Don’t try to combine the new with the old

And who would patch an old garment with unshrunk cloth? For the new patch shrinks and pulls away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger hole than before. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. The wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine needs new wineskins.  Mark 2:21-22

The main point that the Lord is trying to make here is that you cannot combine the new with the old.  He spoke this parable in response to some people asking him why His disciples didn’t fast like the Pharisees and John’s disciples did. I believe this parable is talking about the new and the old covenant that God made with His people.  God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah about the day that would come where God would make a new covenant that was not like the old:

Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people . Jer 31:31-33

Notice how this passage says that the new covenant will NOT be like the covenant that God made with Israel in the desert. Here’s a question I have for you: Where do we find out about the new covenant?  Would it not be in the gospels and in the letters to the church? Which covenant are we to follow? The old or the new? Lately, I’ve noticed a lot of people who are wanting to go back to the old testament and follow old testament law.  This is not good.  Look at what God said in this passage: “I will write my law on their hearts.”  Why are we looking to the old testament when God’s law is written on our hearts?  If you are a christian and you love God, you are not to walk by dos and don’ts, but by the spirit.  As you walk in the spirit you will automatically know what is right and wrong because you will be walking by the law written in your heart. I know this sounds dangerous, but for an honest christian who is seeking to please God, it is not. In fact, this is exactly what we are supposed to do. Look what Paul says:

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Rom 8:4

I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh….But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Gal 5:16,18

This is an ingenious method of living that God has come up with.  No longer do we have to focus on a huge laundry list of dos and don’ts, but now we just aim to walk in the spirit and to love people.  Our all-knowing internal Guide will help us with the rest!! (WARNING! If you are reading this and thinking that this makes the bible obsolete, you are badly mistaken.  Everything that God leads you to do must always line up with the His written word.  If it doesn’t line up with the Word then its not from God.) I want to give you a bible example of how this works.  And this is a great example because it involves being led of the spirit and it involves new covenant living. In Galatians 2 Paul talks about how he went up to see the the brethren in Jerusalem. Look what he says about Titus:

But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised Gal 2:3

Here Titus was around many Jewish people who were circumcised. He was around many Christian Jews that had been circumcised, but the bible says that he was not compelled to be circumcised. This ‘compelling,’ I believe, is the inward leading of the Holy Spirit.  And since he felt no compelling to be circumcised, he didn’t become circumcised.  If the Holy Spirit wanted him to become circumcised, He would have put in Titus that inward compelling. Has this ever happened to you before?  Have you ever gone to do something and you felt compelled not to. Or have you ever felt compelled to do something or felt compelled to stop doing something?  If you walk with God you will experience this. I remember that when I was a teenager I used to play a certain game.  I had spend probably over $300 dollars on this game.  I had just began to live for God and desired to do His will. I remember that I began to feel compelled to stop playing this game.  No where in the bible did it say not to play this game, but despite that fact, I felt compelled to be rid of it. Eventually I gave into this leading from God and got rid of it. I finally realized that God had wanted me to be rid of it, because it consumed too much of my time and too much of my thinking. Don’t go back to the old way of living. Jesus said you can’t combine the two together, and that it will make it even worse…