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.”
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)