Monday, July 05, 2010

The Aroma of Christ

2 Corinthians 2:15 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?

15 ὅτι Χριστοῦ εὐωδία ἐσμὲν τῷ θεῷ ἐν τοῖς σῳζομένοις καὶ ἐν τοῖς ἀπολλυμένοις, 16  οἷς μὲν ὀσμὴ ἐκ θανάτου εἰς θάνατον, οἷς δὲ ὀσμὴ ἐκ ζωῆς εἰς ζωήν. καὶ πρὸς ταῦτα τίς ἱκανός;

This is some strange imagery, at least to me.  What is the "aroma of Christ?"  Paul explains it in verse 16.  He tells us that to those who reject Christ we are a fragrance of death.  To those who accept Christ we are a fragrance of life.

This explains a lot as we talk to people about the gospel, doesn't it?  Some folks are going to hear us talk and become intrigued.  They want to know more about Christ and they eventually repent and believe.  But many are not going to want to hear what we have to say.  When we mention the gospel it will convict them of their sinfulness, but they will cling stubbornly to their own desires and refuse to repent.  To those folks we are an aroma of death.

I think I have made the mistake of trying to be an aroma of life to those who should smell death.  You can spray Glade air freshener in a bathroom and make it smell better, but the underlying smell is still there.  The same goes with the aroma of death to those who are perishing.  But the important thing is to let them smell it so that we have done our jobs as evangelists.  We need to at least let them hear it.

This really convicts me.  I keep praying for more boldness.  We will see what happens.


Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

I can't be sure if this is what you were getting at in this post, but something you wrote threw open a new window on these verses for me.

Yes, when our testimony is pure, that is, when we only testify to the Word of God (both Jesus, and the scriptures that are His written ikon) as it is, nothing added or taken away (by us), nothing twisted, then yes, for those destined to be saved (or saved already) we are the perfume of life, and for those destined to be lost (through their rejection of God) we are the stench of death. (Notice a different Greek word for each in the text.)

But what happens if we adulterate our testimony to the Word, if we mix it with human reasoning, political correctness, or just the desire to please others (instead of God) in a (vain) attempt to win them over "by hook or by crook"?

We do what you say in this post, we try to cover up the stench of death by using a kind of spiritual air freshener. We don't let the lost really get a whiff of their ultimate end, what they will turn into because their deeds are sinful and they hate God for showing them this. Instead, we "there, there" them into the Kingdom, or try to, soothing not their wounds and healing them, but humoring and abetting them in their sins, making light of them, and deceiving them on earth into a false hope, hiding from them what they really have chosen.

If this is what you are alluding to, bravo, my brother. This is worth blogging about. The witness that we bear to the world must be pure, or else it is worthless and more than worthless, dangerous.

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

Correction to my first comment. I mistakenly contrasted evodhía with osmí, when there is no contrast intended in the scriptures. Both words, of course, ultimately derive from the verb ozo, smell. In my chosen version of the scriptures, the original Jerusalem Bible (1966), evodhía is translated as "incense" which is an accommodation, based on the context. When I first read the text, for some reason my brain slipped a gear. Sorry.

Thanks for the idea. I have blogged a modified version of my comment on Cost of Discipleship.

Jason said...

I'm glad that I could jog something for you. My point is just that the gospel is not a pleasing aroma to anyone who is perishing. But for those God has predestined to eternal life it is a sweet smell.

JS Allen said...

"I think I have made the mistake of trying to be an aroma of life to those who should smell death."

Me too. Great post!