“Fresh Wineskins” ( Mark 2: 22, HCSB ) by Carley Evans

Jesus says, “New wine is for fresh wineskins.” If you put new wine into an old wineskin, the newly fermented wine will burst the old skin so that you not only lose the wine but the skin. In order to keep the new wine, it must be stored in a new wineskin.

And so, without the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, we can not be made new creations. Jesus tells Nicodemus, “You must be born again” in order to “see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) Our new lives can not function in our old systems — the system itself must be altered so that our lives are made real; so that we function as parts of the body of Christ.

The extraordinary power of God can not enter the ‘old nature.’ Rather, that nature is changed at a fundamental level so that God is able to make a place for Himself in our hearts.

Therefore, God commands, “Be holy as I Am holy.” And Jesus says, “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

“Regard Others As New Creations” (1 John 4: 11 – 12, ESV) by Carley Evans

The author of 1 John says that God’s “love is perfected in us.”

God is perfect; His love is perfect — lacking in nothing. How is it that His love is perfected in us?

Jesus says to His disciples, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you.” (John 15: 13 – 14)

Jesus dies not to remain on the cross or in the grave; instead Jesus is raised to live both in us and at the right hand of God the Father, where He intercedes for us. His love is expressed to us from heaven, but it is also expressed through us as we love one another on earth. In this sense, God’s love is perfected in us.

Paul says that no one dies for an enemy, and that hardly anyone dies even for a friend; but Jesus does both — He dies for His friends even when we are still enemies. (Romans 5: 6 – 8)

What is Jesus’ command? He commands us to love one another as He loves us.

“For the love of Christ controls us, because we conclude this: that one dies for all, therefore all die; and He dies for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake dies and is raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh…Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old is passed away; behold, the new is come.” (2 Corinthians 5: 14 – 17)

“The Old Is Gone” (2 Corinthians 5: 17, ESV) by Carley Evans

“The new has come,” writes Paul to the Corinthians. “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciles us to Himself.” (2 Corinthians 5: 18)

Paul declares that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” As a new creation, the old is gone, passed away.

Jesus says that “no one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.” (Matthew 9: 16 – 17)

When the Holy Spirit enters our lives, we are fundamentally changed. God does not put Himself into an old creature; instead He transforms us so that we are fit temples for His Holy Spirit.

“Do you not know,” writes Paul, “that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” (1 Corinthians 3: 16 – 17)

And, Paul continues, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6: 19 – 20)

Peter writes, “As He who calls you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I Am holy.’ ” (1 Peter 1: 15 – 16)

The new is come! Glorify God in your body, His temple.