The Parable of the New Cloth Made Simple – Matthew 9:16 |

For years the meaning of this parable escaped me and yet now I know what it means. In this teaching we look at the Old and the New Covenant.Jesus said in Matthew 9:16:”No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse.”Okay, now Jesus said this parable in context. The context of what he said in this parable is related to what was happening just before this parable. So we’ll read that.”Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.”The disciples of John and the Pharisees operated their lives based on what was taught and what was given in the Old Testament law. The Pharisees and the scribes had a list of things that a person had to do with their life. Part of it was the law, but part of it was their interpretations of the law and rules and regulations that you needed to put in place in order to obey the law. Part of that law, part of their traditions, was one day a week, or one or two days a week, or quite often, they used to fast.They used to go without food, in some sort of spiritual honor, an act of worship to God. But a lot of the Pharisees, a lot of the people doing that, it had become a tradition to them. It didn’t have its sustenance. It didn’t have its life. It wasn’t rooted in the fact that they glorified God anymore. It was rooted in themselves thinking that they were important.They thought that what they did, having a day without food, was something to be honored by other men, something to be respected by other men. This was true. The Pharisees were fasting out of wrong motives. They were fasting out of a sense of trying to feel important, trying to feel worthy and religious and better than other people. This was illustrated when Jesus said to the Pharisees or to the people, “When you fast, make sure you wash your face, and put oil in your face and look nice and fresh and in a good state of mind and in a good state physically. Don’t go around, moping around, looking tired and with an unwashed face and not looking vibrant as you would with nice cream on your face or oil on your face shining as you would. Make sure that people, who are going about their daily business, don’t look at you and say, “Oh, he must be fasting because he looks so worn out. He looks so torn and broken. He seems to be suffering so much.” Jesus said, “If you fast, it’s a private thing between you and God. So therefore make sure that you dress appropriately and you make your face up and you make yourself look fresh so that no one, besides God the Father, knows that you’re fasting.”So there was a tradition in the fast. John’s disciples used to fast with John, even though they were with one of the greatest saints in the Old Testament. Jesus said John the Baptist was the greatest of all the saints that had come before him. Even though they were the disciples of John, John was still practicing the law and saw good things in fasting. So Jesus answered them that way. He said that he was the bridegroom, which I’m sure most people didn’t understand that Jesus was going to marry the whole world. I’m sure they didn’t understand. And if they did understand, I don’t know how they could’ve understood. But then he said, when he is taken away, when he goes, then the people will return to fasting. So Jesus isn’t saying that fasting will pass away. But he is alluding to fasting will be done in a different way, with a different attitude.So that’s what leads us on to what he says here about the cloth. “No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse.”First of all, if we look at this parable, we’ve got to see that there’s a tear on the old garment. The garment is called ‘old’ it’s not called ‘a garment’. Now, these are clues. Jesus leaves clues in things. First of all, the old garment represents the Old Testament law, the old law, the Old Testament, the old covenant, the agreement that God had with his people of the things that He would do and the things that they would do and the agreement that they had before Jesus Christ came to earth, preached the gospel and died on the cross. When Jesus had died on the cross and had been resurrected into a new life in heaven then the New Testament covenant took place, the Covenant of Grace took place. And the world changed. The apostle Paul wrote about these changes.The old garment seems to have a tear in it. In other words, normal people don’t go around with dresses or garments or clothes with big gaping holes in them. I know that it’s a trendy thing to wear jeans with holes in them. That’s a fashion statement these days. But normal people don’t wear a dress or a garment with a hole in it. This is a representation in Jesus’ parable here of what the old law was. The old law, the rules were perfect. It’s just that no one can live up to the rules. No one can fully obey the Ten Commandments and other commandments in the Old Testament law. It’s impossible to fulfill the law. And every time you break one of the conditions of the law, in the book of James, it says that you break all of the commandments of the law.Going around in life trying to fulfill the law of God, with the law of God on your mind all the time, will tear you to pieces. It will make you a broken person. You’ll live with guilt and condemnation and shame all the days of your life. You’ll go from happy to sad, happy to sad, and it all will depend on every time you do something wrong.The whole world suffers and groans with the effects that sin has on people. And we’re not to blame for our sin. Our sin came from Adam. The first sin ever done in the world was done by Adam, the Scripture said. And that sin disease, passed on through genetics, passed on through the genes of your parents to you. The sin of Adam passes on through every generation as a disease. And this disease, the effects of this disease is borne out in earthquakes, in diseases, in famines, and sicknesses, and calamities, and bad behaviors, and the people starving in the world. All the suffering of the world comes from the fact that Adam sinned.Now, God didn’t want it to be that way all the time. So he brought his Son. His Son died on the cross for all of my sins. All of the sins I’ve ever done, Jesus died for. And He just didn’t die so that I would become a Christian and be told that I’m forgiven for all the sins I’ve done up until that point. Jesus died so that I know for certain that all my sins that I’ve ever done had been forgiven. The sins I did yesterday. The sins I did the day before. All of the sins including even the sins that I’m going to do tomorrow. The times I’m going to fall short next week. All of them have been forgiven and forgotten by God already.Now that’s a hard concept to believe. But the average Christian, the average church, teaches that a person has all their sins forgiven at salvation. They’ve got to do good works and keep themselves holy in order to be forgiven from that time on. And that’s a lie. Jesus says if you’re going to get the New Covenant, if you’re going to get a patch, if you’re going to put a piece of new material, an unshrunk cloth, the New Covenant, if you’re going to get the New Covenant and try and mix it with the old covenant, it will make the tear worse.What is he saying there? He’s saying this is a practical application for you. He’s saying if you believe that Jesus died on the cross for you, you’ve got to also come under the teaching of Andrew Wommack on this subject and understand that you’re forgiven today. You’re forgiven for every sin. You’re sins have been forgotten. You’re loved. And you’ve got to understand the righteousness of Christ in God. And that God sees you as holy. When you understand that God sees you as holy, you’ve got to stop trying to obey the law and live up to a set of rules like going to church each week, like tithing, like reading your Bible, like praying.Jesus doesn’t want you coming to him praying because there’s a sense of religion in you that you have to pray to be holy. Jesus doesn’t want you reading your Bible because you’ve got to read your bible because the pastor says to. Jesus doesn’t want you reading your Bible so that you might feel more holy. If you try and mix the New Covenant grace with the Old Covenant law, you’d get a worse tear in your life. If you’re trying to be a Christian and still trying to obey Jesus in everything you do and you have a mindset of the law, you’ll have this big burden of shame on yourself and guilt on yourself and you’ll be walking around thinking that you’ll never measure up. That God doesn’t love you; that you’re not worthy to go to heaven.Why do I say this? It’s because I felt this. I’ve felt this. Why am I saying all of this? Because I want you to be set free. I want you to understand that you cannot live with a set of rules, religious rules, in your Christian life. When you open your Bible, it’s because you want to meet with God for no other reason. God doesn’t want you opening your Bible for no other reason. He’d prefer that you don’t read your Bible for a year than be opening up your Bible with some sense of religion that you’ve got to do it to be a good Christian. God would prefer that you don’t go to church for a year than to go to church because you feel pressured into going to church and that would make you a good Christian. He doesn’t want you practicing a set of rules and following a set of rules.I’m not saying here that Jesus wants you to disobey the law and disobey the rules of God. I’m saying here, though, if you live in freedom and liberty, if you live with the understanding that you’re forgiven, and your righteous and you’re already holy, if you understand that there’s nothing you need to do to be accepted, that God loves you fully for who you are, if you understand that you’re forgiven and righteous and God sees you as holy and beautiful right now right in the midst of your sin, if you understand these things, you’ll do things because you love God and for no other reason. You’ll do things to draw closer to God and for no other reason. But if you try and mix a set of rules with the New Covenant gospel of grace, you’re going to end up with a big tear in your life. And that is what this parable means. I commend you to check out the teachings of Andrew Wommack. Whose website is listed at the back of this book. He has absolutely revolutionized my life.