I’ve recently been corresponding a bit with a couple of people who hate Christianity and have attacked me. Some of the things they have said about Christians are true. We often come across as holy know-it-alls. We are guilty at times of trying to manipulate conversations to spiritual things. And the “friendships” we develop with “lost” people are conditional and sometimes shallow and end when the other person refuses to become a believer.
I’m not sure any of us do anything out of 100% pure motives. But that’s no excuse for not loving others the way Jesus loved them. But I think if Christians were almost perfect in their interactions with those not yet in God’s family — they would still be criticized and hated. Which brings me to 2 Corinthians 2 which reads:
1. Notice that God uses the believer “to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere” (v. 14) Are you aware, Christian, that you carry with you a smell, an “aroma,” wherever you go? You can’t wash it off — nor should you want to. But one man’s aroma is another man’s . . . stench!
2. Notice also that we are “to God” a pleasing aroma. He is our primary audience. Others may “smell” us, but His “nostrils” are the ones that really count.
3. Our aroma is a pleasing one to God whether it is among those who are being saved or those who are perishing (v. 15). Interesting that all of humanity is divided up into two categories: (1) those who are being saved and (2) those who are perishing. God is not willing that any should perish (2 Pe. 3:9), but He is glorified even by the death of the wicked.
4. Notice that we are an aroma to two audiences: (1) to the one an aroma that brings death; (2) to the other an aroma that brings life (v. 16).
The bottom line is that the Christian is both! I would prefer to go through life as a fragrance rather than as a stench. You?
“Lord, help me to be faithful in representing You to a watching — and smelling — world. And help me not to take it personally when people turn up their noses at the gospel — and at me! In Jesus’ name. Amen.”