The 1949 Cadillac

by | May 27, 1997 | Justification, Salvation, Sanctification

When I was a child, my mother had a coffee table that she loved. Over time it became discolored and scratched, and one day it disappeared from the house. It had not been discarded, for my mother knew that under all the scratches and stains was some lovely wood that could be restored with proper supervision. She had taken it to a skilled worker who stripped it, buffed out the nicks and scars and then refinished it. When they brought that table back into the house, it was more beautiful than it had ever been. It had been totally cleansed and restored. That is what God does in the New Covenant – by Christ’s blood.

I had a mentor who enjoyed restoring old cars. Once, when he had gotten a 1949 Cadillac, his wife, his daughter and I looked at it together. We all agreed that it was “nothing but a wreck.” The man wasn’t discouraged by our assessment of his purchase. “Just wait until I get done with it, he said. “You’ll see.”

Over the next several months this man worked many hours on his car. He ordered the exact cashmere fabric that had been on the original seats. He replaced the windshield. He found original tires. He tore the engine apart and completely rebuilt it. He had to wait weeks, and even months, for some of the parts he had ordered; but gradually he rebuilt, resurfaced and refinished the whole car. Finally, he had it repainted in its original color.

One day he said to me, “Tim, come here. I want to show you something.” I walked with him out to where the car was parked, and I could sense his excitement. He had every reason to feel proud of his accomplishments, for that car sat there gleaming in the sunlight, looking very much like a brand new vehicle. As I looked it over, I could barely believe that it was the same car. He had done an amazing job of restoration, and the finished product was a beautiful sight to behold. That man had a choice. He could have taken a tarp and covered that old, badly worn car to hide its ugliness. But he chose, instead, to see its value and to do the long and arduous task of cleansing and restoration. Something that had become very ugly with time had now been restored to its original glory.

God saw you in your broken-down, ruined condition, and He reached out to you. Only He could picture the beauty that might be made of your life. He gathered you to Himself, and with a single drop of His blood made you a born-again one, a restored model. You are not an old, scarred table or a broken-down jalopy. You are not under anyone’s curse. No devils can inhabit you, for now you are a new creature in Christ Jesus. “Old things are passed away, ” and “all things are become new.” If we believe the blood does anything less than this, we insult God.

Bagwell, Tim. When I See the Blood. Hagerstown: McDougal Publishing, 1998, p. 123-125.


The 1949 Cadillac