"No one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost and the skins as well; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins."Mark 2:22(NASB)
Jesus was the promised Messiah Who was sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel to save His chosen people from their sins. All scripture had pointed to the time when Christ would set up His promised kingdom on earth and for three wonderful years God's anointed King of Israel lived among His people and laid out the criteria for entrance into His sovereign realm as His loyal subjects. All Old Testament scripture pointed to Christ, Who was the end of the Law as far as righteousness is concerned, for everyone who believes on His name. The purpose of Israel's Law was to point them to Christ and it was fulfilled in Him, for faith in the promises of God and His as Messiah was to be the criteria for righteousness. 'This is eternal life,' Jesus prayed, 'that they may know You,' (Yahweh), 'the only true God - and Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, Whom You have sent'.
The new was to replace the old, but throughout Christ's earthly life the religious leaders of Israel sought to hold on to the old familiar religion of Judaism, which had fulfilled it's purpose in Christ - by denying and eventually crucifying the very Person Whom God sent to save them from their sin. Their futile endeavour to patch up their old religious system and produce a righteousness of their own failed... but rather than admitting that the good works which they carried out in their own strength were rejected by the Lord and regarded by Him as filthy rags - these religious Jews sought to produce a righteousness by means of their own self-effort.
Jesus likened their fruitless attempts to produce a righteousness through human merit.. to sewing a new patch of un-shrunken cloth onto a well-worn garment, which would result in an even greater tear. He further likened their legalistic efforts of producing righteousness by their own merit.. to pouring new unfermented wine into old and brittle wineskins. The old, rigid skins were unyielding, with no elasticity to allow the new wine to ferment and expand - with disastrous results.
Although there were subtle hints about the coming Church age in Christ's earthly ministry, the time would come when the apostle Paul would more fully disclose the hidden mystery of this dispensation of grace - which is Christ IN you, the hope of glory - i.e. Christ's righteousness imputed TO you.. the very righteousness of God credited to those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ - the righteousness of Christ poured into all who trust in God and Jesus Christ Whom He sent.
When Jesus gave this teaching He knew that one day every member of the coming Church would be imputed with the righteous life of Christ Himself. But He also knew that sinners first had to turn from their sin.. repent of their sin.. be cleansed of their sin and believe on Him as Saviour.. before being imputed with Christ own righteousness. The old self-life must give way for the new Christ- life - for a new righteousness must replace the old. The new life of Christ which is given to all who believe.. was to replace the old sin nature which was imputed to us from Adam.
Like the religious rulers of Israel.. unregenerate man still has a a choice. They can choose believe in God and Jesus Christ Whom He sent to save them from their sins - and in so doing will be forgiven of their sins and clothed in the righteousness of Christ.. BUT once saved the believer also has two choices.. The saved saint can either revert back to the religiosity of the old sin nature and seek to produce a self-righteousness of their own.. by producing good works through self-effort.. which are rejected by God - OR they live their new-life in Christ and produce works of Christ-righteousness as He lives in and through them. The former will grieve and quench the Spirit of God - but the latter will produce much spiritual fruit to the glory of God.
Christians can choose to EITHER be controlled by the former self-life which can only produce the unacceptable works of self-righteousness OR they can choose to walk in spirit and truth and be controlled by the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, which will only produce acceptable works of Christ's own righteousness. May we reckon ourselves dead to the old sinful nature and alive in the new-life in Christ. May we keep the self-life nailed to the cross so that the imputed life of Christ may be manifest in all we do.
Heavenly Father, I want to be emptied of all that is of the old life so that I may be filled day by day with Your Spirit of truth. I pray that I may daily die to my old self-effort and prideful self-righteousness, and submit to the indwelling Holy Spirit.. so that the life of Christ may live in me to Your praise and glory. I pray that the life of Christ IN me, may produce the acceptable fruit of His-righteousness, to His praise and glory in Whose name I pray. AMEN.