For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;2 Corinthians 2:15(NASB)
The Bible describes the two different types of aroma that ascend heavenward to the Lord. The first is the sweet fragrance of those that are saved by grace through faith in Christ... while the second is the unbeliever who exudes the nauseating, deathly stench of a person who has rejected God's gracious offer of salvation, "for we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved... and are among those who are perishing. To the one an aroma from life to life. To the other the stench from death to death."
The latter consist of those that are stubborn of heart, religiously arrogant, and boastful of their independence from God's gracious provision. They are described by Isaiah as a stench in the nostrils of the Lord. They are a repulsive and sickening irritation to our Father's heart. They are like a pungent smell of putrefying wood - a stinking irritation in God's nostrils, "These people are smoke in My nostrils,"the Lord declares, "they are a fire that burns all day long."
The former, however, describes the consecrated man or devoted woman of God who is characterised as giving off the beautiful fragrance of Christ, a sweet aroma that is well-pleasing to the Father. It is the born-again child of God who is growing in grace, standing firm in the faith, abiding in Christ, and submitted to the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit, that is considered as the fragrance of Christ to God.
We discover that the Christian is the sweet-smelling aroma of the Lord Jesus Christ to other believers, for we are one with Him in spirit and truth, and we are to be united with one another. We are all part of the Body of Christ and are joined together in love. In the power of the Holy Spirit, we are individually and collectively the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Collectively and individually we are being transformed, day by day, into the likeness of Christ.
The more we mature in the faith and grow in grace, the more we become the fragrance of Christ among our brothers and sisters who are also being sanctified, day by day. It is not so much the things that we do or the words that we say that cause us to emanate the fragrance of Christ, but the person we are as the fruit of the Spirit is evidenced within.
It is said that the sense of smell is the one sensory faculty that is lodged deepest in our memory. The perfume worn by a beloved parent who is no longer with us, or the smokey trace from a smouldering fire can often trigger a fond childhood memory and prompt the thoughts to fly to a time of forgotten fun... yet for someone else, the selfsame odour may trigger a memory of fear or a feeling of revulsion. If the sense of smell causes such a contrary response in the physical realm, how much more must this be evident in the spiritual sphere?
In His earthly walk, the Lord Jesus gave off the most beautiful aroma to those who loved and trusted Him and they delighted to be in His presence. His life displayed an indescribable beauty, an intangible tenderness, an inexpressible sweetness, and an indefinable goodness, and yet to the hypocritical leaders of the Jews and those that were blindly following them, He became the most obnoxious stench.
In the same way, we discover that to unbelievers and those that are stubborn of heart, religiously arrogant, and boastful of their independence from God, we are a stench in their nostrils and an aroma from death to death. To the unsaved, the Christian man or woman can become a nauseating stench of death, whereas fellow Christians smell the sweet fragrance of the life of Christ.
How wonderful to realise that in Christ, our ministry and mission is to show forth the fragrance of His love, not only with our lips but in our lives by giving up ourselves to His standard and service. What we say and what we do is a matter of life to those that are saved - and death to those that are lost in trespasses and sins.
May God use each one of us as a worthy witness to those that are perishing. May our lives be so saturated with the attractiveness of our Saviour that His beauty is reflected in us, so that others may see our lives and glorify our Father in heaven, so that by grace through faith in Him, they may turn from their sinful ways, trust in the Lord with all their heart, and be born again into the family of God - to His praise and glory.
Heavenly Father, thank You that by faith we have become a fragrance of Jesus to our brothers and sisters in Christ. And Lord, for those that find us to be the stench of death in their nostrils, I pray that You would use us to witness to the truth of the glorious gospel of grace - so that together we may worship at Your feet to the praise of Jesus Christ, in Whose name I pray, AMEN.