesus Christ. Jesus did not come to place us under legalistic bondage, but to set free us from religious law that is man-imposed rather than God-mandated. The old structure of obeying the rules and regulations of man must be fully replaced in our lives by Jesus who has fulfilled the law on our behalf – something we could never accomplish for ourselves.

In order for this to happen, the church must be ready to do away with some old containers that have grown dry and brittle, and replace them with new skins that are partially cured and elastic so they will not crack with the expansion of the still fermenting new wine.  Wineskins are not bad in themselves when they are used to contain Biblical truth.  But when they become too rigid and cannot expand further without bursting, they begin to strangle and suffocate Biblical truth.

There are things which are essential – the wine.   And then there are things which are useful, but not primary – the skins.  What is more important, the wine or the skins which hold the wine? The church has a long history of making the skins of more importance than the wine which they contain. The Pharisees had come to the place where their focus was on the skin.  They loved controlling the behavior of the skin, they loved keeping the skin inside of their boundaries and they loved the feeling of power and control they recieved from the skin. They had lost sight of the purpose of the skin.

The church contains both faith and form. That is just the way life on worth works. But we must remember faith is the gift from God – it doesn’t change.  Form is the skin – it does change. It if does not change, it will crack and leak out the new wine when faith (in the finished work of Christ) expands.

Yours for a new day,

Mitch Odom

 


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