Then [Jesus] spoke a parable to [the scribes and Pharisees]: “No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved. And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better.’ ”
For those who like to play with semantics, the Bible gives us quite a number of games. One such game regards our becoming like Christ. The word Christian can mean like Christ, so it would seem that everyone who claims to be a Christian claims to be like him now. Yet, we know that we are going through the transformative process of being made into the likeness of God, which is a current process and not something already completed. We also know that we will be perfect one day the way He is perfect, and that certainly is a future prospect. The point is that we have become like Christ, we are becoming like Christ, and we will become like Christ. This is all simultaneous, and as much as we want to get there, some of what remains within us does not want that at all.
I think the major point in all this relates to how we view and treat ourselves when we are less than Christ-like. We all have expectations of ourselves, especially considering biblical teachings on how our faith should grow and strengthen over time, so disappointment from sin can derail us. We expect to have arrived at some great place of faith, and we cannot understand why any part of us keeps us from staying there faithfully. Jesus says it plainly here: we still have a taste for some of the old wine. It still lingers on the palate and calls us to drink more. Not only does the flavor tempt us, but sin within us wants to move us in that direction. While we are not to cater to this thirst, we must acknowledge its existence so that we can persevere through it.
Throughout this walk of faith, we regularly must remind ourselves of the difference between justification and sanctification. We are saved in a moment, yet we are being saved throughout a lifetime. Not only that, but we will be saved on that day when He returns. Throughout our time here, we should expect difficulty, temptation and even resistance from within us. Even so, all this can be overcome, but we must bring it to the light for the illumination that purifies. Ours is not to be perfect now but to be available to being perfected. Father, help us yield to the process of sanctification, to desire more of that new wine today.