Posted in 2Corinthians

The Fragrance of Christ

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life…” 2Corinthians 2:14-16

What do you smell like? Not how do you act or what do you do, but what does the essence of who you are smell like? The Lord’s command was not to do witnessing, but to be witnesses. Our very presence should bring people into God’s Presence if we are releasing the aroma of Christ. If people are invited to “taste and see that the Lord is good,” they should at least be able to smell His goodness on us and be drawn to Him the way they would be drawn to a good meal cooking in the oven.

I think it would be a great purpose statement to simply aim to bring the aroma of God’s beauty, love, and intimacy to every place we go and in every circumstance we face. We can’t control our lives, but we do choose where we turn in the uncontrollable events that happen every day. Will I turn to myself and become anxious and irritable or will I turn to God and allow His Presence in me to be released? If you want to get the fragrance out of a tea bag you put it in hot water. Maybe the reason we face all that we do is so God can release more of Himself through our lives.

Paul is using the imagery of a Roman triumph in this passage. The conquering general parades those who he has taken captive through the streets and incense is released throughout the city speaking of the victory that has been won. The captives of Rome were made to follow a general who had conquered them by force. We become part of Christ’s triumph when we willingly choose to surrender to His wonderful love and grace. The captives back then lost their old lives and became the prisoners and servants of Rome. We are called to lose our old lives to become prisoners of His love and servants of the kingdom of God.

Are you really His captive? Have you allowed Him to lead you away from your old life into His ways and Presence? If not, why not ask Him to fully capture you? Someone might need to smell Him.


Pastor at City Church in Madison, Wisconsin