Sweet Aroma to God
"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. And who is adequate for these things? For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God." - 2 Cor 2:14-17
1) What an interesting concept we can learn about true gospel preaching. Knowledge is a sweet aroma to God; and in every place the true, unadulterated word of God is taught, it pleases Him. Our goal in proclaiming Christ should never be results oriented, at least as far as numbers are concerned. It’s about permeating His message to the world so that all men can know truth. In a world of politics, lies, and half-truths, nothing pleases God more when His creation is acutely aware of who He is, what He has done, and what He demands. Our work is a work of proclaiming all knowledge about Him in every place.
2) We also learn that this knowledge saves some people and condemns others; and this too is a sweet aroma to God. The preaching of God’s word should never to be measured by how many people respond positively to it. In fact, many more will reject it than receive it (Matt 7:13-14). We must be content with letting the gospel be its own drawing power. Jesus fit this image in His own preaching in John 6 when he deliberately worded His teaching in such a way to see who it would draw and who it would repel – “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has everlasting life" (John 6:54). We read the result of this teaching was that many disciples withdrew and would not walk with Him anymore (John 6:66) and yet others stayed because they inferred He had truth (John 6:67-68). In both instances, the leaving and the staying, it was a sweet aroma unto God.
3) Finally, we learn that the beginning of back sliding is when people are no longer content to let the gospel “do its thing”. They begin substituting God’s wisdom with worldly wisdom. This is the “peddling” Paul refers to in vs. 17. This means a diluting of the message. False teaching is not the only teaching we need to beware of; equally dangerous is teaching that doesn’t reveal the whole truth for fear it will turn people away. This false concept of teaching/preaching is disguised with buzz words such as “negative”, “harsh”, etc. So churches begin to market a brand of Christianity that takes away the “rough edges”. They become numbers oriented and view an increase in membership as success. They demand teaching that isn’t controversial or that would cause people to leave. Inevitably, this leads to the very thing these churches tried to avoid. Faithful Christians who hunger and thirst for righteousness and substance in teaching will eventually leave and that church will be left only with the carnal minded leading the charge. It is an age old problem that dates 2000 years. Keep your eyes and ears open and attuned to what you see and hear at your local church and be weary of the smoke and mirrors this problem is disguised in.