The term “New wine” as used in the New Testament refers to the Holy Spirit of God. The “new man” relative to new wine is the truly converted soul who has received the Spirit of God which then lives inside the mind of the convert where it directs his life (“walk”)–his thoughts, words, deeds, attitudes, etc. (Rom. 8:14).
In order for the Spirit to be in full control of the converted one he must first of all divest himself of every modicum of religious influence received from the Institutional Church. Just as a pinhead sized cancer will eventually kill its host if not removed, any influence carried over from Catholicism/Protestantism will eventually destroy the spiritual life of the convert. Jesus used leaven’s effect on bread dough to illustrate sin’s effect on the justified (forgiven) one if it is allowed to remain within him.
The Apostle Paul knew this Truth and warned the church about it. Perhaps the most direct reference to it is found in his second letter to the church at Corinth in which he tells the true saints that, if the church had not done the right thing relative to an earlier incident, they would have been in severe trouble with God. This church had a soft, understanding position concerning one of her members who was having a sexual affair with someone other than his wife. The congregation had been proud of their “understanding” and “inclusion” stance that we see in today’s religious organizations.
Paul had spared no feelings when responding to the church’s hypocrisy in his first letter to the church concerning the adulterous situation. Paul called church sinners and sin-accepters “unbelievers,” “unrighteous,” “darkness,” servants of “Belial” (Satan), “infidels” and “idolators.” Their modern day counterparts are no different.
He asked the Corinthian congregation what relationship did God’s temple (His saints) have with the temple of idols (sinners in the church). Paul reminds the people that God dwells within the true saints (in the form of His Holy Spirit), and that He “walks in them.” He is their God and they are His people. This was (is) not the case with church sinners. As was the case with the Corinthians, no amount of religiosity will change God’s attitude toward sinners supposedly saved by grace.
Then Paul tells the true saints that, if the congregation had not dealt righteously with the adulterer, they (the church) would have been abandoned by God. He reminded the serious saints in the church that, should sin be found in their midst again, they must “come out from among them and remain separate from them. They must not “touch that unclean thing (church).” Having obeyed, He would THEN receive them. He would THEN be their God and they would be His people.
Chapter 7 verse 1 gives us a clear message. Here God tells us that to receive the above-mentioned promises (6:16,17) we must “cleanse ourselves of all sin of the flesh and spirit” by getting away from everything Catholicism/Protestantism puts forth as God’s Word. He also tells us that, having done that, we are to perfect holiness in the fear of God. Holiness is defined as strict obedience toward God by strictly obeying His Word, by every word of which (Mat. 4:4) we will all be judged (Jn. 12:48).
In Romans 6 Paul notes that holiness is required for salvation. One cannot be holy and remain in an unholy church situation. In 7:8-11 he reminds the church of the positive, God-pleasing way they had handled the adultery situation written about in his first letter. In 7:7-11 he reminded them of their reaction to receiving his letter. He noted that it had made them sorry in a godly sense. They had expressed “godly sorrow” which is always involved in true repentance. Worldly sorrow by church people leads to death the same is it does for those outside the church.
In verse 11 he describes the church’s reaction to his first letter in which he chastised them severely for their liberal reaction to sin in their midst. They had sorrowed in a godly way, exhibited great carefulness, indignation and fear coupled with a vehement desire to do zealously do the right thing. In so doing they had completely cleared themselves of guilt.
Paul’s Words are universally rejected within religious circles today. “Come as you are; stay as you are” has become the church’s mantra. Repentance, not righteousness, is the focal word in today’s sermons. To be a Christian one need only show up, ‘fess up, and pay up in order to go up when Christ snatches up His people. Truly, Satan has deceived the whole world. L.J.