The Bible has much to say and warns against mixing things together. Most of it is symbolism like old and new wine skins and wine, old cloth and new, linen and wool. But why? What do these warnings provide for us? It is warning us not to mix religion and grace together. It also teaches us not to add religion and grace.
The Gift of Grace
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8
In Ephesians we are saved by grace – period. It is not by our good works or our obedience to the law or the sacrifices we make (tithing, time to help). It is a gift from God - our faith to believe that Jesus paid for ALL of our sins and He was the only one who could do it.
There is no purgatory, there is no grace plus works that gets us saved it is grace alone.
John the Baptist disciples ask Jesus “Why He and His disciples don’t fast?”
Jesus replied “Do wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. “Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before. “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.”
The works of fasting do not save a person from hell. It is walking with Jesus Christ that gives eternal life in heaven.
Jesus says we can not be happy and sad at the same time. There is a joy in walking with Jesus which we should celebrate.
Cloth and Clothes Our Conduct
Cloth is a picture of our outward conduct. When we are saved or born again we are a new creature. We are not the old creature and the new creature all in one. We are a new creature with new habits with a new Spirit in us.
With this new Spirit, we should act different not from will power but from the power of the Holy Spirit in us. We are babies at first therefore we will not be perfect when we start our walk and we will not be perfect when our walk has ended. Along the way we should see growth and maturity in the things that are right and true.
Wine Love Faith
Wine is a picture of spiritual love and the good of faith. He is warning us of putting in our new Spirit into the old wine skin of religion. Our new nature will be ruined when mixed with the old religion of our works making us good and us working our way to God.
Grace is about God reaching down to us and lifting us up.
The death of Jesus Christ opens up the door for us to accept grace, to become new creatures, and to bear good fruit.
Mixing The Wisdom of the World and God's Wisdom
Romans 12:2 (ESV) “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Many churches believe what the world teaches or they just can't believe that God has such an easy plan for salvation. All we have to do is believe is God's plan and He give's us the gift of faith. Many people think that mass murders shouldn't be forgiven and they will never get to heaven. However, God has the same plan for mass murders, drug dealers, pimps, prostitutes, the wicked, the good, fathers, mothers and children. The plan is believe in His Son Jesus Christ who died for all our sins and receive the Holy Spirit and become a new creature.
Mixing religion and grace is a sure way to confuse people. It is also a way to not experience the peace and joy of the Lord.