“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
In Winnipeg, the Pony Corral restaurant is known for its clientele of vintage car enthusiasts. Throughout the summer, vintage car owners flood the lot with their restored treasures. The entire area is bustling with interest and activity. Some silently admire the assemblage of interesting vehicles. Others are asking or answering questions about their cars. The atmosphere is a unique blend of interest, pride, fascination, and appreciation. The cars themselves, and many of their histories, can be a reminder of important spiritual realities. Two thoughts come to mind in this connection. First, most of the vintage vehicles are exactly what they appear to be. A rugged-looking truck, for instance, is in fact a rugged truck. Made of metal and designed to work, these heavy juggernauts are exactly what they appear to be. This is very unlike today’s plastic, virtually disposable vehicles. Like movie props, their rugged and tough appearance is a facade; they are as brittle as any other vehicle on the road. This reminds me of the Pharisees who looked good on the outside but inwardly were wicked. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees,” was the Lord’s stern rebuke, “hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Matthew 23:27-28). The Christian is called to avoid engaging in this kind of deception. Rather, we are to strive to follow the example of Nathaniel, an Israelite in whom there was no deceit (John 1:47). Secondly, many of the cars had fallen into a state of ruin and disrepair before being rescued and restored. This of course is similar to our own redemptive histories. To one extent or other, sin had ruined our lives. Our hearts were deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9) our minds and affections were corrupt (Colossians 1:21). Even our bodies suffered the devastating effects of Adam’s sin (Romans 5:12-14; 8:20-22). In the fullness of time, however, God in the Person of His Beloved Son visited and rescued His fallen image-bearers (Galatians 4:4; 2 Timothy 3:16). In Christ we are new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17); in Him we are complete (Colossians 2:10). The Holy Spirit now dwells in His people, the guarantee of future glorification (Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:23). Like the vehicles displayed by their proud owners, which look better than showroom condition, we will one day appear to be more than redeemed. We will appear glorified, fashioned like into the divine Savior Who loved us first (Philippians 3:20-21; 1 John 4:19). This is amazing grace upon grace! May these words comfort and encourage you today.