In Mark 2:21, Jesus gives the first of two illustrations that point to a New Era that is incompatible with the previous era of Judaism. “No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made.” The old garment (Judaism) had become spiritually weak, unfit and unable to become one with the new movement of God in Christ. The old was based on fulfilling the Law (self-righteousness and ritual), but the new was rooted in the gospel of grace (forgiveness, cleansing and God’s righteousness).
The new cloth represents a quality of purity in what Christ brought that could never be found or regained in the old religious system. If someone tried to sew the two together, “the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made.” The word “tear” suggests a ‘split or division that cannot be overcome’. Notice that the old is what tears, not the new. God will not and cannot accept us on the basis of the old or any part of the old (see 1 Corinthians 5:6-8).
In the same way, if we seek to blend the work of the Spirit with our old religious practices that are spiritually dead, we will invite a worse condition and miss the newness and freshness of His work. Likewise, God will never ‘patch-up’ the old man or his methods. He must die (be crucified and buried) so God can resurrect us in Christ as new – His life lived in us (Galatians 2:20).
You must wrestle with this question; ‘Do I want to hold on to a dead system that is not producing fruit for God, or do I want God to work in “the new way of the Spirit”? “But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code” (Romans 7:6). The new produces fruit for God.
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