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New Wineskins and a New Song

• Greg Boyd

Sometimes being stuck in religious traditions can cause us to miss what God is really doing. This is the problem the Pharisees had throughout the Gospels. Their rules didn’t allow for God to do radical new things, the kinds of things Jesus did. They had tried to put God in a box, but the Spirit can’t be contained like that.

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Sometimes being stuck in religious traditions can cause us to miss what God is really doing. This is the problem the Pharisees had throughout the Gospels. Their rules didn’t allow for God to do radical new things, the kinds of things Jesus did. They had tried to put God in a box. But the Spirit can’t be contained like that.

In Matthew 9:10-13, Jesus is criticized for hanging around with ‘sinners’. The religious leaders liked the idea of righteousness by works, because that’s what they had based their own worth and identity on. Now here’s the Messiah associating with all these sinners.

In Matthew 9:17, Jesus tells His accusers why they question His behavior: their rules kept them from seeing the new thing that God was doing. God was creating rivers of love and grace in the desert of these people’s lives. God decided to grant righteousness on the basis of faith, not works. But the religious establishment of the day was so caught up in itself that it missed what was really going on. They were upset because Jesus’ miracles and His general attitude didn’t fit into their rules.

God does what He knows to be right, regardless of what anyone thinks about it. He doesn’t take orders from anyone.

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