New is Better
Dr. Doug Posey
I think I figured out how to keep my bicycle tires properly inflated so I don’t get so many flats that I get more exercise repairing them than actually riding. At least I was slowly getting in shape—although peddling rather than patching would have been more fun. But, I’m going to redeem the irritatingly frustrating experiences and use them as a teaching illustration from which I hope you benefit. Here goes.
You can only patch an inner tube so many times. If you’re into cycling, patching an inner tube is the less expensive way of repairing a flat tire. I don’t mind patching a lot rather than investing in new inner tubes and I tended to get more than my fair share of flats, so I patched a lot. To me, it’s kind of a challenge to repair a tire and actually see if the air stays in! If the tire stays firm overnight, there’s sort of a sense of victory. But, of course there is a limit to everything. Patching has its shortcomings.
There are going to be times that do require a completely new inner tube. Let’s say you’re out on the road, get a flat, but you have no pump to inflate the tube in order to discover the leak. No way to use a patch! Cyclists like me often carry tiny CO2 cartridges to fill the tire. A brand new inner tube is the logical choice in this case. Simply switch out the tube, fill up the tire with the CO2, put everything back together and peddle on.
Now that I’ve confused and perhaps bored you non-cyclists, here’s the point: sometimes only a new tube will do. You can only patch up, fix, repair and prop up something that is old and used up for so long before you have to admit, it’s no good anymore and because of the circumstances, only a new thing is going to work. At some point, you have to acknowledge that you have to let go of the old and embrace the new and there are very good reasons to do it! Sometimes, it’s only at that point that you realize how superior it is to go with something new rather than merely repurposing the old.
When Jesus came, it was time to let go of the old and embrace the new. No “patching and pumping up” the old religion. There was to be no recycling of the old traditions. It wasn’t a matter of dressing up the worn out customs and tired rituals. Jesus wasn’t just another holy man in different attire. What He represented and what He offered was new. He could not have been clearer about that. He talked about things like not putting “new wine into old wineskins;” not simply mixing their familiar practices with His new way. He presented a “new covenant” in His blood, a covenant of grace through faith in His ultimate sacrifice. He gave a “new commandment” about loving one another as He has loved us. He talked a lot about new stuff.
It was all new and the newness was not lost on those who carried on His ministry. In Acts 17, when Paul taught about Jesus at a place called the Areopagus, they wanted to know about “this new teaching” he was proclaiming. They were all about hearing teaching what was “new” and this was definitely new (Acts 17:19, 21). Paul wrote in Romans that we have been raised into “newness of life” (Romans 6:4) and “that we serve in newness of the Spirit not in oldness of the letter (Romans 7:6). He went on to tell the Corinthians that, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things have passed away; behold new things have come” (2 Cor. 5:17). He told the Galatians that it wasn’t about things like circumcision, but being, “a new creation” (Gal. 6:15). He told the Ephesian believers to “lay aside the old self” and “put on the new self” (Eph. 4:22, 24). He reminded the Colossians of the same thing as he encouraged them to act like the new people they were in Christ (Col. 3:9-10).
Of course, all this talk of newness doesn’t stop with Paul. The writer to the Hebrews has a lot to say about the “new covenant.” He writes about a new lifestyle, a “new and living way” (Heb. 19:20). John writes of our “new commandment…that we love one another” (1 John 2:7; 2 John 5). And an exciting thing to consider is that the new aspects of our faith don’t stop here. “New” is part of our future too.
The New Testament (no coincidence, it’s the New Testament) looks into the future and there’s a lot of new there. Peter writes, “we are looking for new heavens and a new earth” (2 Peter 3:13). We can look forward to having a “new name” (Rev. 2:17; 3:12). The four living creatures and twenty-four elders before the throne in heaven will sing a “new song” (Rev. 5:8, 9). There is a “new heaven and a new earth” (Rev. 21:1) and a “new Jerusalem” (21:2). To top it off, it doesn’t get any newer than this when we read, “He who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’” Eventually, it’s all new!
So start practicing now. Stop trying to retread your old life. Recognize that as Paul wrote in Romans, we have been buried in Christ and raised in Him so that we, “might walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4). Don’t patch the old inner tube. Don’t put new wine in an old wineskin. He has made “all things new.” Thank Him for it! Live like it!
“But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.” —HEBREWS 8:6