Note what the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers,
- “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.” (II Corinthians 2:15-16 – NASB)
It is an amazing contrast of effects that a person who is in Christ can have “among” those around him or her. If we follow the example of Paul, as he so instructed us to do in I Corinthians 11:1, to be “imitators of” him, then we will have a very profound effect on the world around us. And that effect will be “to the one an aroma from death to death” and “to the other an aroma from life to life.”
How are we to understand these contrasting effects, these opposite effects? In the day in which you and I live there are many messages being conveyed all around us. For instance, in the political arena there are those who live and espouse a conservative message, while there are those who, in contrast, speak forth and live out what is termed a liberal message. These contrasting messages have different effects on different people. Some receive the one message as smelling sweet while others believe it to be of a repugnant aroma. One considers the conservative message best and embraces it with a fervor while another takes the liberal message and becomes a zealot for it. Their lives and their conveyance of their messages certainly garner differing responses.
Christ, lived out in a believers life, will also bring contrasting effects, just as our text implies. The wonderful message of the Gospel will as one has said, “yield two diametrically opposite results.” Note,
- “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36 – NASB)
- “For this is contained in Scripture: ‘Behold I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, and he who believes in Him shall not be disappointed’ . . . But for those who disbelieve, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this became the very corner stone, and a stone of stumbling and rock of offense’” (I Peter 2:6-8 – NASB)
The testimony we convey as disciples of Christ brings contrasting effects. To some it is a message that provokes them to anger, hatred, and disdain. To others, it is a message that is received with favor. To one the message stinks and to the other it has a sweet smelling “aroma.” What is a wonderful thing to know is that whether our testimony for the Gospel “among” the people we come in contact with brings “life” or “death,” it is still “a fragrance of Christ to God,” and that brethren, matters the most.
Have a good day brethren . . . and as you walk be that fragrance of Christ to God.
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