Today's Scripture is talking about what a Christian life looks like, using an aroma as a metaphor to illustrate that we represent Christ on earth. Paul wrote this letter at the time he was distressed in his life. He had learned that the church at Corinth had been swayed by leaders who stirred people against him through vocal opposition, by claiming He was proud, dishonest, unimpressive, and unqualified as an apostle of Jesus Christ. However, Paul was more concerned about making eternal impact, so he sought to take action to preserve the unity of that local assembly.
Reference: 2 Corinthians 2:15 New Living Translation (NLT) "Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing."
Paul described the Christian life as a Christ-like fragrance, which in another term, is "the aroma of Christ." We are the aroma of Christ in the world. In a very actual sense, we make Christ present on earth. We carry His divine presence everywhere we go because Christ indwells us. In doing so, we "give off the smell" of Christ to fellow Christians and unbelievers alike. This smell also rises up to God.
What is this Christ-like fragrance? It is the presence and glory of God emanating from the majesty and wonder of His splendour. We have this fragrance because we are partakers of the divine nature (see 2 Peter 1:4 ESV). We share in His experience of being divine. By participating in divine interests, we are filled with such fragrance as a result of association. This Christ-like fragrance is a life-giving and life transforming power.
What transmits this aroma through us? Worship is one of them. Worship transmits Christ-like fragrance and sustains the flow in our lives. There are absolutely no limits to the fragrance that comes from worship. The degree to which we spend time in worship will determine the flavour and intensity of the fragrance we emit. We also have the fragrance that comes from the sacrifice of offering (Numbers 29:2) and praise (Hebrews 13:15). When we mean sacrifice, we are talking about giving to God something at great cost to ourselves. Praise, on the other hand, creates joyful aroma as it bubbles from a grateful heart and thankful lips towards God. However, in the spiritual realm, sacrifice and praise are intertwined.
Preaching the Gospel is another aroma transmitter. Evangelism is a lifestyle. When we form it as a habit, we are demonstrating absolute discipline of devotion and love that comes from a heartfelt response to the Good News of Jesus Christ. This in turn, transmits the Christ-like fragrance. And today's reference Scripture says, '...But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing.' In other words, it's an aroma that is received differently by two sets of people: The saved and the unsaved. The later are those who live without Christ (1 Corinthians 1:18).
We also have the fragrance from the Word. God doesn't waste His Word. When we go deeper into the knowledge of Christ, or have an in-depth study of the Word and then apply the principles in it, we draw the Word aroma to ourselves and get saturated with it. As God leads us through our lives, we carry this aroma to everyone we contact, Christians and the ungodly alike. 2 Corinthians 2:14 (NLT) reads: "But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ's triumphal procession.
Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume."
Beloved, God uses us to spread the fragrance of His knowledge (the Word) everywhere we go. We serve His purpose of spreading the truth of the gospel down every place He leads us along. And whether we know it or not, and whether we intend to or not, we're influencing others in some way when it comes to their perception of Jesus. What a sweet perfume we emit in Christ!
Scripture Reading - Leviticus 1:9; Ezekiel 20:41; Hebrews 13:15; Ephesians 5:2; Romans 12:1. Numbers 28:2.
Guided Prayer: Gracious Father, wonderful is your Name. Thank you for making me your captive and leading me along in Christ's triumphal procession. By your Spirit, the Christ-like fragrance and the sweet-smelling aroma of grace are increasingly released through me, to transform lives everywhere I go. In Christ, my prayer, praise, worship, and offering are a pleasing scent to you, and I'm forever grateful, in Jesus' Name, Amen!