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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Forgiveness Factor (part 7): The Fragrance Of Forgiveness In The Gospel

If you had to lose one of your five senses, which would you choose? You can always close your eyes if you don’t want to see something and you can plug your ears if you don’t want to hear--but you can’t escape smell. Sure, you can hold your nose (or breath), but you must breathe--and when you do, every odor comes wafting in. If you did not smell, you could not taste. You might not even remember, as smells connect us with times and places. You can see, even hear from a distance, but smell requires close proximity--unless you’re a vulture.

When I finish a long distance run, or a grueling training session outside, one might find me lying flat on my back in exhaustion. There have been times when laying on the ground, I look up in the sky and see buzzards checking me out, but they don’t mess with me because I smell alive. I may look dead, I may even feel dead, but those buzzards, who live by death, can tell the difference. Honestly, I am just troubled that they show up at all . . .

To those saved from sin, the gospel smells like life (2 Corinthians 2:14–15, 16b). Scripture connects prayer with incense and God calls us to make our lives a fragrant aroma. We do this by carrying the odor of Christ to others. His very name “Christ” carries with it the memory of sacred smell. “Christ” is Greek for “the Anointed One” connecting Him with the sweet fragrance of the anointing oil of sacred worship. Because of this, when we carry Christ with us, we smell like Christ. What does Christ smell like? The smell of life is smell of holiness. When we extend forgiveness to others, like Christ did for us, we spread the fragrance.

To those who remain unforgiven, who will not repent, the gospel smells like death (2:16a). Ever notice how things change when people around you “catch wind” that you’re a Christian? The world can’t figure us out, yet “watch your language around pastor” or “You can’t do THAT when she’s around.”

Being a Christian does not mean you can’t have pleasure or have fun. Do all to the glory of God! Do everything properly and in good order, enjoying Him as you do it! But that’s the catch--the lost want nothing to do with God, so they can’t enjoy anything to His glory. The world is it’s own buzz-kill.

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