LAKEVIEW MISSIONARY CHURCH
Weekly Update for February 1, 2023
THE SMELL OF A CHRISTIAN
The apostle Paul describes his ministry in 2 Corinthians 2:14 through 6:10 in a more authentic way than anywhere else. He starts this long section in this way, “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?” (2 Corinthians 2:14–16, NASB).
There are a couple cultural images that Paul utilizes which are easy for us to miss. First, in verse fourteen when he writes, “God, who leads us in triumph in Christ,” likely is an intentional connection to how a Roman conqueror of their time would lead his captives in triumph around a city that he had recently subjugated.
When Paul writes this it means that we don’t lead, but instead we follow the lead of Jesus. Christ is our king and the one that leads us into battle. Effective ministry only happens when we are in the wake of Christ who goes ahead of us making a path for us to follow. One commentary I read this week put it like this: “If we were to keep this principle in the center of our focus, we would see fewer names on ministries, projects, buildings, and churches. People would give anonymously, lead from among the ranks, and seek their reward from Christ in the future rather than recognition from Christians in the present”
The second cultural image is in verses fifteen and sixteen when Paul writes, “we are a fragrance of Christ among . . . saved and . . . perishing.” This is an additional connection to a Roman conqueror of their time. When the Roman conqueror would parade around a city in triumph often there would be a procession that included priests that would carry giant censers of smoking incense. The smell would saturate the air around the celebrators in gladness and the conquered in sadness. When we follow Jesus we should give off an aroma with our words and our works. These things either encourage people to accept our beliefs about God or to reject them. This also means we feature God’s grace for others to enjoy.
Wherever we go in life it is good to remember that we are following Jesus as we do ministry. And that we have a smell that should saturate
Christopher L. Scott
 Charles Swindoll, Insights on 1 & 2 Corinthians (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale Publishers, 2017), 316.