In the beginning, God created all things for His glory and pleasure. He desires that His creation might reflect His glory, by following the example of Jesus Christ in daily life. The Word of God and creation itself teach us how we can be morally transformed to become like Jesus Christ. Of all God’s creatures, the butterfly provides one of the most compelling illustrations of our transformation into new creatures in Christ.

The butterfly begins as an ugly caterpillar, feeding copiously on the leaves of its host plant. Its entire life is spent eating so that its body weight increases by a staggering 1000 times. All this eating is necessary in order for it to transform.

Eventually when the time is right the caterpillar hangs upside down, grows a cocoon around itself, then releases enzymes that digest its body, turning it into a nutrient rich soup. Within 10 to 14 days this soup turns into a butterfly by the miraculous process of metamorphosis, by which are formed new legs, antenna, lungs, heart, brain, digestive tract and nervous system: it’s amazing; it’s a miracle!

This process of metamorphosis we witness in the butterfly is the process we must undergo if we are to become new creatures in Christ. Romans 12:2 says, “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed (Gk – metamorphoo) by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God”.

How does Metamorphosis Take Place in our Lives?

Before we are transformed we are like the caterpillar which is confined to the ground. In Bible language ,we are “… of the earth, earthy” (1 Cor 15:47). Just as the grub needs to feed copiously on leaves in order to transform, so too we must feed on the Word of God daily if we are to undergo a moral transformation, “being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Pet 1:23). Likewise, James says, “Of his own will begat he us with the Word of Truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures” (James 1:18).

As we read the Word of God we assimilate it into our lives and become new creatures like the Lord Jesus Christ who was the “Word made flesh” ( John 1:14). The transforming power of the Word of God can be likened to a mirror, concerning which Paul says, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image” (2 Cor 3:18).

Our new life begins at baptism, when we enter “into Christ”. When we are in Christ we are a new creature like the butterfly. None of the former characteristics of the ugly grub can be seen in the butterfly, and so too it has to be with us. The apostle Paul says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor 5:17).

Being in Christ, we are no longer like the caterpillar, confined to the ground, but instead like the butterfly which flies through the heavens. We have had our thinking elevated by the Word of God, and mind heavenly things: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col 3:1-2).

The Apostle then elaborates on how this metamorphosis process should be seen in a way of life: “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him” (Col 3:8-10).

If our lives have truly been transformed, then at his coming Christ will physically transform us to make our bodies like his own; what a wonderful incentive! It is as Paul says: “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself ” (Phil 3:20-21).