You Cannot Put New Wine into Old Wineskins–Holy Spirit Only Goes into a New Heart

Many followers of Christ lightly throw around the idea of “getting the Holy Spirit.”  We are talking about the very essence of God here and who He is, and they are wanting “It” right now–even making a spectacle of themselves, splayed out in front of the whole church house, with some preacher “slaying them in the Spirit” with a magical slap of his hand on their forehead.

Do they really think that God can be manufactured like that with a few tawdry carnival tricks?  Besides, pagan societies have been “slaying in the spirit” for thousands of years in their heathen rites.  The anthropologist Sir James Frazer lines it all out in his classic 1922 volume The Golden Bough, one of the Great Books of the Western World (

People are wanting the Spirit of God, however, and that is a good thing.  But “you cannot put new wine into old wineskins.”  This is the crux of a parable that Christ was teaching.  And we must remember that a parable reveals “a mystery kept secret from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 13: 10-11).

The “new wine into old wineskins” parable is found in Luke 5: 36-39:

“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” (NKJV).

The mystery revealed here is that the new wine is the Holy Spirit of God that He desires to place within us.  But first the old wineskin, which is the old heart or old Adamic nature that we are born with–it must be replaced with a new heart, a new nature.  This new heart is the new wineskin.

People must realize that God will not  place His Spirit into an old heart.  Through the prophet Ezekiel, God promised us a new heart:  “Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit…I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you” (18: 31; 36: 26).  Notice that before He gives us a new heart, we must first get rid of all our transgressions.  This means the new heart will come only after a full and final repentance from sin.

This repentance from sin is done at the cross.  We  must experience the cross in a spiritual way in our own hearts.  We must deliberately place our old sinful self on the cross with Christ, acknowledging that this is the only way that God has provided for us to rid ourselves of the sin “that so easily besets us.”  We are immersed into His death, for our sins were placed upon Him as the Sin Sacrifice for us, and when He died, our sins died.  And when He arose from the dead, we arose with Him.  This all, of course, is done by faith in His resurrection.  This is when He grants our new heart (

It is ironic that this cross experience is the first thing out of the mouth of Christ and His apostles, and it is never taught in the churches.  Oh, the preachers will mention the cross and how He suffered, but they will never encourage their flock to identify with the Sin Sacrifice and give up their lives of sin.  Christ came preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  His apostles taught the same thing (Romans 6: 6; Hebrews 6: 1; Rev 2: 5, just to name a few).

Getting rid of the old heart through the cross experience is essential in putting to death the old heart, which is the old wineskin.  It must go, once and for all time, never to be resurrected again.

Expounding on this experience is “the preaching of the cross,” which is the power of God (I Cor. 1: 18).  But teaching a man that he has to die is not a welcomed message.

But that is exactly what the early apostles taught.  Some would call this teaching absolute “foolishness.”  You can’t just go up to some unsuspecting person and tell them that their old spirit and way of doing things has to die.  That is foolishness, they would say.  But “it pleased God that by the foolishness of preaching [the cross experience] to save them that believe (1: 20).

Paul went on to say that he preached “Christ crucified,” which is “the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1: 23).

The power of God?  The power of God for what–to do what?  The power from God to grow!  To grow up into His sons and daughters.  “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to becoome the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1: 12).

First, we have to receive Him, His Spirit.  But He will not give us His Spirit to co-exist in the old wineskin of the old sinful heart.  It first must die on the cross with Christ.  Then we can receive His Spirit, and then He will give us the power to become the sons of God.

Paul continually taught this (Col. 2: 12-13).  He knew that this was the key to unlock future growth in His Spirit.

So, what happened to the great start 2, 000 years ago?  Satan, of course, knows the plan and began right away to insure that Christ’s followers believe the lie that God is not able to change them from sinners to saints.  And through this deception, many cannot grow spiritually, for they cannot receive Him and then receive power to be His children.

No wonder Christ said, “O ye of little faith.”  Is anything too hard for Him that created billions of galaxies?  That’s galaxies–not stars!

Kenneth Wayne Hancock

{One other thought: The new wineskin will in its ultimate fulfillment be our new spiritual bodies promised us upon Christ’s return (I Cor. 15: 42-55) }


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Filed under crucified with Christ, death of self, eternal purpose, old self, resurrection, sons and daughters of God

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