I think the Parable of the Cloak and Wineskins is dealing with the topic we discussed here:Ben C. Smith wrote: ↑Tue Apr 20, 2021 5:28 pm The image of removing old garments and putting on new ones makes a lot of sense to me as a metaphor for the spiritual transformation which is supposed to happen at baptism. The image of not using a new patch on an old garment does not strike me in quite the same way; a new garment is not even mentioned. How do you think the image is supposed to work?
The three passages from the Pauline corpus (Gal. 2.19-20, Rom. 6.1-10, Col. 3.5-10) I quoted in the OP are about how baptism and reception of the holy spirit are supposed to work. The man undergoes a spiritual (I think the secular equivalent would be ‘moral’) transformation in baptism, becoming a new man and having the holy spirit dwell in him. Paul is, in a way, a bad example, because he doesn’t seem to think there was anything morally wrong with him even before he became a new man, but that is how baptism is supposed to work for Christians in general. The passage from Colossians is hortatory, urging Christians to act in a particular way, but not necessarily implying that they will act that way.
In 1 Corinthians, Paul also urges the baptized Corinthians to behave in a way that is consistent with their new, washed selves, and not with their old selves:
Not everyone, however, behaves as Paul would wish, such as the man or men who are having sex with prostitutes even though they have the holy spirit living inside them:
The act of fornication is not only sinful in itself, but they are bringing the holy spirit into contact with prostitutes.
Even worse is the man who is having sex with his stepmother. In that case, the man is not just called to repent, but he is un-churched and, I would argue, un-baptized. The Corinthian church is to reclaim the holy spirit that the man received in baptism (‘so that the spirit may be saved’) and expel the man from their community:
If this is not done it will harm the entire community through contagion:
On my reading of the Parable of the Cloak and Wineskins, it is dealing with the issue of the Christian who fails to undergo spiritual transformation and become a new man in baptism. He receives the holy spirit, but continues to act as the ‘old man’ rather than the ‘new man’. He is a poor match for the holy spirit within him, and this means both that he may harm himself by committing an even greater sin and that the spirit (or his portion of it) might be jeopardized or lost:
The parable is saying that baptism is only effective if the person undergoing it undergoes a spiritual transformation and becomes a new man. Putting the spirit in the old man, the same old sinful self, is asking for trouble.