I promised the outline portion of this earlier post. So here goes.
What Do You Smell Like?
According to the bible you have an odor. That’s right, you smell. I smell. We all smell. And I don’t mean just with our noses. There is an aroma/fragrance which is discharged from us.
Maybe you have been in the elevator when that one person steps in who poured their whole bottle of perfume on themselves just before the doors opened to get in. Immediately the nostrils flare and the drainage begins. All you can think about is we have seven more stories to go before you can get out!
Perhaps like me you have been puzzled why people would rub cucumbers and citrus, watermelon or vanilla on themselves. You’ve seen them. They pump the liquid hand soap from the bottle with the fragrance of a botanical garden just to clean their hands. It’s no wonder every bee in the county comes swarming around them! Ladies will slap some ‘Sweet Pea’ on stroll out the door. Can you say ‘Ivory’ or even ‘Dove’?
Now don’t get me wrong. I’d rather smell these assorted scents, in moderation, than some of the other unwelcome odors we all encounter. Not a thing wrong with a good bath or shower. To ‘freshen-up’ is a polite and appropriate kindness.
Now, what about this “biblical aroma?” Take a look at 2 Corinthians 2:14-17.
14) “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. 15) For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; 16) to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? 17) For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.” 2 Corinthians 2:14-17 NASB
I. The Aroma of the knowledge of God. Verse 14
- 14) “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.
As a metaphor, the aroma of the knowledge of him spreads every where. The ‘him’ could refer to God or Christ. It is more likely used for the knowledge of God (see 2 Corinthians 4:6). Paul is likely referring to the knowledge about God.
Unlike the parable of the sower where seeds fell to the ground and few took root where many did not, the metaphor of an aroma spreads everywhere into the atmosphere, so the divine revelation of God is all-prevailing and irresistible. The aroma of the knowledge of God permeates the air just like the fragrant perfume of the person who steps into that elevator. It forces a person to take notice.
Notice in verse 14 the ‘sweet aroma’ comes from God. Not Paul.
Regarding the “triumph”…
It is God who causes the minister to triumph
God always causes the minister to triumph over all attacks and all troubles and problems. The minister of God will not know defeat–not permanently.
The triumph of the minister is in Christ and Christ alone
God uses the minister to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere.
II. The Aroma of the message of the Cross of Christ. Verse 15-16
- 15) For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;
- 16) to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?
O. T. Background
The pleasing aroma of Noah’s sacrifice after the flood. Genesis 8:20-22
N. T. Background
It is the self-offering sacrifice of Christ on the cross which Paul believes to have replaced all sacrifices. Ephesians 5:2, 2 Corinthians 5:21
Notice in verse 15 Paul saids he carries around the aroma of Christ pleasing to God. The word is changed from aroma to fragrance, a term meaning a smell of any kind where aroma refers to a sweet savor aromatic and then back to fragrance. Paul is trying to tell us he is not the source of the aroma. It comes from the message of the Cross of Christ!
To the saved, the minister represents the life that in Christ, the fact that our lives are to be dedicated to God and ministering to the needs of people. The minister spreads the fragrance of ‘life unto life’ that people can now live and live forever.
To the unsaved (those who perish), the minister represents death, the fact that one does not believe I I the life of Christ represented by the minister. Therefore the minister spreads the fragrance of death unto death, that people are dead to God now and shall be eternally dead to God in the hereafter.
Illustration: one specific fragrance can smell good to one person while to another the same fragrance can be a stench. (Commercial—Ladies at the bar looking for a date and one of them has cooked bacon in her purse.)
- CHRIST IS EITHER COUNTED PRECIOUS AND ACCEPTED OR COUNTED UNWORTHY AND REJECTED.
- CHRIST IS EITHER LOVED AS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD OR HATED AS THE LIGHT OF CONDEMNATION.
The gospel of Christ creates a crisis of decision that does not allow anyone to remain neutral or take a wait-and-see attitude.
We do not normally think about an odor producing death or life, but such is the case when you become aware that smells may warn of something deadly or attract us in some way. I knew a woman who told me she could tell a certain man had cancer because she smelled it. She suggested he would die from it. Years later he was diagnosed with it and within two weeks of the diagnosis, died.
III. The Aroma of the ministers of the gospel. Verse 17
- 17) For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.”NAS
Do you smell like a minister/servant who is drenched in the aroma of the knowledge of God, saturated in the message of the Cross of Christ, and flowing with the aromatic fragrance of the gospel?
Until next time ,