Tuesday, June 24, 2014

How Do You Smell To The World?

2 Corinthians 2:14-16 - 14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?

When my children come inside from playing, one of the first things I say to them is, "y'all smell like farm animals!"  In other words, it was quite evident where they had been based on their aroma.

This morning as I was reflecting on God's Word, I chuckled as I read 2 Corinthians 2 and as I thought about my two stinky children.  Their smell represented hours of fun to them, but to me, it was a sign of a much needed bath!  I then began to dive into the meaning of 2 Corinthians 2:14-17.  When a Roman army won a battle and defeated an enemy, they began a procession and celebration that could sometimes last three days.  People burnt incense and filled the streets with the smell of perfume.  The victors paraded the spoils and processed the warriors in victory.  For the winning army, it was a time of celebration and life.  The sights, sounds, and smells encompassed triumph.  In the same way, when Christ returns, it will be a moment of triumph for those who believe.  However, to those who never believed, it will be a time of judgment.  Likewise, in during the Roman times, the same festival with the same sights, sounds, and smells, carried with it an entirely different meaning to the defeated army.  The captives were paraded through the streets in cages.  Their gold, silver, art, and jewels were stolen.  The opposing king was often set out on display and then be publicly executed  The same smell elicited two very different reactions depending on which side you belonged.

Second Corinthians 2:15 states that as Christians, we are the fragrance of Christ.  To those who belong to Him, we elicit a sweet scent of life.  Yet to those who do not, we give off the odor of death.  We come off as offensive.  Therefore, when we truly live out the Gospel, there will be people who are offended by our message.  Unfortunately, that is the truth of God's Word.  That does not mean we should change the substance of the message or try to make it "smell better" to the world. Instead, we should have compassion on the world, and love the world as Christ did, yet stand firm on the truth of God's Word, no matter what.

If no one is ever offended by your testimony of Christ, how much are you actually displaying Him?

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