Jesus says you do not sew a new patch onto an old garment — if you’ve ever done this, you know what He means. The new patch, as it shrinks, pulls away at the old cloth and makes a worse hole than you had in the first place. Jesus says you do not store new wine in an old wineskin; the new wine causes the wineskin to burst so that you lose both the wineskin and your wine.
Jesus says He’s not put on from the outside. You can not go to church and put Him on like a garment – in that He does not fit the unchanged person.
Some churches today are mega-institutions designed, it seems, primarily to put Jesus onto people’s outsides while worrying – at least a little bit – about whether the new look is just a look or is an actual alteration of the people’s insides. I think that little bit of worry is left to life groups.
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.”