Tuesday, 23 June 2015
For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 2 Corinthians 2:15
In the previous verse, Paul spoke of himself and the other ministers of Christ saying that He “…as through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” Building upon that, he now states that “we are to God the fragrance of Christ.” Their ministry is what diffuses “the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” God has chosen to use fallible humans to carry the infallible message of His Son to the people of the world.
In this, the fragrance goes forth as God purposes. The imagery is that of the streets of Rome after a triumph had been realized for the empire. The air would be filled with the fragrance of incense as the victors proceeded through the streets. However, there is another part of the scene that the world saw. Not only would the victors walk in their uniforms with their heads held high, but following them would be the vanquished foes. They would be captives taken as slaves or for display in the Coliseum where they would be put to death. The same fragrance would go forth to both, but the effect upon them would be completely different in its reception.
This fragrance of Christ then diffuses “among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” In Paul’s words is an inescapable truth. Some will be saved and some will perish. The gospel is the standard by which this will come about. Those who receive Christ will be the victors and to them the sweet fragrance is that of life and salvation. Those who reject Christ will be the vanquished. Among them that sweet fragrance will be a testimony against them that death, banishment from the presence of God, and eternal punishment will be the result.
Life application: In today’s pluralistic world, people teach that there are many ways to God and that salvation can mean a host of things. Instead of following what God has said in His word, they make stuff up that sounds good and they run with it. But such a message has no true pleasing fragrance. The incense has been tainted with untruth and it only carries the smell of death. There is but one way to be saved – through Jesus Christ, and that salvation carries with it an ultimate truth – reconciliation with God by the putting away of sin. There is no other way, so accept the gospel, be saved, and be a victor through the work of Christ.
Heavenly Father, You word says that there is but one way to be reconciled to You. Apart from receiving Jesus Christ, no person can be saved. I believe this message and it is my desire to continue to proclaim it, even to death itself. Governments or false religions can take my life, but they can never exterminate my faith in Jesus Christ. I stand on the gospel because it is the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. Amen.