27th August 2020

Christians as Christ’s Aroma

“For we are the aroma of Christ to God…”
2 Corinthians 2:14-15 (NRSV)

I’ve heard it said, and I’m sure you have too, that the best way of selling a house is to fill it with the aroma of freshly brewed coffee (not instant) and some freshly baked bread. I don’t know how much truth there is in that: I have sold four houses and I cannot bake bread but nevertheless I did find some buyers.
Many flowers also give off a pleasing scent, or aroma. A few weeks ago my daughter and her family came to lunch. Their daughter was asked to give my wife the customary bunch of flowers. She did so, but before she handed them over she poked her nose into them and showed she liked the scent. And she is not yet quite two years old.
And my final example of a pleasing aroma, or scent, is of perfume when we enter a department store. They are often arranged so that you first meet the fragrance counters, and I’m sure that’s deliberate.

Our reading or header scripture, is in the context of warfare; or  more precisely, what happens after the battle is over. Assuming the general’s army is triumphant, they parade before him with everything that depicts the victory. There are tablets showing the battles; there are the spoils, and lastly come captives. Throughout the procession incense is offered as a pleasing aroma to emphasize to the general how proud he should be of his troops. Paul draws our attention to the spiritual significance of this. Jesus Christ is the marshal of the army and we are His troops. And who is the General before whom the procession takes place? God the Father. 2 Corinthians 2:14 says “thanks be to God who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession…” Or, as the hymn goes, ‘Onward Christian soldiers marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before.’

Paul continues in verse 14, “through us spreads in every place the fragrance that comes from knowing Him.” Yes, we are God’s army and our work is to spread the gospel. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,” says Matthew 28:19, “baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” But Paul tells us more than that. In verse 15 he writes, “We are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved.” How can that be? When people see us they should be seeing Jesus Christ even if they don’t realise it. How?  Because the way we live our lives should be the very example of their meeting Jesus Christ. “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). Paul is telling us a lot in these verses in 2 Corinthians 2: he is saying that God is pleased when our lives show Jesus Christ to the people around us even if they don’t know we are Christians. Jesus’ very life and nature should be reflected in us. That is what is most pleasing to Him and the Father.

Prayer
Praise You, Father God, for calling us into the army of Christ. May our witness be as a sweet aroma to You and all whom we meet, through Christ our Lord and Leader.
Amen

Study by Christopher Reeve

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About the Author:
Christopher Reeve is assistant pastor of the Invicta (Blean) Congregation near Canterbury, which is part of Grace Communion International/Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:
Invicta Fellowship
Blean Village Hall
School Lane
Blean
CANTERBURY
CT2 9JA

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11.30 a.m.

Local Congregational Contact:
Mrs Annette Woods
Phone: 07473 188326
Email: annettewoods2@nhs.net

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