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9 Fruits of the Holy Spirit (9) Fruit of Gentleness
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쏝ut the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Gal. 5:22-23 ...
       
 
  
 

New Wine into Fresh Wineskins

Manmin News   No. 110
8542
January 20, 2008


" And He was also telling them a parable: 'No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and puts it on an old garment ... But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins ...'" (Luke 5:36-39)

The phrase " new wine must be put into fresh wineskins" is an expression frequently used even by those who do not believe in God. In politics, it is often employed by emerging groups against the establishment but they do not use it with the full realization of its spiritual significance. By arguing " new wine must be put into fresh wineskins," they use the saying to express their desire to attempt and pursue new things.
Originally, the phrase " new wine must be put into fresh wineskins" carries the significance of great depth of Jesus Christ, who is our life, and the ways in which we receive salvation and enter better heavenly dwelling places. What spiritual significance, then, can be found in this expression?

1. The Reason New Wine Must Be Put into Fresh Wineskins

As making of clothes required a great deal of time and work in the past, frequent purchasing of clothes was not common. People usually wore a piece of clothing until it was worn out and when the clothing fell apart, they sewed it up and wore it again. As multiple layers of fabrics were placed on top of each other, parts of the clothing that covered such joints as knees or elbows became as sturdy and solid as leather over time.
Yet, what would happen if a piece of cloth from a new garment were sewn onto old clothes? That would not only ruin the new garment but also damage the old clothes. The threads of old garments are worn out; when a piece of cloth from new garments is patched onto them, the new clothing's piece will pull at the threads the old clothes from all corners and it will only enlarge the hole.
Using that metaphor, God tells us, " And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined" (Luke 5:37) and reminds us that " new wine must be put into fresh wineskins."
During Jesus' time, wineskins were used to contain or transport wine in the Middle East. As new wineskins were flexible yet strong, they could withstand the pressure of the gas emitting from the new wine. Old wineskins, dry and tough from a long time of usage, however, were not able to withstand the pressure of the new wine's gas and would burst.

2. Spiritual Significance of the New Wine and the Old Wine

The Bible likens Jesus to a vine (John 15:1, 5). Through the messages of the truth during His time in this world, Jesus testified to God the Creator and to heaven and hell, and showed the way to repentance and eternal life. Jesus also set Himself as an example in serving and loving others. Furthermore, Jesus testified to the fact that He came God Himself by healing the sick, restoring the weak, and driving out demons. Therefore, all that Jesus spoke and did became the fruit on the vine.
Wine is the juice from the grape. After bearing many fruit and through His carrying of and death on the cross for all mankind, Jesus wholly fulfilled God's Providence and the Law. Jesus fulfilled the Law with love (Romans 13:10) and this is the " new wine."
What, then, is the " old wine" ? It refers to the patterns of life from Old Testament times dictated by the Law.
The life of the flesh is in the blood and there is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood (Leviticus 17:11; Hebrews 9:22). For that reason, in Old Testament times people would symbolically sacrifice animals and offer their blood in order to receive God's forgiveness of people's sins, and this practice is referred to as the " drinking of the old wine."
After Jesus died on the cross, people have received salvation by drinking of the new wine. In other words, we reach salvation by believing in the redemption grace of the blood of Jesus and living by God's Word.
In Matthew 19, Jesus said of marriage, " So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate." The Pharisees then retorted, " Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?" To that, Jesus responded, " Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way."
According to Jesus, God's will dictates that once a man and a woman vowed before God to become one flesh, they must live in love and joy without change of heart. However, if the husband no longer wishes to live with his wife for any reason, neither would be happy to remain married.
As God was aware of the " hardness of heart" in man, He established procedures for divorce within the Law. That does not mean, however, that this is the perfect will of God. He desires people to cover with love the shortcomings and flaws in one another and persevere as that is true and perfect.
For that reason, the New Testament is referred to as " the new wine" compared to " the old wine" of the Old Testament.

3. Turning Old Wineskins into New Wineskins

In Jesus' time, the priests and the Pharisees were extremely well-versed in the Law of the Old Testament and, in addition to the Law God had personally given Moses, they created and abided by accompanying rules and regulations.
When God told people to keep the Sabbath holy, man came up with the ways in which they were going to keep that specific commandment. They created minute provisions that forbade themselves to turn on fire to cook, walk more than a certain distance, carry heavy objects, and the like, on the Sabbath. Completely overlooking the heart of God imbedded in the Law, people thought they were keeping the Sabbath holy since they adhered strictly to the rules they created.
For that reason, Jesus told the Law adherents that they were to transform not only their outward appearance but also their heart and live according to God's will (Matthew 23:23). Casting off such elements as self-righteousness, and greed, incorrect knowledge that are not proper before God's sight, one must renew his heart and transform himself into a new wineskin (Ephesians 4:22-23). Without such work, the Word of God a person hears will only be stored as knowledge, which will in turn cause him to become arrogant and even act in evil when he feels guilt-stricken in his unchanging heart.
We find many people today profess their belief in God but express their explicit preference to the old wine as they have yet to transform their hearts into new wineskins. From their fleshly thoughts, frame of mind, and self-interest, they refuse to live by God's Word. Such individuals are no different than the Pharisees who shunned Jesus.
The Bible evidently tells us, " Be sanctified and holy as your Father is holy," but people often say, " Man can only try to remove sin from his heart." Even though the Bible tells us to love our enemies, people often say, " There is no way I can love someone I cannot agree with."
New wine cannot be poured into old wineskins. People who insist on their own thoughts and former ways of life cannot live by the will of God and thus find themselves on a path to destruction that has nothing to do with the Lord.
There are also those who mistakenly believe that they are pouring new wine into new wineskins without transforming their heart. For instance, as God tells them not to hate others or grow angry, instead of casting those elements off, they suppress their feelings. As they have not thrown away such elements of evil from their heart, the suppressed evil is revealed with the passing of time. When they come across events with which they are not pleased or people with whom they thought they have been patient long enough but find them still displeasing, such individuals will explode and, coupled with the suppressed emotions, act in greater evil. Just as the new wine will be spilled out from an old wineskin, the suppressed emotions will spill out. Some people, even though they want to expose the shortcomings of others, judge and condemn them, suppress their evil because they are waiting for God's answers to their prayer. They have heard and know well the Word but suppress their evil to prevent themselves from creating a wall of sin.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, God desires each of us to transform our heart and turn it into a new heart – a new wineskin. He wants us not to suppress evil in our heart but rid ourselves of evil altogether. You may have harbored hatred and anger in the past but God wants you to harbor gentleness and meekness with which you can put yourself in the other person's shoes. You may have gossiped and slandered others in the past but God wants you to harbor a compassionate heart with which you think only of covering the shortcomings of others.
To those who have been transformed into new wineskins, promises found in the Bible will be manifested. They will receive with speed God's answers to whatever they ask Him in prayer, be healed of diseases, and see the evidence of faith in their lives; they will meet the living God and as they communicate with Him in depth, they will be led onto the path to heaven and eternal life.
At the beginning of a new year, may each of you cleanse your heart in earnest and fulfill all the desires of your heart by becoming a new wineskin, in the name of Our Lord I pray!


 

 

 
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