A Trade You Will Love

March 2019
Jeremiah Krieger
Back in the summer of 2003, I found myself driving through Richmond, Virginia when I saw a sale sign for a car dealer. The green paint had faded on my 1997 Pontiac Bonneville and the clear coat was chipping away. The headliner inside the car had detached from summer heat and hung down so that it brushed against the top of my head when I drove. I wasn’t really looking for a new vehicle, and the one I had ran just fine. I had many memories in this car too. I knew I could justify driving it longer, but it was truly time to trade in ‘ol Betsy.
I really had no intention of actually purchasing a vehicle that day, but was open to the idea since I had passed my nursing boards and secured a stable job. After nearly 3 hours of bartering that afternoon, I left the car lot with a new dark blue Chevy Blazer 4×4. It was perfect for what I needed at the time. It was one of the most exciting purchases I had ever made. It symbolized a threshold of responsibility that I crossed.
As I drove off from the dealer that day, I only had the joy and excitement of owning a new vehicle. Never once did I look back and think to myself, “I wish I had that old vehicle with paint chipping off. I wish I could feel the headliner bumping against my head while I drove.” I was never concerned about the performance of the new vehicle either. It was a night and day difference. The transaction was a clear upgrade that was much needed. There was only confidence and joy to share my new purchase with others.
That kind of joy and confidence pales in comparison to what it must be like when followers of Jesus enter into eternity and are clothed in their eternal body. But it is a small picture of the transaction that takes place.
Often times we might find ourselves trying to ignore death or being fearful of it. We think about all the blessings of this world and the beauty we enjoy here. Even though life is as messy as it is and through the darkness we might experience here, we still treasure life and cannot imagine trading it in for something better.
If we understood the magnificence of what is on the other side in eternity we would joyfully anticipate what is coming in our future. We would have no fear when we know the future. But something to consider is this.
The Apostle Paul writes that what we know here is a shadow of the things to come (Col. 2:17). The author of Hebrews also reminds us that the earthly tabernacle is a shadow of the glory of what we will see in the heavenly tabernacle (Heb. 8:5, 10:1). In other words, the glory of this life is only a shadow of the reality of eternity.
Shadows are much less glorious than the objects that cast the shadow. The body we have here on earth is a shadow cast by the glorified bodies we will be clothed with in heaven. This week we will be studying Matthew’s account of the transfiguration of Christ. The disciples were able to witness Christ’s glorified body. Matthew reports at that moment when Jesus was with Peter, James and John on the mountain, Jesus, “was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light.”
The disciples literally were able to peak into the future and get a taste of what the glorified body of Jesus looked like! It was so remarkable that the disciples fell on their faces and were terrified.
While, it is difficult to imagine just how glorious our new bodies will be, we can have a joyful sense of anticipation as we await that moment we receive our new body in heaven. We can still enjoy the shadow of glory that we are clothed with in this life. But as we experience the evidence of living in the shadow (living in bodies that are under decay and fading away), we can have hope for the future. We will experience slower metabolism, aches, pains, and illnesses. We will see new wrinkles and thinning hairlines as we age. Yet, we can also be confident in those moments that we have something better that is waiting for us. Let’s not get too attached to the tent we live in today!
Back in 2003, I never thought twice about trading in that old Pontiac for a brand new Chevy Blazer 4×4. There wasn’t a day that I wished I had the old. The new was exceptionally beautiful and extremely reliable. How much more enjoyable and glorious it will be when Christ clothes us in the eternal glory of our new body.
The transfiguration of Christ is like a door that we get to peak behind to peer into the future so that we can be confident in what is on the other side. While we have no intention of trading in the blessings of this life and wish to get the most out of it, let’s remember that there is something better waiting for us. If you are enjoying your shadow in this life, just wait for what is prepared for you in heaven. It is going to be awesome. It will be a trade you will love!
Pastor Jeremiah