Saturday, April 30, 2011

Grace Bursting At The Seams!

Jesus used three illustrations to explain His answer to John the Baptist's disciples. The first illustration was about how the guests at a wedding couldn't possibly think about fasting with the joyful Bridegroom among them.

2) The second illustration was a well-known parable about the impossibility of mixing the old with the new. Putting a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment would cause the old cloth to pucker and tear. Since the new patch came from a new garment, this would have spoiled both cloths, because the new one would now have a hole in it and the old one would be torn.

3) The third illustration was very similar, concerning the impossibility of the old holding the new. Skin bottles were made by skinning an animal carcass, cutting off the head and limbs, sewing it up with the fur on the outside, and closing it all up except for the neck.

A new wineskin was soft and pliable. As the leather aged it would become hard and brittle. If new wine, which was still fermenting, were put into an old skin, then the buildup of fermenting gases would split the hardened container, spoiling both it and the wine.

These last two illustrations showed that Jesus' way of grace could not simply be patched onto old Judaism, or poured into the old wineskin of tradition.

To try to mix the two together would ruin Judaism and Jesus' teaching. This was what Jesus was saying to Nicodemus:
"...unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." [John 3:5-6]
Compare that to what Jesus is saying here,
"And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins."" [Mark 2:22]
If the new wineskin is the born-again believer, the new wine is grace, God's love to the utterly undeserving.

1) Grace is God's goodness, the kindness of His heart, His good will, His benevolence.
2) Grace is God's compassionate attitude towards sinners, His willingness to forgive and restore
3) Grace is God's divine assistance, He helps us to do what we can't do alone. It is His power which begins with salvation, then sanctification which is the growing in personal holiness, and finally glorification, when we will see Jesus face to face, being just like Him.

Saving grace is found in the most important doctrine of Christianity: Justification by grace through faith. It means you and I are saved on the basis of God's unmerited favor towards us through the Lord Jesus Christ, which we can only receive by believing His Word when He tells us of it.
Following Jesus requires being reborn, living a new way of life
* The Pharisees preferred the old wine and saw no need for the new.
* John’s disciples were cautious, admiring the old wine and distrustful of the new.
* How about you?

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