Decided to randomly go back 10 years ago and see what I was chewing on this day in my reading plan. Kind of struck by it — both nostalgically and convictionally. So, thought I’d re-work it a bit and re-post this morning.
I’ve got to admit, I have it pretty good. I call Sue as I’m leaving work at night, drive 25 minutes, and, on most nights, when I walk in the door I smell supper ready to be served. Sometimes, I know what’s for dinner the moment I enter the house. Other times, I get to play with the smell from the kitchen and try and guess what Sue’s cooked up for our evening meal as I walk down the hall. It’s a blessing to walk in the door after work and smell supper on the stove. But I’m reminded by Paul that it’s a greater blessing to bring an “aroma” into a place yourself. After all, shouldn’t we smell?
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in Christ’s triumphal procession and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To some we are an aroma of death leading to death, but to others, an aroma of life leading to life. Who is adequate for these things?
(2Corinthians 2:14-16 CSB)
The fragrance of Christ, that was the air about Paul. There was a sweet smell that wafted around Paul as he shared the gospel; as he told of the good news of a Savior who died for men’s sins; of a Shepherd who sought lost sheep; of a Sovereign who was establishing a heavenly kingdom. It was more than the words from his mouth, it was the Word living in and through him (Gal. 2:20). Less about his oratory, more about his “awe-atory.”
Paul could imagine himself as a fragrance among others and as an aroma before God, a reference, I think, to the sweet-smelling aromas of the Old Testament sacrifices. Paul, offering his body as a living sacrifice, emitted a pleasing savor which rose to the portals of heaven. A fragrance of life for those who had ears to hear (or, perhaps, noses to smell), but a fragrance of death to those determined to have an allergic reaction to the things of grace and truth.
And while I know that Paul is writing specifically of his unique calling as an apostle to the Gentiles, I can’t help but make application to the guy sitting in this chair. How am I smelling? What’s the nature of the odor that fills a room when I enter? What scent is being diffused with my presence? What bouquet do I possess for others to pick up?
But these questions are so not about me in many ways. For, asks Paul, “Who is adequate for these things?” Implied answer, “No one!”
I can’t produce the perfume. I can’t fake the fragrance. Only as Christ lives in me will His precious scent be diffused from me. Only as I yield to the Spirit’s sanctifying work within, will the aroma of Christ’s ways be picked up by those without. Only as God’s Word is taken in, so will the sweet savor of God’s grace be poured out.
Who is adequate for these things? Not this guy — but God alone.
Yet shouldn’t we want to bring an aroma into the room, the aroma of Christ? Shouldn’t we want to smell a bit? I’m thinkin’ . . .
Only by God’s grace. Only for God’s glory.