Challenging the Status Quo
David A. Cawston
A number of years ago, I heard a woman give her testimony. She talked about her life prior to coming to a relationship with Christ and being liberated from religion. She used some very uncomplimentary terms that her fellow office workers had called her. Her lack of joy was obvious to them. She had been rather a grim person, trying to be adequate and good enough for God. Rules and regulations dominated her pious religiosity. She was closed and un-affirming to people who did not meet her standards and her reconceptions. She used the term to describe herself before she received the releasing form Christ, the renewing experience of grace.
The term she used was "Old Bag". Let me explain that being an "Old Bag" is not just a description of a person's age, sex, physical condition or appearance. I have met "Old Bags" of both sexes among some very proper people. It can be a spiritual condition. I have met teenagers who are "Old Bags" and who suffer with more rigidity and inflexibility than their elders.
All these "Old Bags" have one thing in common.
- They are too rigid,
- too dry, too inflexible,
- too unbending to contain the fermented new wine of Jesus Christ.
- They are far too cautious,
- and judgmental to hold the dynamic of the Lordship of Christ and His kingdom.
Jesus had great difficulties with religious "Old Bags" of His time. The scribes and the Pharisees could not handle His non-conforming ministry and message.
In fact with rich humor and a tongue in cheek, He exposed one of them in one of the most humorous parables.
We miss His humor in the parable of the wineskins. He took the familiar image of an old wine skin or bag, to show what happens when new wine of the kingdom of God, is pour in to the unbending framework of intellectual, spiritual and personal rigidity.
The people who listened to Jesus knew what happened to new wine in old bags.
The new wine fer ...
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