Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rereading and aroma

I don't like to reread something. I will read a book once and then probably not pick it up again. Why? Because I know how it is going to end. I know the ins and outs of the plot and I know that the good guy will win over the bad guy (unless it is a darker type of book). I am not a big fan of those dark books unless they are part of a set where the good guy wins in the final book. Star Wars is an example of that. It always seems that the dark side of the Force is winning. Even Anakin turns to the dark side. Is there no hope? Of course there is. Good wins out in the end and the universe is saved. Takes a while to get there - but good things come to those who wait. Kinda like the people of Israel who waited thousands of years for the fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham. Many, many generations died before they saw the fulfillment of that promise. But good (translate that to GOD) always wins in the end.

But I digress (as if that is something new). The one book I will reread (and I do this often) is the Bible. Yes, I know the outcome. God wins. Good rises above evil (quite literally in Jesus' resurrection). A sure and certain hope is given to all who believe. You would think that after reading and rereading the Bible, I would not find new thoughts and new things. But I do.

I was reading this morning in 2 Corinthians. Read an interesting section. "For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death and to the other, the fragrance of life." (2 Cor. 2:15-16 NIV) I didn't remember that section. What is amazing, I had read it before because I had underlined those verses. Wow!

I thought about what it was saying. We are the aroma of Christ among people. Made me think. What type of aroma am I? A good aroma or a bad aroma? To those who believe in Christ and are saved, it is a good aroma. It is pleasing. It is an aroma that you want to smell again and again. It is like lighting your favorite candle and having it fill the house with it's wonderful fragrance. The aroma that a Christian gives off to another Christian is the aroma of life, the aroma of hope, the aroma of Christ.

But to those who don't believe, the aroma we give off is a stench. It fills the person with disgust. Paul says that "we are the smell of death." Who wants to smell death? There is nothing more foul than the smell of an animal at the side of the road in the heat of the summer. Ugh! Who wants to smell that? The unbeliever sure doesn't. They want nothing to do with those who believe in Christ because it is the aroma of death and they want away from it and from us.

Makes sense, doesn't it? How often does the unbeliever fight hard to keep the believer and the message he brings away from themselves? The world, dying in sin, apart from Christ, wants nothing to do with the believer for he brings the aroma of death - not the death of the believer but the death of the unbeliever. What the unbeliever is smelling is themselves. Why? Because the believer has life.

Think of it this way: No one wears deodorant. Everyone smells. No one pays attention because everyone smells. Suddenly one person in the group showers and begins to wear deodorant. Now he doesn't smell bad. He smells good. The others begin to smell the difference. They smell bad but don't want to start wearing that "sissy" stuff. So they despise the person who smells good just to remain as they are. Who really smells bad? The people with the terrible body odor not the person who wears deodorant. Who says that the other smells bad? The ones that actually smell bad. They remain in their odor and refuse to change and in the process, blame the one who smells good for all the problems of odor.

So it is with unbelievers. The problem is not that we smell of death but that they are smelling their own death and are blaming the believer. How can you smell so good while there is such a stench of death in the air? How? Through faith in the One that brings that wonderful aroma of life - through Jesus Christ. We smell good because of the life that Christ gives. The world smells horrific because the stench of death lays heavy upon it.

Today I reread that passage and it made sense to me. Thanks God.

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