Religious Patch Job – And The Rent Is Made Worse

Matthew 7:14 – Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?

Matthew 7:15 – And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.

Matthew 7:16 – No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse.

Matthew 7:17 – Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.

Hello readers, I noticed something in Matthew 7 I had never seen before this week. And it’s one of the most profound things I’ve noticed this year. I thank God for showing it to me, because he just opened my eyes up to this. I’d read it before, and skimmed straight past it, I’d never really chewed on and digested this, and I definitely had not realized the magnitude of what Jesus was teaching here.

I’d never understood why Jesus Christ answered the disciples of John this way. You know how sometimes you read how Jesus responded to people and you’re like “huh?” Like, yeah awesome, but how is that answering the question? But Jesus Christ answered this question more completely than they probably realized at the time, and than we may realize even now.

These verses teach us about salvation is. And they also teach us about what salvation is not. And primarily from the Bible today we want to see and reflect on the fact that Biblical salvation is NOT a religious patch job. Today I want to ask from God’s word… is your religion just a patch up job on an old tattered garment of self righteousness… or have you been born again? Please don’t go to hell religious and professing Christ, yet having never truly received the righteousness of God which is by faith.

Today, realize that you will never be good enough to be saved or maintain being saved or justify being saved. And stop pretending to be something you’re not, stop trying to be a Christian and just “be” it. Because you will be it if you really are. And you’re just a hypocrite trying to be something you’re not if you’re not. Remember, Jesus came to set us free from trying to be something, so we could just be it, because we are it through him. “As he is, so are we in this world”.

At the outset, I’m going to say I’m really not sure I can do this justice. Writing my blogs I never think I can, and I definitely don’t here, but I will give it my best go. The context for these verses is that Jesus Christ’s ministry has begun and the disciples of John the Baptist come to him with a question about fasting, why aren’t your disciples fasting like we and Pharisees do? But why would Jesus’ disciples fast while Jesus is right there with them? Seems a bit stupid.

But then Jesus Christ goes on to talk about new cloth in an old garment and new wine in new bottles, because he was answering the question they didn’t ask, but he was giving them the answer they really needed to hear. He answered not just the question, but the mindset and thinking where such a question would come from.

And think about this. Why were they disciples of John? Weren’t the disciples of John meant to become the disciples of Christ? Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world! John didn’t die for anyone’s sins, nor could he saved them. So shouldn’t you start following who John the Baptist was pointing you to? As John said, He must increase, I must decrease. See, if you’re still following John after he’s done what he was sent to do in pointing you to who you should be following, then you’ve missed the whole point. Followers of John were meant to become followers of Christ… if that didn’t happen, then why didn’t you listen to whom you were following? So today, I want you to follow Jesus Christ, not me, and not any other man… follow Christ.

The first thing I want to show you from the Bible is that the garment is rent. Because Jesus said “and the rent is made worse”. Meaning it was already there, which is why you’re trying to fix it with a “patch”… but in patching it, you’ve made it even worse. Have you ever experienced the futility of patching an old piece of clothing which inevitably leads to the purchasing of a new garment altogether? And there is spiritual truth in here which is astounding. You don’t need a Christian patch job, you need new birth.

When something is “rent”, according to Webster’s 1828 dictionary it means something “torn apart, split or burst by violence, a fissure, schism, separation, breach”. You get the idea I’m sure. When Samson rent that lion in Judges 14 he literally tore the lion apart in pieces. But here in what Jesus is saying we are considering a rent in a garment. And there is a rent. There is a rent between you and God, dear reader. We all have that rent. And there is also a rent in your self righteousness. When you read the Bible, God literally rips up your and my self righteousness. That’s why people hate the Bible. Because God, before your eyes, shows you the ripped and tatty garment of self righteousness that you have clothed yourself in. And he’s saying, you need a new garment altogether. “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags”… all we’ve got is tattered, ripped, old, inadequate clothing. And if you’re not clothed before God, you’re in trouble with God.

You know, if clothing doesn’t clothe you properly, it’s not really clothing and you’re not really clothed. Clothing is be definition meant to clothe you. A garment that’s ripped cannot and does not clothe you properly. Maybe you’ve been wearing a cloth of self righteousness that has become an old favourite to you, but as you’ve gone along, that garment has worn out. But it doesn’t matter who you are and how good you think you are, every single one of us is wearing a garment that cannot clothe us properly. And now there’s a big rip in it, because the law of God convinces us of sin. Which of God’s commandments have we not broken? It’s amazing how the Jews thought of the commandments in what they kept, but really the law was to show them what they broke.

But maybe you’ve clothed yourself pretty well to date. Maybe you’re pretty impressed with your own emperor’s new clothes. And maybe when there’s been a little split, you’ve made a few mends and you’ve patched up that tatty garment with some good works… like fasting! Fasting is surely a nice little patch for that rent in the garment. Fasting is what John’s disciples came to Jesus Christ about, and let’s think about it. Fasting is perhaps the epitome of religious dedication. If you could describe religion in a word, it would be fasting… because fasting is self denial to please God. Fasting deprives your fleshly desire and urge to consume and satisfy that lust. Fasting yourself of food isn’t the only fast you can do, many people also may fast themselves of sex or drinking or drugs or whatever… to try and make themselves acceptable to God. But guess what… that doesn’t make you saved. See, even fasting, and it is a good practice, and something we should all do… it’s not our salvation, nor should be used as a patch on an old garment of a sinful and unsaved life.

See, it’s a good thing to stop sinning, but stopping sinning isn’t our salvation. Because a new cloth on a ripped garment is still ripped and will in fact rip even worse. How can getting more religious make the problem EVEN worse? Surely it would make it a teeny little bit better… surely? See that’s how we think. Adding a religious patch to your unsaved life makes your plight even worse… not better. What’s put in to “fill up” what’s not there only makes the whole thing worse. Jesus talked about the patch trying to “fill it up” because that’s what religion does, it tries filling up what is needing to be filled, but can’t be filled by anything or anyone but Jesus Christ, and his righteousness, which doesn’t get old, and has no rent, but rather clothes the man who is at the right hand of the Father right now, who ever liveth to make intercession for us.

But please let’s think about how much worse religious patch jobs on people really make people. They’re the same person, but they add religion to fill that hole, so they stop doing this or that and start behaving this way… and now they think they’re going to heaven and better than everyone. So their state is even worse. Someone who is lost as a Christian is much harder to save than someone who is lost without religious pretence. Guess why? Because they’re not pretending that it’s ok, they’re just living in sin. But how much worse when someone is lost and going to hell, but thinks they’ve patched and filled up that which was lacking?

You know what happens when you try and patch your sin with “being better” or “doing better” or “turning over a new leaf”? The rent gets worse. Because thinking you’re cool with God when you’re not is worse than thinking you’re not cool with God when you’re not. At least if you’re not right with God, don’t pretend or convince yourself otherwise. And so we all like to have our self righteous rag that we cover ourselves with and as time goes along it has patches that we’ve installed all over it, but God has not accepted it one bit. There’s holes everywhere. Make no mistake, without being clothed by the perfect righteousness of Christ, you will go to hell. You can fast all you want, you can follow religious people, you can patch this, bog that, fill in… but you’ll still be in trouble with God and going to hell.

So when you read the Bible, God rips up that garment of self righteousness that we have. And  if there’s one thing the Bible teaches us, it is that there is a rent between us and God. That rent started in the garden of Eden, and you and I were born into that. That rent is only fixed by Christ and his “seamless” righteousness. Get ready for an AMAZING detail in the Bible here! Guess what little detail we are told about Christ in his crucifixion that might not make much sense until now? The Bible says in the book of John that Jesus Christ’s coat was “was without seam, woven from the top throughout.” It was seamless! He is seamless! No repairs, no joins! It was a one piece, no patch in it, there was no joining of two separate materials  or fabrics together. If you don’t know what a seam is, a seam is where you join bits of fabric or something together. If you rip a garment, you may try sewing them together and that makes a seam. But Jesus Christ is seamless! And in all senses of the word, because seamless is a word used to describe perfection. Where do you think that comes from? And when will you understand that Christianity isn’t about trying to live like something and someone else when you’re not ? Christianity is meant to be lived in the Spirit, and can only be lived that way. Just be you because you’re you, and if you’re in the Spirit, that should be you.

Jesus did NOT come to give you a religious patch job. But most churches are religious patch up business on rotten old ripped garments. They don’t want to offend by saying you need a new garment… because hey, we like that old bit of clothing. We don’t want new, we want a fix on the old! But God doesn’t fix the old! If you have not repented of your sin and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ sincerely from the heart for not just “getting out of hell”, but salvation from sin….then there’s no new garment, and there’s no new life, and no real change inside. Jesus taught that our righteousness must EXCEED the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees. Guess what? Those fellas did religion with more dedication and zeal than all of us will, and yet they were children of the devil! So my Christianity is 100% about trusting in Christ and his righteousness, because I’ve got none, and I’m going to cast that tatty garment aside and follow him. Mark 10:50 “And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.” !!! If I do well, it’s because I want to, because I can because of Christ in me, not because I’m trying to qualify myself before God or be someone that I’m really not.

So to reiterate… patching a life of sin with good works is not salvation. I’ve come to realize that when people don’t get saved because they know they can’t live it, these people have more honesty than the average church goer. Because noone can’t live it.When you try to “live it” it just comes off as hypocrisy. We need Christ. His grace, his faithfulness, every second and every day. So many of us become Christian and try to “emulate” what we’re supposed to be, rather than just being that because that’s what we are. Emulation is a work of the flesh! It’s not the fruit of the Spirit.

But Jesus didn’t stop with the tatty garment! He then talked about new wine in new bottles. Go and read John 2 about the water turned into wine. That wine was not alcoholic, it was new wine, alcoholic wine is old wine. It’s ironic that people who obsess on Jesus turned the water into wine like it justifies them being a rummy with no witness in this world are those who have never experienced that new wine of Christ. Guess why? Because that new wine only goes into a new bottle. An old bottle for old wine… a new bottle for new wine. Have you ever heard the saying “he bottled it” or “he hasn’t got the bottle”? You know, our body is a vessel. It is a bottle. We can have treasure in that vessel, or the devil in our vessel. You’ve got something in you, the Holy Spirit, or an unclean spirit. Why do people behave unclean and speak unclean and do unclean? Because they have an unclean spirit. But the Holy Spirit produces… HOLINESS!

Without a new bottle, you can’t hold new wine. Notice how Jesus Christ deals  in “new”. Behold, I make all things new! Salvation is a NEW creature. And that new creature has that new wine of Christ. You will never be able to experience peace with God, true joy and happiness, salvation and blessing outside of being born again. Because only a new vessel can hold that new wine. New wine for new bottles, old wine for old bottles. My flesh is incapable of receiving the new wine. It prefers that old wine of this world, that is drunk on pleasure and sin and unclean filth. In my flesh dwelleth no good thing! There’s nothing good in there! And into a dirty vessel you don’t pour good wine, no, you put slop in a slop holder. Dog food goes in a dog bowl, remember that. If you’re feeding on dog food, it’s because you’re a dog. If you’ve received the wine of forgiveness of sins and eternal life that has no hangover, that is pure and clean and holy, full of joy and happiness, grace and mercy… it’s because you have a new bottle capable of receiving it.

By the way, if you don’t get saved. That’s on you. Just like that new wine bursts out of old bottles, you will miss all that you could have had in your unrepentant and truth rejecting state. Imagine seeing your own salvation on the floor, as it will be if you do not get saved. Imagine being hell having had so much love and grace poured out to you, and yet not being able to receive it! Because your flesh cannot and won’t receive it. Ye must be born again. Get saved today.

So to conclude, and I do hope this blog has been a blessing to you, you becoming better is not salvation, it is just a religious patch on an old garment. Religious patch up jobs, even really dedicated and sincere patch up jobs do not afford true righteousness. Yes you may wear it, but it does not clothe you. Something that can’t clothe you is not worth wearing. How can you wear it now, but the cap not fit at judgment? All religious patch up jobs do is produce fake righteousness which turns into hypocrisy, because you’re trying to be something you’re not. HINT: our flesh hates God and loves sin. Always has, always will. Stop trying to make it be what it is not! The more you patch, the worse the rent becomes. Remember that. Churches are making the rent worse, rather than reconciliation to God. Churches go so wrong, because they “disciple” but they can’t make someone new. Because only Jesus Christ can make someone new. I thought of John 3, ye must be born again.. and how Jesus likened the new birth to the wind blowing. Let the Holy Spirit work, let him blow through and save who he will. God ponders the hearts of men. Christianity is not patch up, it is conversion. Let God work. Pray for him to move. Reminder: Patching your flesh with some good works doesn’t make your flesh any less flesh, and it doesn’t make your separation with God any less separate.

I hope that this passage of scripture can mean as much to you as it does to me. God’s word keeps on giving, it is a gold mine for the child of God. Clothe yourself in Christ’s righteousness, throw away your own. If you’re not saved, ask him to save you, don’t try patching up and mending the rent that you’ll only make worse with your own efforts. Don’t bother with a patch up, be born again, and start new in Jesus Christ today, and enjoy the new wine from the true vine in your life today.


Joseph View All →

Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 30 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – :)

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