For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. ~ II Corinthians 2:15, 16a (ESV)
READING: II Corinthians 2:12-17
When Paul spoke of Christ leading us in triumphal procession, he used the imagery of the “Roman Triumph,” a victory parade honoring a conquering general. The general led his army through the streets of Rome into the arena. For his soldiers, this was a day of highest honor and joyful celebration.
Toward the rear of the parade were the vanquished enemy soldiers. Defeated and downcast, they trudged along in chains, knowing they would be killed when they reached the Coliseum.
Priests of ancient Rome accompanied the processional, twirling censers of burning incense. The sweet smell was a victory fragrance for the general and his army. But for the prisoners, it was the stench of death.
As we follow Christ and proclaim His gospel, there are only two kinds of people we meet: those who are being saved and those who are perishing. For some, the fragrance of Christ is the sweetest aroma they’ve ever experienced. They believe the gospel and are transformed. Others “smell” Christ and turn away. They are moving inexorably toward eternal death.
Church planting polarizes people. New churches that live for Christ and faithfully teach the Bible begin to “smell” like Jesus. That fragrance wafts through our neighborhoods and into homes, shops, offices and schools. People are either drawn to the Savior or they are repelled.
Lord, Help our new church to be faithful to live for Christ and to share the gospel. And we’ll trust You to bring the fragrance of Christ that attracts and transforms. Amen.
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