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THE FRAGRANCE OF CHRIST*By Gregg Bing

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THE FRAGRANCE OF CHRIST*By Gregg Bing Empty THE FRAGRANCE OF CHRIST*By Gregg Bing

Post  Admin on Wed 13 Oct 2010, 4:53 pm

THE FRAGRANCE OF CHRIST*
*By Gregg Bing*
*The sense of smell, which is sometimes taken for granted, affects
several different areas of our lives, sometimes positively, sometimes
negatively. The difference is often indicated by the word that is used
to describe the smell. For instance, the words odor, stench, and
sometimes even the word smell itself, have a negative connotation. On
the other hand, the words aroma, fragrance, and scent are almost always
used in a positive way.
One thing affected by the sense of smell is our sense of taste. For
instance, the smell of freshly baked bread can almost make ones mouth
water for the taste, while a person who has a stuffy nose and cannot
smell a thing, will often say that most foods seem to have no taste at all.
Another thing that smell can affect is mood or attitude. The perfume
industry depends on this, for their aim is to design, market, and sell
fragrances that can evoke feelings of romance or attraction.
Smells can even affect our actions. For example, some odors are so
strong and so disgusting that they can make people sick to their stomach.
In 2 Corinthians 2, the apostle Paul is led of the Holy Spirit to use
the concept of smell or fragrance to illustrate how the testimony of
believers can affect the lives of others. *
Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ's gospel, and a door
was opened to me by the Lord, I had no rest in my spirit, because I did
not find Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I departed for
Macedonia. (2 Cor. 2:12-13)
*
Paul first makes reference to a time of stress in his life. He had come
to Troas to preach the gospel and, though the Lord provided an
opportunity for ministry, Paul found no rest in his spirit. He had hoped
to see Titus there, but the young man, whom Paul described as a true son
in our common faith, never arrived. Though Paul was disappointed and
somewhat distressed about this situation, he emphasized that there is
always triumph in our Lord Jesus Christ.
*
Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and
through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. (2
Cor. 2:14)
*
The illustration Paul uses here is that of a Roman triumphal procession;
a parade to honor Roman generals who won great victories in battle. The
victorious general, when he returned home, led a procession through the
city streets, riding in his golden chariot. The procession was followed
by the conquered captives, most of whom were destined to die in the
arena. During the parade the Roman priests would burn incense. The aroma
of the incense paid tribute to the victorious general and his army.
Paul thanks God for the triumph that we have in Christ; the victory that
He won over sin, over death, and over Satan through His sacrificial
death and His powerful resurrection from the grave (1 Cor. 15:57).
Because of His finished work on the cross of Calvary, the Lord Jesus
Christ always leads us in triumph at all times, even in times of
distress or disappointment. Not only that, but we can thank God that
through us He diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.
It is truly amazing to realize that God chooses to work through us, mere
sinners saved by His grace. Even though we live in earthen vessels (2
Cor. 4:7), God can fill and use these vessels as instruments for His
service (Rom. 6:13).
Paul speaks of God using us to diffuse the fragrance of His knowledge in
every place. The word diffuse literally means to make manifest or known.
Like the aroma of the incense burned by the Roman priests bore testimony
to and honored the triumph of the victorious general, so our lives are
to bring glory and honor to our victorious Savior, the Lord Jesus
Christ. The fragrance we are to diffuse is that of His knowledge, or,
more literally, the knowledge of Him. This knowledge is found in Gods
Word. This is why, as Gods children, we are told to: Preach the Word! (2
Tim. 4:2).
*
For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being
saved and among those who are perishing. (2 Cor. 2:15)
*
Believers are, to God, the fragrance of Christ. The word fragrance means
a good smell or a sweet smell. The idea is seen in Leviticus chapter 1,
where we read of the burnt offerings the children of Israel were to
bring to the Lord. As the sacrifice was burned on the altar, the smoke
that rose up from the fire carried a sweet aroma to the Lord (Lev. 1:9).
As the burnt offering was a sweet aroma to the Lord, so Christ's death
on the cross for our sins was an offering and a sacrifice to God for a
sweet-smelling aroma (Eph. 5:2). God was propitiated (satisfied) through
Christ's finished work on the cross for our sins (Rom. 3:25-26). His
holy and righteous requirements being satisfied, we can now be accepted
in the Beloved (Eph. 1:6). When we trust Christ as Savior, God places us
in Christ by the baptism of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13). When God
sees us, He sees us in His Son, and, we are, to Him, the fragrance of
Christ a sweet smell of satisfaction.
God also sees us as the fragrance of Christ in our testimony to others,
among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. Just
as certain smells can affect people, the fragrance of Christ can affect
people in an even more powerful way. We are to manifest the fragrance of
His knowledge to other people. The fragrance we manifest is the same to
everyone, the knowledge of Christ and His finished work of redemption,
but the response is not always the same.
*
To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other
the aroma of life leading to life. (2 Cor. 2:16a)
*
Some respond to the fragrance of Christ like the crowds who welcomed and
cheered the Roman general as he led the victory procession. To them the
aroma of the incense burned by the priests was a wonderful smell, a
smell of great triumph, not just for the general, but for them as well.
Likewise, to those who hear the Word of God and believe it, trusting in
Christ as their Savior, the fragrance of Christ is truly a sweet smell.
It is an aroma of life to them, and embracing it as such, it leads them
to life eternal and to great triumph in Christ.
Others respond to the fragrance of Christ like the conquered captives,
the slaves who were on their way to die in the arena. To them the smell
of the burned incense was not a sweet smell at all, but an odor of
impending death. Thus, to those who hear the Word of God, but reject
Christ as Savior and Lord, the fragrance of Christ has no attraction for
them. It is nothing more than a smell of death, and they remain in their
sinful state, perishing.
*
*As believers, we must realize that we cannot control a persons response
to the Word of God. As much as we want people to believe and be saved,
we cannot force them. We can only diffuse the fragrance of His knowledge
in every place we go. We can proclaim the truth of Christ and Him
crucified. We can share with people the wonderful gospel of Gods saving
grace. We can show people the joy and the great triumph we have in our
Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. What a tremendous service and
responsibility this is! This leads us to question, as Paul did:
*
And who is sufficient for these things? (2 Cor. 2:16b)
*
The answer to this question is given in 2 Corinthians 3:5: Not that we
are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from
ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God. We must not make the mistake
of thinking that we are sufficient, in ourselves, to do anything for the
Lord. Our ability to serve the Lord comes from Him, and from Him alone.
F*or we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of
sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ. (2
Cor. 2:17)
*
Many in Paul's day (and in our day too) were peddling the Word of God,
not preaching for the glory of God, but for their own dishonest gain (1
Tim. 6:5). Men like this have no concern for the truth and accuracy of
Gods Word and will often twist and corrupt the Word if they feel it will
be more profitable for them.
Paul emphasizes that true ministry stands in stark contrast to these
peddlers. We are to speak in sincerity, not for our own selfish gain,
but for the glory of the Lord. We are to speak as from God, or literally
out of God. We must remember that the message we have been entrusted
with is the Word of God. It is not to be corrupted or handled
deceitfully, but presented for what it is the Word of truth (2 Cor.
4:2). It is also vital that we realize our dependence upon the power of
God in our lives, yielding to His Holy Spirit to work in and through us.
Finally, when we speak, we are to speak in the sight of God, being
concerned with pleasing Him and not with pleasing men (Gal. 1:10).
What about you? Are you manifesting the fragrance of Christ among the
people you come in contact with each day? Or, is your life diffusing a
different kind of smell an indistinct smell, maybe even a foul odor? God
desires to diffuse the fragrance of His knowledge through you, a
fragrance that will certainly have an impact on the lives of those
around you. What type of impact will your life have?
Admin
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