The wineskin Jesus spoke of was not salvation per se. It was the old life in Adam of which Judaism was a stop-gap measure, a measure given until the fullness of God in Jesus Christ appeared. You could if you wanted to, rub Holy Spirit oil into the old wineskin. If you did you would be attempting to empower what God has already left behind and will not empower – our old covenant Adamic life. Many have attempted to supercharge the old covenant, old and dead way with Holy Spirit and her gifts. But this is like attempting to pull along an old drought horse with a new cart.
Life in the Spirit is not the gifts of the Spirit. There were anointings in the old testament. But as yet God lived in no one – not Moses, David or John the Baptist. Sure they had encounters. But it took the cross, the at-one-ment, Pentecost and the Outpouring of the Spirit, all of these flowing from the incarnation to install the new and living way of life in the Spirit. Life in the Spirit is you in God and God incarnated in you. Life in the spirit is your being made one with God’s being. A law-based life is not only not in this ball-park. It is irrelevant and swamped by a far greater reality: Christ our life.
“The radical significance of Christ's substitutionary Priesthood does not lie in the fact that His perfect Self-offering perfects and completes our imperfect offerings, but that these are displaced by His completed Self-offering. We can only offer what has already been offered on our behalf, and offer it by the only mode appropriate to such a substitutionary offering, by prayer, thanksgiving, and praise.” T F Torrance.
Life in the Spirit is Christ in us by the Spirit of Sonship.
A life with the gifts of the Spirit is not a replacement for a new covenant union with God and never can be. That we cannot represent the Kingdom of God's sons if we are living from the law is as rudimentary as the fact that we will not live if we stop eating. Yet this is not as widely understood as it needs to be. 'The law' can be seen as the Mosaic law or a performance motivation such as 'I must do all the things a good Christian is meant to do.' We are in the law if we have attached to one commandment or to all of them. We are in the law if we are living from a program and from religion. Whatever the situation we have cancelled out our life in Christ because we have substituted His life for the law.
'I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!' Gal 2.21 NIV.
The sons of God are not only led by the Spirit of God. They live in the Spirit of God. Sons experience and know that they are joined to God by the One Spirit and that they are the Father are one. This state of being is not gained by supposition or presumption. Neither is it gained by works. It is gained by agreeing with what Father has done in Christ and living in the identity with which we have been designated: The sons of God. In making us sons in verity he has come into our being and drawn us into Himself, making the two, one. Torrance writes,
“The incarnation is to be understood as the coming of God to take upon himself our fallen human nature, our actual human existence laden with sin and guilt, our humanity diseased in mind and soul in its estrangement or alienation from the Creator. This is a doctrine found everywhere in the early Church in the first five centuries, expressed again and again in the terms that the whole man had to be assumed by Christ if the whole man was to be saved.” But man is not only ‘saved’ in this way. He is made one with God in the same way that the members of the trinity are one with each other. This is why Paul speaks of Christ our life. God’s life becomes us so that we are sons not only in the letter but in spirit and in truth. We are alive in the Spirit and indwelt by the Spirit.
This state of being – union with God - can no more be our life if we are living in an old covenant mentality than a water melon can fly. Old covenant is separation. New covenant is union. Those who are one with God fly as eagles because Jesus Himself is their life. The difference between an old covenant Christian mentality and the new covenant is simply this. In the former Jesus is seen to help us be good, avoid the bad and live according to the norms of the church and our own internalization of what it means to be a Christian. In the new covenant Christ Himself is our life and we are an expression of His life to ourselves, the people and the world in which we live. In this way Christ fills the entire earth.
‘And the same one who descended is the one who ascended higher than all the heavens, so that he might fill the entire universe with himself’ Eph 4.10 NIV.
The new creation is not an extension of the old testament. It differs in nature and quality. The former is our life in Adam (and Moses) and the latter our life in Christ. If you want to extend what began in Adam for another 5000 years keep living in the knowledge of good and evil with Jesus as a footnote. If you want to be agents of the new creation agree that Christ is totally your life.
New Creation people are the expression of Jesus in themselves and more. Jesus is expressed as themselves. You ate Him and He became you. There is no division between these people and righteousness. Jesus is the righteousness and life of God expressed as His kings and priests.
'Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me' John 6.57 NIV.
We are saying that Jesus is not a clever means of putting wings on the knowledge of good and evil. He is the living way who has secured our union with God, making the two one. That's you and God. You are one by the One Spirit. In Christ there is no separation between God and ourselves, between real and ideal. God is who He is and in Him we are who we are: Sons and daughters of God. Jesus has wrought the unification of the human race by uniting us with Father and in so doing, removing us from our conflicted state of being and making us whole. Now we are able to enjoy unity with each other because we are one with Father and one in ourselves.
In a religious mind-set we can be polite and appear to tolerate one another. But we will not do well at loving one another. Our predisposition will be to judge one another. With Jesus as our life we live in the fulsome healing life of our Father. We experience His love and we become love.
'For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility' Eph 2.14 NIV.