Job 29:18-30:31; 2 Corinthians 2:15-17; Psalms 43:1-4; Proverbs 14:3-4
NT: “For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To some we are an aroma of death leading to death, but to others, an aroma of life leading to life. Who is adequate for these things? For we do not market the word of God for profit like so many. On the contrary, we speak with sincerity in Christ, as from God and before God.” (2 Corinthians 2:15-17 CSB)
In the Roman Triumph parade, not only were there the victorious soldiers and the defeated enemy, there were also priests that were offering up incense in tribute to the victorious general. The aroma of the incense was a sweet smell to those who were being honored, but to the defeated enemy, it was the smell of impending death. Paul explained that the aroma in Christ’s triumph is the knowledge of God. We are the priests who are called to release the fragrance of Christ in the world through praise and the proclamation of the gospel. The Apostle Peter described our call in this way, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).”
When we proclaim the gospel, we proclaim the praises of Christ by declaring how He was victorious over the kingdom of darkness, how He set us free from our debt and bondage to sin, and established us in His kingdom of light. When we release that knowledge of God and Christ, we are like the priests in the triumph parade diffusing the aroma of incense. The message of the gospel is a message of eternal consequence – it is a message of life and death. There is no middle ground of compromise in the gospel. You either believe and respond to the message and live, or you reject the message and suffer death. To those who believe and respond to the message of the gospel, we who have proclaimed the gospel carry a pleasant and life-giving fragrance. To those who reject the gospel and are offended by the absoluteness of its message, we who have proclaimed the gospel are a repulsive reminder of their hopeless and lifeless end.
Because of the life and death, no compromise nature of the gospel, some may be tempted to mask the notes of death in the message through slick marketing. In order to make the message more tolerable and acceptable to the masses, we may be tempted to filter out the parts that may offend those unwilling to devote their lives to the King. The gospel does not need our help and our marketing. It is the power of God for salvation to those who believe its full message. If we strip away the message, we strip away it’s power to fully save. Instead of trying to please everyone, we need to be faithful, humble and sincere communicators of the life and death message of the gospel for the sake of those who will believe its message and be fully saved from death to life and darkness to light. Let us be faithful communicators of the gospel that was given to us by God through Christ, and enjoy the privilege of being priests in Christ’s triumphal parade that proclaim the good news of His victory over darkness and His offer of life and light forevermore.
Prayer: Lord, what an honor You have given me – to be a part of Your royal priesthood, called to proclaim Your praises and the power of the gospel. Help me to be the pure and unadulterated fragrance of Christ to all people. Remind me, by Your Spirit, to not market the gospel and wrap it up in a socially acceptable package, but to sincerely preach the full and powerful message of God’s gospel that is realized through faith in Christ. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.