There are many, many scriptures in the Bible that I still do not understand. With the years I have learned to just wait patiently. At the right time, God will open it up to me. Sometimes I experience a rhema moment all by myself, sometimes through the teaching of somebody else. My husband and I had such a rhema moment this morning when a passage we have read many times suddenly made sense for the first time!
In Luke 5, the people asked Jesus why He and his disciples didn’t keep the law. He answered them with these two parables:
Luke 5:36-39 He told them this parable: “No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.’”
In those days there were no pre-shrunk fabric like we have today. Fabric had to be washed a few times so that it could shrink, before a garment could be made from it. Otherwise the garment would have shrunk the first time it had been washed. So patching a hole in an old garment had to be done with old material, otherwise the patch would have shrunk with the first wash and the garment would be torn again. So what was Jesus trying to explain here? Jesus did not come to patch up the Old Covenant – He came to replace it with an entirely new one! We find the evidence of this in the following scripture:
Hebrews 7:18-19 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.
He reiterated this with the second parable of the wine. New, unfermented wine had to be put into new wineskins to allow for the expansion of the gases within the skin as the wine fermented. If the new wine had been put into an old wineskin that had no more elasticity, the wineskin would burst from the pressure of the fermentation gases. The Old Testament laws could never expand enough to accommodate the new mercy and grace that came through Jesus!
Hebrews 10:1-10 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves.For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—I have come to do your will, my God.’” First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law. Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Jesus replaced an outward living to the Old Testament Law with living by grace. The flesh is no longer the focus; the spirit is. What you wear is not important. Whether you have a beard, short hair or long hair is not important. Whether you have Sabbath on a Saturday or a Sunday doesn’t matter. Whether you have a tattoo or not is no longer important. The Old Testament law is no longer the focus point! Jesus is! What matters is that you accept the offering that Jesus made on your behalf. Don’t get caught up in false teachings that want to bring you back under the law. Just accept the grace! You can’t mix the two either. There are people that proclaim Jesus as Lord and Saviour yet they get religious about the Sabbath; they want to wear traditional Jewish garments to church etc. That is not what Jesus wanted. He himself said you can’t mix the old and the new! His grace is sufficient. You can’t add anything to it. Trying to add something of your own good works is rejecting the completeness of what Jesus has done. Getting religious about things is basically saying that the offer Jesus made wasn’t good enough, you still need to add to it. You will never succeed. Just accept the grace today. Forget about the rest. It’s all about grace!