“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. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? For 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.” ~2nd Corinthians 2:14-17
Give Thanks For The Triumph of Christ
To give thanks to God for the triumph of Christ that He leads us into, it is first necessary that we both know what great triumph Christ has achieved, and for us to have become partakers of His triumph: we’re told in the Word of God that we are made free from the law of sin and death (Rom. 8:2)- that is, that we are no longer ruled by sin (Rom. 6:6), nor shall suffer death (1 Cor. 15:56-57)- and that we have become children of God and partakers of the resurrection (Rom. 6:5); therefore, by the triumph of Christ, we walk by the Spirit as redeemed new creations (Rom. 6:4). We should give thanks to God for triumph in Christ because it was Christ who triumphed over the enemy and “destroyed the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).
If you still walk by the flesh, being carnal in your mind, you have not yet been made a partaker of the triumpn of Christ because anyone who walks in the flesh with a carnal mind is set upon death (Rom. 8:5, 8), and sin is still your master! There is no mistake, everyone who is entertained by worldliness and conforms themselves to the manner of life common to those who are of this world has also filled themselves with the spirit of this world, and has made themselves an enemy of God- though some who would humble themselves before God would surely bear the fruits of repentance and be saved out of this perverse generation and established in it as the fragrance and aroma of Christ!
The Fragrance of Christ
Paul spoke of the fragrance of the knowledge of God that was diffused through Christians who are led in triumph in Christ in every place: he speaks to us using language common to sacrificil language, such that reflects his expectation for the knowledge of God to effect an acceptable sacrifice.
Earlier Paul told the Corinthian church that the wisdom of God was foolishness to the world; “the cross”, he said, was a “stumbling block to the jews and foolishness to the gentiles”, but it was upon the cross that Christ was glorified and triumphed over sin and death, defeating the works of Satan once and for all, as He was raised again by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Therefore Paul says that Christians are the fragrance of Christ, both among those who are being saved and those who are perishing: to those who are being saved, it is the aroma of life leading to life, but to those who are perishing, the aroma of death leading to death.
This leads to a critical questions: is your life the fragrance of Christ diffused in the world everywhere? Are you an aroma of life to those who are being saved and an aroma of death to those who are perishing?
One of the lessons I learned when first traveling abroad is that American’s stink. Literally. Because we have a high-protien diet, we actually smell badly to most other people’s, and, until we assimilated into the local culture and started eating a more native diet, we continued to smell offensively to others around us no matter how many showers we took.
Likewise, as a Christian, we are fed and nourished on the Word of God, growing up into maturity in Christ; we are those who have crucified our bodies with Christ and been raised to newness of life by the Holy Spirit, being also washed clean by the water of the Word, sanctified through and through. If this is true of us, we eminate the fragrance of Christ through every fiber of our soul, much as our bodies eminate the fragrance of what we have eaten through our pours.
To those who are not of Christ, it is the stench of death; the stench of the cross! It is gruesome, it is terrifying, it is utterly repulsive; they are ignorant of the wisdom of God because they would not receive the knowledge of God diffused in the world through those who were born of His Seed. But it is joy and thanksgiving to those who know God and have been born of His Spirit because it is the triumph of Christ and life everlasting!
The Fragrance of Life and Death
There is a problem that we can observe though; a number of believers today have become ashamed of the fragrance of Christ that iminates from those who have been filled with the knowledge of God, and have sought to cover this fragrance and hide it, much like a foreigner showers often to hide their smell and avoid derision from the local communities.
Even worse, others are trying to “assimilate” into the world and have begun partaking of its table in order that they would no longer diffuse the offensive aroma of death to “the local culture”.
Brethren, do not cover the aroma of Christ diffused in the world through those who have the knowledge of God- beware that if you are ashamed of Christ before the world, He also will be ashamed of you before God! Where then is your salvation? Where then is your inheritance? Would you receive the grace of God in vain (2 Cor. 6:1)?
The world hated Christ because His light exposed their deeds and the cross is abhorrent to the flesh, and we who follow Him are likewise repulsive; but your brethren rejoice over Christ who abides in you, if indeed you do not quench the Spirit but grow in every regard in Christ.
May you all be a fragrant aroma of the knowledge of God diffused in the world everywhere, amen!