What comes to mind when you think of the word “classic”? Classic movies? Classic books? Classic music? For me, it is classic cars. If I had a lot of money, I would love to spend some of it restoring classic cars. I’m talking cars from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s – classics like a 55 Thunderbird, 63 Corvette Stingray, 65 Mustang, 67 Camaro, 69 Charger, 70 Challenger, 71 Barracuda, 72 Chevelle SS – the list could go on and on. Cars like these, that sold for a few thousand dollars when new, now sell for tens of thousands of dollars when restored.
The unique truth about cars from this era is they were classics from the beginning. If you owned a 1963 Corvette Stingray or a 71 Barracuda when they were new, you knew you owned a car that was a classic. If you own those same cars in restored, mint condition right now, you know without a doubt that you own a classic. How could these cars have been classics when they were new and still considered classics now?
The definition of classic will help us answer to that question. Used as a noun, the word classic means a creation of highest excellence. This definition explains why these cars were considered classics when they were new: they were high quality, performance cars the day they were built.
But the definition you probably hear more commonly for classic is “judged over a period of time to be of highest quality, of lasting significance or value, outstanding of its kind.” This definition, an adjective, explains how these older cars are considered classics now. They have stood the test of time both in quality and value. They truly are outstanding of their kind and of their era.
What does all this mean for us as believers? Well, I’ll just say it – we are classics! If you have trusted Jesus Christ to be your Savior, if you have placed your faith and belief in Him – you are a classic – because you are a new creation, a new creation of the highest excellence.
It doesn’t matter if you just got saved this morning, or you have been saved for 60 years, you are a new creation. Jesus Christ has made you a new creation of the highest excellence and you are a classic. But that doesn’t mean we sit on our hands and decide, “Hey, I’m already a classic so what else is there to the Christian life?” If you own a classic car, one of the most important things you can do is maintain it properly and take good care of it.
That’s true of you and me as believers as well. Jesus did everything necessary for us to spend forever in heaven with Him, but the Christian life is lived right now where God has placed each one of us. And one of the most important things we can do is maintain a close relationship with Him. Jesus established it and secured it through His Spirit, but there are still things we can do to maintain our relationship with Him, not because we have to, but because we want to have that close intimate fellowship with our Lord. For example, the more we learn about who God is and what He has done for us, the closer we will be to Him.
Paul’s desire was to know the Lord and Him only; that is why he had such intimate fellowship with Jesus. Similarly, 2 Peter 3:18 encourages us to grow in that same intimate knowledge and grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. There are many ways we can grow in our relationship with God. Here are just a few ideas:
1. We can talk to Him.
Ephesians 6:18 – Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.
2. We can listen to Him.
John 10:16 – And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
3. We can be obedient to His leading.
Matthew 22:37-39 – Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
4. We can spend time with other believers to edify and uplift them.
Hebrews 10:24-25 – And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
As we come to understand more and more about our Lord, we will have the desire to maintain our close relationship with Him by praying consistently, by listening to His word, by loving Him, by loving others, and by spend time loving on and encouraging each other. All because Jesus has made us classics by making us new creations.
But we still have the more common definition of classic to consider. As we mentioned, defining classic as an adjective means “judged over a period of time to be of highest quality, of lasting significance or value, outstanding of its kind.” To me, this defines many older saints who have spent many years serving our Lord and growing in the grace and knowledge of Him.
This is one of the incredible truths about the Christian life: the more we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the older we get as believers, the more the word “classic” defines us. For instance, my wife’s grandmother was truly a classic. She listened to God through His word so much that she wore out Bibles, she had lists and lists of people that she prayed for daily, and she without a doubt loved God and loved others. And do you know what? She could hardly leave the house and was pretty much stuck in her chair all day – but oh, what a classic!
The Bible has much to say about honoring the older generation, but I believe being defined as a classic is the true honor for senior saints. The way you see many elderly saints living significant, high quality, outstanding Christian lives, reveals the true definition of a classic.
Paul reminds us in Colossians 3:12-17 of several traits that define classic Christians:
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
These verses define classic believers in general and they define many senior saints I know. I would venture to guess they define many you know as well.
Each believer becomes a classic, a new creation, the moment we place their faith and belief in Jesus. As classic believers, we then desire to know God more intimately through prayer, listening to His voice, loving Him, loving others, and encouraging His people.
And as we age, many of us continue to live outstanding, significant, high quality, Christian lives to the honor and glory of our great God – because we are true classics!