The Pegasus and the Palomino

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become…..different?”

In explaining what happens through salvation, C.S. Lewis uses the example of the horse and the Pegasus. He says that it’s not as if Christ made a new breed of horse. He made a winged horse. A Pegasus is a completely different creature – a new type of creature that does not exist in nature. Me? I live like a Palomino. I might be a different color, but I’m still a horse. Do you ever feel that way? Why is it that so many of us forget about our wings? Maybe part of the problem is our trying to make Christianity accessible – and with making Christians the access point. On our own, we are incapable of the kind of transformation that salvation manifests. At best, we can get ourselves and others to walk the walk and talk the talk. But make no mistake – we’re still horses. When we believe that Christ came into nature to create something new, we also understand that Christ alone accomplishes that work.

“In a sense, the change is not “Evolution” at all, because it is not something arising out of the natural process of events but something coming into nature from outside” – C.S. Lewis

The most fundamental truth of Christianity, and the most difficult to accept (and by accept, I mean that acceptance causes a behavioral change) is that Christ did the work to set us free from sin. There’s nothing that any of us could do to earn salvation. Basic, right? We all say it, but then live differently. Often, I forget that truth and attempt to go at it alone. I forget the complete transformation I’ve undergone through Christ’s work on the cross. When I become the access point, I try to convince people that we Christians aren’t much different than the rest of humanity. You don’t have to stop drinking, smoking, cussing or watching R-rated movies to become a Christian. I want to make it easy for people. I can’t change their hearts, so I try to change their actions. And let’s be honest with ourselves. Sometimes that’s all we want – a horse of a different color. We are more comfortable with those that act the part while far from Christ, than those who are rough around the edges but love Jesus with all their hearts. When we attempt to do the work of the Holy Spirit, this is as good as it gets. It’s a change, not a new creation.

In some ways, it’s true that we’re not that different, but then again, “different” isn’t what we’re going for, is it? Saying that a horse isn’t that different from a Pegasus is mostly true, except that you miss the most critical feature. Likewise, believers aren’t that different from non-believers, as long as you don’t account for the wings.

So maybe we’re asking the wrong question. Maybe it’s not “how different are we,” but rather, “what do we do with the transformation…with the newness?”

It goes back to the access point. It’s Jesus that begins and ends the work. We have a choice in accepting salvation, but our decision is dependent upon the position of our hearts. Christianity is a choice like grabbing for a floatation device is a choice to a drowning man. What causes action isn’t seeing the floatation device, it’s realizing that you’re drowning. A humble heart sees the decision as an easy one. The difficulty comes later, when we ask ourselves what I believe is the right question. “Now what? What will I do with my wings?”

The fact that Christ has made you a new creation will only move you if you understand the discrepancy between who you were and who you are being made to be. This is the beauty of what Jesus did. He came into Nature. The light shone into the darkness. It shot through the cracks and gave hope that soon, the dawn will turn to day.

If we believe that the “difference” is darkness to light, blind to sight and old to new, it changes our belief in the work of the cross, and hopefully, the position of our hearts towards God. It changes how we live and how we interact with each other. If you’re like me – if you feel anything less than gratitude, awe and reverence towards God….you’d better check your wings.

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