What’s that Smell?

2 Corinthians 2:15-17 (ESV)

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? 17 For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ

I don’t know if I am alone in this, but do you ever worry about your deodorant "”breaking”? It’s funny but I can distinctly reminder days in my life where I have realized after leaving the house to go to work that I forgot to put on deodorant and became immediately convinced that I would stink. Today’s verse is interesting in that the Apostle Paul is telling us that sometimes we will stink.

The language and imagery of the Scriptures often amazes me. I think that is what I am feeling about these verses. I get a picture in my mind’s eye of a smell working its way through a room and although the smell is unchanging and consistent the reaction to the smell is varied. It may be analogous to a perfume or cologne that someone may completely enjoy the smell of while others are completely put off by it.

These scriptures are declarative in that Paul is stating what is true in that some hearing the Gospel will understand that for them it is a message that will cause them to find hope in eternal life while in others the message will affirm their present condition and the hopelessness of eternal death.

I think the key point of application is found in verse 17 where Paul is reminding the church in Corinth that he did not come with the fragrant message of the Gospel in an arrogant or self-serving manner, but rather he came in sincerity, full of the knowledge of the seriousness of the message. I would say let it be so for us. I think we have to realize that as we proclaim Jesus not all who hear the message will receive it. There is a sadness in that. The Gospel is “death to death” for some. I think sometimes I am a little too flippant about that reality. 

Father, thank you God for your Word and your wisdom. I pray that you would help me be mindful of the spiritual condition of those around me. I pray that you would help me not be flippant about the Gospel and its implications on those who are unable to receive it. I pray that I would be like Paul, sincere and not concerned not with my own agenda but rather with the your work and your will and your Kingdom. I ask these things. In Jesus name, Amen.


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