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Category Archives: 2 Corinthians 2

A Fragrance . . . or a Stench? (A Study of 2 Corinthians 2:14-17) Part 6 (Conclusion)

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. We continue our study of several verses in Chapter 2:

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!

Please notice, second, that Christ not only leads us as captives but uses us to have an olfactory impact on others! We believers are carrying with us, on us, in us, “the aroma of the knowledge of him.” We smell like Christ. We carry with us “the aroma of the knowledge of him.”

We also saw, third, that our primary audience is GOD! We read, “For we are to GOD the pleasing aroma of Christ . . .” (v. 15). HE is our “audience of one.” We smell like God’s own Son.

We then recognized that “we are a pleasing aroma of Christ” to two human audiences (v. 15). Amazingly we are told that we are a “pleasing aroma” to both (1) those who are being saved and (2) those who are perishing. Wow. Those “who are perishing” might not think that our aroma is pleasing, but if our primary audience is God, it is HIS opinion that matters the most! What “those who are perishing” may regard as a terrible stench, God says is a “pleasing aroma” to Him.

In our last post we observed that, apart from God as our primary audience, we believers are “smelled” by two groups. Verse 15 describes one group as “those who are being saved” and the second group as “those who are perishing.” The Bible is quite clear that the wages of sin is death. We begin to die the moment we enter the world. And, while physical death is awful, spiritual (or eternal) death is the worst possible situation one might encounter. Those who have not trusted Christ are presently dying. This bifurcation of all of humanity into two groups is incredibly offensive to those who are not yet believers, but it is still true.

As we conclude our study of this amazing text, let’s notice that the believer’s aroma brings something with it. For those who are perishing, it brings DEATH. For those who are being saved, it brings LIFE. One would not think that a mere smell would produce such dramatic results, but our aroma stands for a personal, saving relationship with the Lord Jesus. Believers find that image fragrant and pleasing; unbelievers react to that image as some odorous and repugnant.

The logical question that Paul asks is “And who is equal to such a task?” (v. 16). What task? The task of representing Christ in this world and recognizing that some will literally and figuratively turn up their noses at the gospel of our Savior.

Today’s Challenge: What an image! As you move through today, ask yourself if you are faithfully representing your Savior — and don’t be discouraged when some turn up their noses at you!

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2020 in 2 Corinthians 2

 

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A Fragrance . . . or a Stench? (A Study of 2 Corinthians 2:14-17) Part 5

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. We continue our study of several verses in Chapter 2:

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!

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 carry with us “the aroma of the knowledge of him.”

We also saw, third, that our primary audience is GOD! We read, “For we are to GOD the pleasing aroma of Christ . . .” (v. 15). HE is our “audience of one.” We smell like God’s own Son.

As we continued , we saw that “we are a pleasing aroma of Christ” to two human audiences (v. 15). Amazingly we are told that we are a “pleasing aroma” to both (1) those who are being saved and (2) those who are perishing. Wow. Those “who are perishing” might not think that our aroma is pleasing, but if our primary audience is God, it is HIS opinion that matters the most! What “those who are perishing” may regard as a terrible stench, God says is a “pleasing aroma” to Him.

Let’s notice today that, apart from God as our primary audience, we believers are “smelled” by two groups.  Verse 15 describes one group as “those who are being saved.” Wait! I thought salvation was a one-time, past action in the believer’s life? There is a past, future, and present aspect to our being saved. Here the focus is on those who “are being saved.”

Notice the second group: “those who are perishing.” The Bible is quite clear that the wages of sin is death. We begin to die the moment we enter the world. And, while physical death is awful, spiritual (or eternal) death is the worst possible situation one might encounter. Those who have not trusted Christ are presently dying.

Today’s Challenge: Live today as if all of humanity is divided into two and only two categories. And, by God’s grace, seek to be a fragrance to both!

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2020 in 2 Corinthians 2

 

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A Fragrance . . . or a Stench? (A Study of 2 Corinthians 2:14-17) Part 4

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. We continue our study of several verses in Chapter 2:

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!

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 carry with us “the aroma of the knowledge of him.”

We also saw, third, that our primary audience is GOD! We read, “For we are to GOD the pleasing aroma of Christ . . .” (v. 15). HE is our “audience of one.” We smell like God’s own Son.

Let’s continue our study this morning as we see that “we are a pleasing aroma of Christ” to two human audiences (v. 15). Amazingly we are told that we are a “pleasing aroma” to both (1) those who are being saved and (2) those who are perishing. Wow. Those “who are perishing” might not think that our aroma is pleasing, but if our primary audience is God, it is HIS opinion that matters the most! What “those who are perishing” may regard as a terrible stench, God says is a “pleasing aroma” to Him.

In our next post we will think about the bifurcation of the human race. The what?!

 

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2020 in 2 Corinthians 2

 

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A Fragrance . . . or a Stench? (A Study of 2 Corinthians 2:14-17) Part 3

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. We continue our study of several verses in Chapter 2:

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!

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 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.

Let’s move on this morning and see, third, that our primary audience is GOD! We read, “For we are to GOD the pleasing aroma of Christ . . .” (v. 15). HE is our “audience of one.” We smell like God’s own Son.

When our daughter was 12, she and I were snuggling on the couch the way fathers and daughters ought to snuggle. I leaned over and remarked, “You smell terrific!” (I think she was using a new shampoo). She then sniffed and said, “Dad, you smell terrific too.” Then she sniffed again and said, “No, that was still me.”

This metaphor of scent is central in this text. The Father smells the Son in us, on us. And we bring that reality with us wherever we go. But before we notice its impact on the only two classes of human beings who exist, let’s not miss the point that our primary audience is God Himself! And He is pleased with what He smells.

Today’s Challenge: How do we smell more like Christ? We need to be with Him more to pick up His scent, to be impacted by His Person and character. How and when will you be with Him today, my friend?

 

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2020 in 2 Corinthians 2

 

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A Fragrance . . . or a Stench? (A Study of 2 Corinthians 2:14-17) Part 2

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.

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2020 in 2 Corinthians 2

 

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Fiddling with the Truths of God (time for a good quote)

John R.W. Stott tells about the seventeenth-century Jesuits in China who, FirefoxScreenSnapz493in order not to upset the social sensitivities of the Chinese, excluded the crucifixion and certain other details from the Gospel. Professor Hugh Trevor-Roper responded to their decision by remarking: “We do not learn that they made many lasting converts by the unobjectionable residue of the story.” (John R.W. Stott, Our Guilty Silence)

Questions:

1.  What are some ways that the gospel is being edited today?

2.  We read in 2 Corinthians 2:  “15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being FirefoxScreenSnapz494saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task?”  How are we an aroma that brings death to those who don’t believe?

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2014 in 2 Corinthians 2

 

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