(a C. S. Lewis Metaphor)
Have you ever tried to explain to an unbeliever the concept that Christians are “new creations in Christ” as taught in Second Corinthians 5:17? A true Christian is not reformed, rehabilitated, reeducated, or reenergized to turn over a new leaf. He or she is redeemed!
In his classic book Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis uses a powerful metaphor of a winged horse.
“God became man to turn creatures into sons: not simply to produce better men of the old kind but to produce a new kind of man. It is not like teaching a horse to jump better and better, but like turning a horse into a winged creature. Of course, once it has got its wings, it will soar over fences which could never have been jumped and thus beat the natural horse at its own game.”¹
Believers have the ability—to soar over impossibly high fences with metaphorical wings—because we’ve been spiritually reborn. It happened at the moment we placed our trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior. Our nature then changed from that of a “natural” man or woman into a “spiritual” man or woman (see Eze. 36:26).
In Lewis’ metaphor, note that the “natural horse” turned into the winged creature instantly, not over a period of time. Likewise, the “natural man” turns into a new creation immediately upon expressing a heartfelt prayer to receive Jesus (see John 1:12). Miraculously, he then begins a relationship with God and is destined for heaven!
To cite another aspect of this redemption metaphor, the “natural horse” didn’t become the winged horse through any effort of his own. He didn’t need to be trained to jump higher or better to improve himself. Rather, his creator performed the entire recreative work.
Similarly, the “natural man” receives his brand-new nature through God’s work alone (see Tit. 3:5). It’s about God’s love and grace. Man can do absolutely nothing to contribute toward his regeneration. Think about it! Can the leopard change its own spots? Can the Ethiopian change his own skin? (see Jer. 13:23).
Here’s more great news!
Endless rewards are in store for “new creations in Christ.” Of course our greatest treasure is Christ Himself, knowing Him personally! And since the Holy Spirit resides within all true believers (Rom. 8:11), we need not wander through life aimlessly like lone rangers. For God’s Spirit leads us on, empowering us to serve faithfully and with lasting returns (Gal. 6:9; Eph. 6:8).
For those of us who have experienced this marvelous supernatural conversion, as we fly with our new-creation wings we can let the Lord refine us and commission us. He will lift and lead us over exciting fences, accomplishing His sky-high purposes.
Then we will know our God more intimately and know the thrill of carrying out His grand plans. For as God’s Word reveals, “The people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits” (Dan. 11:32 NKJV).
And it doesn’t get much better than that!
¹C. S. Lewis. Mere Christianity, (HarperSanFrancisco, 2001), 216.