Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! – 2 Corinthians 5:17
36 Then Jesus gave them this illustration: “No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and uses it to patch an old garment. For then the new garment would be ruined, and the new patch wouldn’t even match the old garment.
37 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins.
38 New wine must be stored in new wineskins.
Do you have old clothing that no longer fits or is not in style? Instead of taking it to the thrift shop, upcycle it! Old garments can be upcycled, that is, repurposed. With a little imagination and a modicum of skill at sewing, old clothes become a new supply of fabric ready for transformation and redeployment. There is yet unrealized value awaiting in your old and outdated clothes. There is only one proviso. New garments and old garments should not be stitched together.
Trying to patch up old wineskins or old garments is foolish and actually wasteful when done in a manner which actually proves to be self-destructive. The point of these two illustrations is that the old and the new cannot be mixed. But there is an underlying deep spiritual insight to be gleaned.
Our old lives cannot be patched up in an ordinary, natural way. Yet it seems that we children of the King, are constantly trying to fix things that never seem to stay fixed. Attempted rehabilitation of the old, more often than not, does not work. Something revolutionary and radical is necessary. The Father has already provided it. His strategy is exchange, and replacement of the old by something entirely different.
The Lord Jesus Christ did not come to just patch up the old. He came to provide something utterly new, actually better than new. He came to upscale us. The new life that is now available through the Lord Jesus Christ is part of a radical transformation. While we remain the same person, we are now able to live in an entirely new way. A caterpillar and a butterfly are the same creature. One is earthbound, the other is capable of flight. Butterflies sip the sweet nectar of flowers. They are no longer limited to only crawling, climbing, and chomping on leaves.
Many of our old ways, modes of thinking and acting, are the result of the wisdom we have acquired totally apart from the Word of God. Such wisdom is characterized as earthly, natural, demonic (James 3:15). Patching it up simply will not achieve the goal. In fact, such wisdom is rendered obsolete. When we accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, we were upcycled.
The Jewish sages, before the time of the writing of the New Testament, agreed that the true wisdom came from above. It was not the result of human attainment but the gift of God. They described this wisdom as ‘the breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty’ (Wisdom of Solomon 7:25) (Barclay).
The book of James was the first book of the New Testament written. James is restating in clear terms the Father’s wisdom from above and its impact on our lives.
James 3:17 The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.
Rather than depending upon our soulish wisdom, we are to base our thoughts and actions upon the wisdom which comes from above.
We are born into a fallen world characterized by wisdom which is earthly, natural, demonic. It is our natural tendency to try to continually repair and mend our old ways. Rather, we are to adopt totally new ways.
We are still the same person, but we now have totally new resources to rely upon. It is comparable to the caterpillar/butterfly analogy. We have been transformed from the inside out. Our new upcycled way of life needs to be studied and researched, meditated upon, and put into practice.
REFLECT & PRAY
“God’s wisdom leads to harmony and peace, while human wisdom leads to arrogance and dissension. What kind of wisdom do you tend to rely on? You can answer that question by evaluating your relationships” (Stanley).
Father thank You that I am now in Christ and able to soar above my old limitations via resurrection life.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
What does it mean to be “in Christ?” Each of the Father’s children is united with Christ. We are in personal union with Him. We are no longer merely what we used to be plus a few patches and a bit of forgiveness or cleansing here and there. We have been supernaturally joined with Christ. We are now something entirely different. We are merged, never to be extracted or separated from Christ.
How is steel made? Steel is made when iron and coal are heated to an extremely high temperature. When heated together they become something entirely new, different than the original source substances.
One of the wonders of our union with the Lord Jesus Christ is that we become part of the new creation. In Greek there are two words translated life: bios – physical life, zoe – spiritual, eternal life. When we are born, we possess only physical life, bios. When we accept the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, we are born again, we are given zoe – spiritual, eternal life.
We have crossed the threshold from all that has come before, all that is now old. We are now merged into what is new. The new creation is the new resurrected life of the crucified and buried Christ. After dying for the sins of the world, He emerged, never to die again. Union with Christ and the impartation of resurrection life are a first taste of the magnificent future that awaits all children of the King.
We are part of the whole new created order. The Lord Jesus Christ is described as “the firstborn among many brothers and sisters” (Romans 8:29). The Lord Jesus Christ is the first of a new group of people, the children of the King, who possess eternal life, resurrection life. He is the first of a new set, the set of those who will be resurrected to never to die again.
But there’s more! Right now in the present, in Christ we possess resurrection life. Resurrection life is entirely different than physical life. We are now free and empowered to know Him and the power of His resurrection (Philippians 3:10). Each child of the King is given this gift by the Father. For many of us, it is a new beginning, an entirely new way to live life.