Mark 2:22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; if he does, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but new wine is for fresh skins.
This is the 8th Sunday of Epiphany, and it is an event that does not happen often. If the whole season of Epiphany is about how do we see Jesus in a new way, this is nothing different, except that the place where we see Jesus, is not in a miracle of long ago, but in a miracle of today – not in a miracle that happened to someone else, but in the miracle that God works in our lives.
The Work of the Holy Spirit is to bring us to faith, and to make us holy – and we keep saying that in Christ, we are a new creation – which is true – it is also something we need to take a little closer look at. And the proverb to help us examine who we are in Christ, is – no one puts new wine into old wineskins. Since we are a new creation in Christ, this explains why our old skin doesn’t fit very well, and may make us uncomfortable. So what do you do?
Well, the one solution that doesn’t work is to try a trim God’s new creation, so that we can fit in our old skin – and yet that is what we are often tempted to do. There is a tension between what we know we ought to do, and what is comfortable – what is comfortable? Things we know well, things that are well broken in, things that are familiar – all of these tend to be comfortable. But does it make sense? Sin tends to be something we know well, and there are some sins we are familiar with – but should we be comfortable with sin? The devil is someone whom we have heard often enough, whispering in our ear, leading us into temptation – but do we want to be comfortable being slaves of Satan?
You see, that’s one of the hard parts about being Christian – its new. But when God worked faith in us to make us a new creation – God didn’t make a mistake – God created us just as he intended us, whole and complete, lacking no good thing. He even gave us a new skin, one that fit the new self, which we are in Christ. And here is the real Epiphany secret – we are the way in which Christ is seen in the world today – every where we go, we bear witness to the new creation which is ours in Christ – everywhere we go, we are open invitations to come to the Savior and find rest, peace, and fulfillment.
And that is what St Paul was writing about –telling the congregation at Corinth, that each one of them are letters of recommendation – personal invitations to come to the Savior. Not because of anything special apart from Christ, but because of who they are in Christ, and because of what has Christ has done – making them a new creation.
So, since we are a new creation, it is time to cast aside the old skin, and to put on the new. What is the new? If nothing else it is the righteousness which comes by grace through faith in Christ. For our righteousness is not that we are better than most, nor is it that we are righteous of ourselves, but our righteousness is in Christ.
So we do not boast of ourselves, for by ourselves we were spiritually blind, dead, and enemies of God – by ourselves, all our good works were but a filthy rag. So we boast of Christ, who sufferedd and died for our sins, freed us from sin death and the devil, gave us eternal life, and made us a new creation. We are letters of recommendation to the whole world, telling of the great love of God in Jesus Christ – for they can see the results in our lives.