When I bought my house years ago I thought it would be pretty cool to put in a pool but there was one problem…money. After closing costs and all the other expenses that just seem to keep coming, the budget was not there for a pool, at least not one that a professional would install. I am a get-it-done kind of guy so I said to myself “how hard can it be to do it myself?” Sounds funny now but it really made sense then. So I did put in a huge in-ground 25,000 gallon pool. It was a kit with a liner so we aren’t talking about pouring huge amounts of concrete and all that. Still I had to dig the hole to receive 25,000 gallons of water. That is a big hole. I actually turned a few shovel fulls out by hand and I realized that the shovel-human option was not good. Then I rented a bobcat. It is a little front loader that gets around pretty good but only carries about 2 yards of dirt. It took 3 days, 12 hours a day to dig 80% of the hole. The rest was with shovel and wheelbarrow. Ouch! Towards the end of construction I decided that would be cool to put lava rock around the pool so I took my little trailer up to the lava rock quarry (we have them around here) and got a ton of lava rock. When I got there this guy pulls up in the biggest front loader I have ever seen. The bucket on this monster could have scooped up my entire F250 truck! I thought “I could have dug that hole for the pool in 3 scoops.” Maybe that is an exaggeration but I think you get the point. Shovel, bobcat…monster front loader. My perspective was radically altered as I endeavored to do a task that was beyond my comprehension. I really thought that digging a hole for a pool would be easy, right? Look I know everything there is to know about a shovel!
Today God was showing me some stuff about wine skins. Our thinking is like wine skins. When we move from law thinking to Grace thinking we are trying to dig the pacific ocean with a shovel. It doesn’t work. Only the monster front-loader equivalent, the Holy Spirit can possibly change our thinking enough to get a tiny glimpse of Grace. I know that most of us think we already understand Grace, but I want to challenge you. I don’t believe you can possibly understand Grace fully, ever. That is why we have eternity. Still so many want to put a bunch of Grace understanding into their law wine skins and there is a big mess when it breaks. God is very patient with us. As a matter of fact, when we surrender to His thinking, when we stop feeling the overwhelming urge to control everything, when we trust Him completely, then He can change our wine skins. It is absolutely necessary to have one of those infinitely expandable, ever flexible, completely resilient wine skins to carry even a tiny fraction of His Grace. Still that is what we need to operate as Jesus did.
Grace is what power looks like in action. It is the posture of God towards man. Grace is God’s default mode. It is the way God deals with man when man believes. When man doesn’t believe in Grace or accept Grace, God’s dealings with man appear out of character. God’s voice is Grace. When we can’t hear Grace or refuse to hear Grace we hear a distorted voice. God’s purest form is Grace. He talks about this misunderstanding issue as wine skins. When our wine skin is old or specifically designed for a law relationship, then Grace will break our wine skin. We have to be willing, believing and trusting to let God change our wine skin through revelation and intimacy. We have to learn to trust God and experience His love for us before the new wine, the new provision, the new out pouring of the Spirit is possible. If it comes too early and is received by law-skins it will break, burst, not bear the power and love of God. Then it is just one big mess. God is so good and loves us so much that we can seek his power, His fire, His baptism in the Spirit and he will provide. But if it is put into old wine skins they are going to break.
Something happens when we can see His mercy, His desire to justify the ungodly as our righteousness, as His heart towards us. Our wine skins are being renewed.
Rom 4:4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness (ESV)
Rom 4:20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”(ESV)
Jesus on a cross is what it looks like when Grace becomes a man and is the evidence of things not seen. Jesus on a cross is the realized image of the hope for a savior. Jesus on a cross is our faith. But that faith points to and trusts in a God whose nature it is to save. The cross is not the totality of truth but embodies the truth, held the truth. Much like the mystery of Jesus fully man and God. When you receive a Grace revelation through trust and in love, you see that Jesus is what it looks like when God becomes a man. His nature manifest on the planet is His nature in heaven. His relationship with man on dirt is His relationship with man in the Spirit. One is a shadow of another. The cross is a shadow of a saving God.
Of course I absolutely understand the need for the cross. Without the cross God’s integrity comes into question. The cross crushes any doubt about God’s purpose and justice. All was paid. All was accounted for. Nothing was missed. Can you see that the cross points to a God that would go that far? The cross is the insertion of an infinitely good and loving God into our reality. Still our law skins and limited thinking can make the cross nothing more than a law deed. A perfect sacrifice was required so one was supplied. Some people call that Grace. But we see a greater truth. To see that truth, to step into a revelation of a good God requires total surrender of your thinking.
Your thinking in your human mind cannot find these truths by research, and analysis and study. It can only come through the Holy Spirit. This is the transformation. This is the renewing of your mind. This is the new wine skin you have been waiting for. Grace received in power and divine magnitude requires a Grace vessel. A living sacrifice is all it takes for transformation. When we let go and die to ourselves, when we give up our insistence to understand and reasoning things based on our supposed reality, God can change us. We can see Grace. We can agree with His heart, his nature. We get transformed. We get drenched with mercy. We become a monster front loader of huge proportion. We become new wine skins. Then watch out. Here comes the fire of love in power poured out into a vessel that is prepared for the adventure!