Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Throwing Good Money after Bad!

Meditation for the week of February 20, 2010

Mark 2:21-22 "No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; or else the new piece pulls away from the old, and the tear is made worse. "And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins."

In business, sometimes we make bad investments.  There is a tendency to think that spending more money on a bad investment might turn it into a good investment.  But  by spending more money, all we are doing is throwing good money after bad.  It would be better to accept our losses and save our money.   In a similar way, new cloth cannot properly repair an old garment and new wine cannot be put into old wineskins.  What does this mean?  The law was the old garment that new cloth could not repair,  and it was also the old wineskins that were not able to hold new wine.  Christ had come to preach good news, but a people used to fasting and failure under the law were not ready for the changes that the Lord was bringing to them.  He was healing.  He was mingling with publicans and sinners so that they could have new lives.  He was bringing joy.  He was not setting aside the law, but He was bringing something that the law could not provide.  He was bringing salvation from the penalty of sin.  He was bringing deliverance from bondage.   He was freeing the Jews from the deadness of religion to live a new life in Him.  While the Jews had failed under the law and so do we, they still wanted the comfort and structure of a legalism that brought death.  They weren’t able to see that the Lord wanted to free them from failure and servitude to sin.  But since ritualism and law was what they knew, the Jews wanted to throw good money after bad.  They wanted to continue doing what had not worked and will never work.  The law brings guilt, the Lord brings forgiveness and justification and joy.

Today, we still have people who are trying to please God by keeping the law.  But they pick and choose which laws they think we should keep.  Some want us to keep the Sabbath.  Others want us to obey the dietary laws.  Some churches seem to think that they should be patterned after the priestly rituals of the old testament.  But I don’t hear any of them valuing men and women differently as was done in the old testament.   See Leviticus 27 for valuations of people dedicated to the Lord.  I don’t see farmers leaving their ground unworked every seventh year.  I have never seen debts forgiven and slaves set free as required by the law.   Generally, I don’t think most Christians are willing to stone the immoral today.  Nor are they willing to stone unbelievers who blaspheme the name of the Lord as required under the old testament law.  Many people believe that the covenants of the old testament that were given to Adam and Eve and then to Noah and ultimately to the children of Israel are the covenants of the church today.  They fail to realize that when the Lord said to Adam and Eve and then to Noah to go forth and multiply, the new wine counterpart would be to go into the world and preach the Gospel so that people are born again and disciples are multiplied.

Salvation has always been through faith, but the Lord says that the ceremonies have changed.  We no longer have a temple and animal sacrifices.  We no longer have circumcision as a sign of our covenant relationship with Jehovah.  Trying to live as though things have not changed destroys the work that God is doing in this present day of grace.  The principles of the old testament have not changed.  God still wants His people to worship Him and Him alone.  He wants us to judge sin “in the camp”, that is, in the church.  But stoning in the old testament is excommunication from the church in the new.  Circumcision and the animal sacrifices have been replaced with baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  The old covenant is replaced with a new one according to Hebrews 8 and 9.  The old one had an earthly land, an earthly people and earthly promises.  The new one has a spiritual land (heaven), a spiritual people (believers), and spiritual promises (eternal life).  While God is not done with the Jewish nation, even the Jews have to accept the “new wine” in order to be part of this one church that God is calling out of the world to Himself.  To be part of the covenant people of the old testament you had to be born right.  You had to descend from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  To be part of the covenant people of the new testament you also have to be born right.  You have to be born again (1 Peter 1:23).

We don’t fight physical battles anymore with physical weapons.  We fight spiritual ones with the Word of God and with prayer (Ephesians 6:17-18).  We have a new covenant, a new commission and a new joy.  We know that the new testament uses the old testament to illustrate Biblical Truth, but when we make ourselves Israelites who are trying to obtain blessing using the old testament covenants and promises, we are just throwing good money after bad.  We lose the strength and joy of the new wine that has been provided in Christ.

Bruce Collins

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