Friends: If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that my friend Frank (in New Jersey) and I have been doing an email Bible study for over a year. We read the same chapter every day for a week — and then send a brief email of encouragement to each other. We’ve completed most of the epistles of the New Testament — and it’s been a great discipline for both of us.
We’re now working our way through 2 Corinthians. Here’s my outline for several verses at the end of chapter two:
A Fragrance . . . or a Stench? (A Study of 2 Corinthians 2:14-17)
We’ve noticed, first of all, the image of a triumphal procession (v. 14). We have been conquered by Christ! Oh, glorious defeat! He has won our hearts and we are now captive to Him. And therein is true freedom! No wonder Paul says, “But thanks be to God”!
Notice also that God “always leads us as captives” in this procession. It is as if His parade is going on all the time. And we are lined up in it, letting the spectators gawk at us — vanquished and defeated enemies of God who are being shown to the world. We are captives on display — and should rejoice in our publicly-displayed defeat!
Please notice, second, that Christ not only leads us as captives but uses us to have an impact on others! What is that impact? It is not just visual. There is an olfactory impact — we smell! If Paul is staying with the triumphal procession metaphor, those captured and defeated enemies most likely smelled like battle. The spectators would hiss and boo them — and turn up their noses at their stench!
We believers are carrying with us, on us, in us, “the aroma of the knowledge of him.” We smell like Christ. We read in Acts 4:13 that when the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees “saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” We carry with us “the aroma of the knowledge of him.” And please notice — this is not an aroma that fades or dissipates. We carry that aroma “everywhere.” We are permanently affected by this knowledge of Him.
How’s it going, believer? Do others smell Jesus on you? Or do you and I try to cover up that aroma with the perfumes of this world and its pleasures? Just a thought.