Monday, March 3, 2014

THE AROMA OF CHRIST

2 Corinthians 2:15
For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.

2 Corinthians 2:15 is the only place in Scripture that identifies Believers as "the aroma of Christ".  In fact, that is the only place the word aroma is found in the New Testament.  For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.  However, the word aroma is very plentiful in the Old Testament (Exodus 29:18, 25, 41; Leviticus 1:9, 13, 17, 2:2, 9, 12, 3:5, 16, 4:31, 6:15, 21, 8:28, 17:6, 23:13, 18; Numbers 15:3, 7, 10, 13, 14, 24 - not exhaustive).

In the Old Testament, aroma is linked with a phrase/sentence that is found repeated many times concerning the Jewish sacrifices - "It is a burnt offering, an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to the LORD." There are particular foods, animals, and animal parts that were required for different "offerings". However, no matter what the "offering" was - a drink, piece of fat, animal part, or the whole animal, it was burned and the aroma was the end result that God was after.

In Genesis 8:21 God speaks about His wrath, specifically His wrath against the earth and all living creatures, by stating that He will never harm it in totality again, "even though every inclination of his [man's] heart is evil from childhood". In fact, God goes the extra step and places His wrath on the sacrifices of animals in the Old Testament (many times - year after year) and on His only begotten Son, Jesus, in the New Testament (once and for all).

If God was as concerned about the aroma of animals, for whatever the need, and the aroma of Christ's ultimate sacrifice, don't you think the aroma of the Christian (and I'm not talking body odor) should be that much more pleasing now-a-days?  I can only imagine some of my own offerings or sacrifices of praise probably have fallen short at times.  But if I properly (1) prepare, (2) burn, and (3) wave my offering to God, I believe He will look favorably upon the aroma of my offering.

In preparation, before entering that time of offering my heart and mind need to get in line to form the correct attitude. Before going into any situation be it a time of worship or a challenging situation, a Godly mind-set, heart-set, and attitude - from being in His Word - is a great start.

Second, in the actual offering or burning, even though the Holy Spirit lives within me, I invite Him to do a greater work, a transforming work and allow the Holy Spirit to burn my offering.  This is a testing of my motives and acceptance of my gift back to He who gave me my talent or gifting.  In worship and in difficult situations is my aroma, my service for Him and others, pleasing to God?

Lastly, I wave what I have left before the LORD in humble submission.  Many times in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers the wave offering is mentioned.  In some instances the wave offering is the last thing the Priests did.  For example, "After you have purified the Levites and presented them as a wave offering, they are to come to do their work at the Tent of Meeting. - Numbers 8:15 Notice "the work at the Tent of Meeting" is to follow immediately after the last thing - the "wave offering".

Disobedience is an aroma-killer! There was a time when God said He would NOT accept the aroma offerings of His people. These moments came in times of rebellion.  God said, " 'But if you will not listen to me and carry out all these commands, and if you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant, then...I will take no delight in the pleasing aroma of your offerings" (Leviticus 26:14-16, 31)  So, God's decree for us to obey today is to be a pleasing aroma to God among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.

Just like the aroma of Old Testament offerings/sacrifices were in the midst of the people or camp, the 2 Corinthians 2:15 verse locates the aroma of Christ that Christians represent as among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.  So, Believers are not only the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27), the Salt of the earth and Light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16), but we are also the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. So, is your Christ-like, spiritual aroma before others sweet or sour to God and others?  I know I still need help with my sweetness, my aroma of Christ.