Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Part 24: Old Wine (luke 5:39)

And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, 'The old is good enough.'" (Luke 5:39 NASB)

The Greek word translated here as "good enough" is chr─ôstos. Vine's Expository Dictionary defines it as "useful" or "fit for use". When it is used in reference to God, it refers to His goodness and kindness. Old wine is a word picture of the mature Christian, who should be so free of the sediment of immaturity that he has developed the goodness and kindness of God Himself. Maturity should bring the character of God to our lives and it should be evident to those around us. Our harsh, rough edges should have been smoothed off in the process of transformation. 

What is the character of God? When God passed by in front of Moses, he proclaimed His attributes. 

"God passed in front of him and called out, “God, God, a God of mercy and grace, endlessly patient—so much love, so deeply true—loyal in love for a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin. Still, he doesn’t ignore sin...” (Exodus 34:4-7 MSG)

NASB describes Him as "compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin..."  Those are the characteristics that should mark the life of a mature Christian. It's the way people should describe us! There is no room for harshness, bitterness, or unforgiveness, is there? Those unpleasant characteristics should have been removed during God's work of transformation. 

Just to be clear, this does not eliminate tough love in difficult circumstances, accountability, or the need for reparation when wronged. God has been tough with me on more than one occasion. He has not, however, been mean-spirited or unkind in his discipline, and He has always been gracious to a broken and contrite spirit. 

Are the attributes of God evident in our lives? Would those who know us best describe us as merciful, compassionate, endlessly patient, slow to anger, forgiving, and loyal? 

Pray today that God would complete the process of transformation in us and in our loved ones, removing harshness, bitterness, and unforgiveness and replacing them with those attributes that would make us most like Him. May we, and those around us, recognize the evidence of maturity and praise God for the work He has done.