What does the new wineskin mean?
At the wedding feast Jesus demonstrated Himself as the new wine and the new wineskin. The new wineskin is new because it is neither Adamic or Mosaic. It is Christ. It is not the law and old testament ‘coping mechanism’ in Adam’s knowledge of good and evil epoch. Paul referred to the old wineskin as the law of sin and death and the body of death. Sin because we were separated from God and dead because we were both separated and earnest in seeking life in ways that have no life.
There is no life in anything that is not the person of Christ.
Until the cross all humanity lived in the separation from God that sprang from Adam’s acceptance of Satan’s lie. Adam had been induced to seek being like god in what turned out to be in separation from God. At the cross this separation was undone. In Jesus man was made at one with God. This is the full meaning of the atonement which his far more than a mere change in judicial status. It is a new intimacy with God. In the law one can be near God as with Moses who saw God from the rear. In Jesus we are drawn into God and made one with Him in fellowship with the Holy Family and in a real union with each member of the trinity.
Union with God is the new wineskin, which is why the abundant and excellent new wine of the wedding was such an apt sign of Jesus ministry. The new wineskin is an image of the new and living way of life that is in God. Here we are the Bride of Christ because we are one flesh and spirit with Jesus. We were made to live in God and we are so in fact in the incarnation and the anointing of the Spirit.
We are not at liberty to add Holy Spirit to the old wineskin because it is not there to be added to. The old wineskin is the old covenant that was dissolved by the appearance of Jesus Himself as our life. Life in the Spirit cannot grow out of the law and a law culture. It grows from our union with God and the culture of the personal presence – from Christ our life as a culture and a spirit – namely the spirit of sonship. So we need to drop our talk of rubbing Holy Spirit oil into the old wineskin of the old covenant. Holy Spirit oil added to separation from God can have no effect whatsoever. Holy Spirit simply makes real and effective our union with God. Holy Spirit is the new wineskin.
MADE THE TWO ONE
A good deal of Christian activity implies we are separated from God. It’s too often assumed that if you are at home and not at church you are not with God. Or that ‘the presence’ is at the front of the church and not at the back or the sides. This is getting close to a belief in magic. There’s a significant praise and worship culture that assumes separation, as though we have to be drawn into His presence. The good news is that the ‘presence’ is with you and in you – ALWAYS.
A Bible scholar recently stated that ‘‘separation’ taught as the gospel is ‘the great darkness.’’ And so it is, which defines the new wineskin as walking in the light, which means walking in the union with God that is our inheritance. In Galatians Paul says that the sons of the slave woman – the workers of religion and adherents of Sinai – don’t enjoy their Kingdom Inheritance.
‘But what does Scripture say? "Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman's son’ Gal 4.30 NIV.
Our life in Christ transcends any state of being. Time and place are engulfed in Jesus.
We teach ‘separation’ whenever we imply that we must keep the law, jump through a religious hoop, perform any kind of rite, do any variety of observance or add anything to Christ deemed healthful, holy or beneficial. Jesus put the kybosh on the efficacy of ‘times and places’ when he told the woman that it mattered not where one worshiped. The issue is spirit and truth. We are spirit and truth when Christ is our way and our life because now we are sons of God. We are right to assume that it does not matter either, when we worship. In Christ we are worship and worshipers. What we have is a life of worship and a worshipful life. In Christ we are one with God and have become worshipers in spirit and in truth.
SPIRIT AND TRUTH
‘Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth’ John 4.23 NIV. This occurred when Jesus cried, ‘It is finished.’ He meant our separation from God was finished. The sign of the annulment of separation and the new union was the ripping of the temple curtain from top to bottom. It was multiplied when Jesus descended to live in people at Pentecost. Now by the Spirit, Christ’s life becomes your life. Your identity is Christ. Every Believer is the multiplication of Christ where they are releasing Christ’s resurrection life.
Paul further revealed the truth of this when he said, ‘What counts is a new creation.’
‘Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation’ Gal 6.15 NIV. This is the substance of the new wineskin – Christ in you, Christ in the church, Christ in society as the new creation Kingdom of God.
The new wineskin is union with God. This is new union that has overcome the separation of the fall. ‘New’ because it involves all three of the trinity and new because it is no longer a dead way of behaviours and rules. It is THE LIVING WAY of Christ as you – Christ incarnated by His Spirit in you and expressed as both His life and yours in you and the church. The new wineskin is the new covenant, new and living way of new creation life. Clearly if we are remaining in the old covenant we are in the old wineskin and not part of this life. But when born again we are re-born into the new covenant wineskin of union with God and become agents of His spirit and life.
‘For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith’ 1 john 5.4 ESV.
There is nothing special we can add to Christ our life. There is no perspective from which you are given leave to add to the reality of Christ in you. Don’t be smug about some little perspective you think you have or some throw-back to the old covenant you have not abandoned and which you think gives you an identity or an edge. It’s crippling you. Don’t be like the horse with three crippled legs who went about telling the mares and foals, ‘If you believe what I do you can be like me..’
‘They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer’ Acts 2.42 NIV.
There is no valid element of theology additional to the teaching of Jesus and the apostles. Neither you or anyone has been given an additional key to the Kingdom. The ‘key’ as Jesus affirmed to Peter is, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.’ But note the response: ‘And you are Peter. On your affirmation and belief in Me, I will build my church through people like you and the powers of evil will have no chance of withstanding it!’ Let’s be clear. Those who are led by the law do not participate in the new wineskin. Neither can they ever be themselves because their identity is ‘attempted keeper of the law.’ But their real identity is the person of Jesus. In the old wineskin the Peters will never be Peters. The Sarah’s will never be the Sarah’s they are. Only shadows of themselves as workers and slaves. Those led by the Spirit are the expression of Christ and the sons and daughters of God. They are harbingers of spirit and life because as sons of God they are both.
‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!’ 2 Cor 5.17 NIV.