Found, Forgiven Free
The miracle of turning water into wine is described in John 2:11 as "the first of His signs."
The word, "sign", is the word which is normally used in the Gospel of John to describe the miracles of Jesus. It is a word which stresses the spiritual significance of Christ's miracles.
As we read the miracle-stories, we must learn to look for what they teach us concerning salvation in Jesus Christ.
John describes Jesus' signs with a view to leading us to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ: "these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ: "these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His Name" (John 20:31).
When we read the story of the turning of water into wine, we must seek to learn what God is teaching us concerning the new wine of the Spirit.
The contrast between water and wine speaks to us of the contrast between what we were before Christ came into our lives and what we have become through the love and power of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Think of what you were before coming to Christ. Think of what Christ has done for you and give all the glory to Him.
Before coming to the Saviour, we were lost. In Him, we have been found. Before trusting the Lord Jesus, we were guilty. In Him, we are forgiven. Before coming to the Lord, we were in bondage to sin. In Him, we are free.
This is the new wine of the Spirit - found, forgiven and free.
In Christ, we are found.
Sometimes, we hear people saying, "I've really found myself." This is not, however, the testimony of the Christian. The believer does not say, "I've found myself." Our testimony is this: "I've found the Lord."
There is a sense in which we've found ourselves. We've found the meaning and purpose of our lives. Nevertheless, it must be emphasized that the meaning and purpose of our life is found in Christ.
When we think more deeply about our experience of finding the Lord, it is not so much that we have found Him. He has found us.
The water did not turn itself into wine. Jesus turned the water into wine.
This is how it is with salvation. This is how it is with the new wine of the Spirit. We do not turn ourselves into Christians. It is the Lord who performs a miracle in our hearts - the miracle of the new birth.
Until Jesus performed this miracle, the water remained water. It would never be anything other than water. When Jesus performed this miracle, the water became wine.
This is how it is with the new birth, the new wine of the Spirit.
By ourselves, we are guilty sinners, suffering from a sickness which is, humanly speaking, incurable. This sickness, the Bible calls sin. It is a terminal illness. there is no way of recovering from it, unless the Lord performs a miracle of His grace. We cannot cure ourselves. We can only be cured by the love and power of the Lord.
Without Christ, we have no hope.. The truth concerning our life without Christ is this: "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).
Once the Lord has found us, a new story of our life has been written: "the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).
When the Lord Jesus Christ celebrated the Last Supper with His disciples, He said to them, "I tell you I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that Day when I drink it with you in my Father's Kingdom" (Matthew 26:29).
The new wine of the Spirit is not merely something which belongs to this earthly world. It is the beginning of a heavenly life, which we will share with the Lord forever in His eternal Kingdom.
Those who have been found by the Lord Jesus Christ shall never again be lost. Jesus says, "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of My hand" (John 10:28).
Found by the Lord, we are also forgiven by Him. You cannot forgive yourself. You have to be forgiven by someone else.
When you sin against someone else - a husband, wife, brother, sister, friend, neighbour - you cannot simply say, "I forgive myself." You need to be forgiven by the person you've sinned against. You cannot givr forgiveness to yourself. You can only receive it as a gift.
It is the same with God's forgiveness. We have sinned against God. We need to be forgiven by God.
Forgiveness is an essential part of what we may call the new wine of the Spirit.
When, at the Last Supper, Jesus gave His disciples wine to drink, He said to them, "this is My blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins" (Matthew 26:28).
The water could only be turned to wine by Jesus. Our sins can only be forgiven by Jesus
Jesus turned the water into wine. Jesus turns guilty sinners into forgiven sinners.
This is the new wine of the Spirit.
In Christ, we are found. In Christ, we are forgiven. In Christ, we are free.
The freedom which we have received in Christ is not a freedom to do as we please.
- We are set free for obedience, set free to obey the Lord in a way that we could never do before.
- We are set free for service, set free to serve the Lord in a way that we have never served him before.
Christian freedom is like the freedom of the prisoner of war. We are no longer defeated, captive and taken out of the battle. We are now free to fight for the Lord, to fight in His strength and win victories for Him.
In the story of the turning of water into wine, we read of water being turned into a strong drink.
When we receive the new wine of the Spirit, we receive strength, strength to live for Jesus. We are able to live for Him in a way that we could not do before we came to Christ.
The contrast between the old life and the new life is highlighted in Ephesians 5:18, where the Apostle Paul writes, "do not get drunk with wine ... but be filled with the Spirit."
The world's way is the way of getting drunk with wine. It is the way of "debauchery."
The Lord's way is the way of the new wine of the Spirit.
The contrast between being filled with the world's wine and being filled with the new wine of the Spirit is both encouraging and challenging.
- We are encouraged. We have not received the spirit of 'Johnnie Walker' (or 'Jack Daniels'). We have received the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
- We are challenged. We are not to be filled with the spirit of 'Johnnie Walker' (or 'Jack Daniels'). We are to be filled with the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
Being filled with the new wine of the Spirit may not be the world's idea of a 'good time.' It is the way to true happiness.
Found, forgiven and free - this is the Gospel's description of a Christian.
Are you a Christian? - found by Christ, forgiven by Christ, free in Christ.