4 But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? — 2 Cor. 2:14-16 NIV
In the first century, when a king or leader had conquered a new territory, he would bring the captives back to his country and parade them down “main street’. This was to show his subjects how powerful he was and to receive their worship and praise. It also reminded them of what could happen if they ever decided to be disloyal to the king. These were unwilling captives. Paul is giving thanks to God that we are led in this triumphal procession as willing captives. We are captives and bondservants because we have chosen Jesus as our Savior and King. Now, it is time for each of us “to spread the aroma of the knowledge of Him everywhere”. That Word will be good news to some because they will receive the Word with gladness of heart, accept Jesus and receive the gift of forgiveness and eternal life. It will be a stench in the nostrils of those who refuse to accept our God as the only true and living God and Jesus as their Savior and King. That rejection will lead to death and eternal punishment. Just as Paul felt inadequate to do that job, so should we. As he says, “who is equal to such a task?” None of us can do this work alone, It must be Spirit-led and Spirit-fed. As Paul also explains, “I can do all things through Jesus Christ”. And so can we do all things through Jesus. It is His plan, His purpose and it is accomplished by His power, not ours. We are to be faithful and follow His example.
1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. — Eph. 5:1 NIV
We are to offer our lives as a sacrifice and a fragrant offering to God. Just as bees are drawn to honey, others are drawn to Jesus by people who live sacrificial lives.
Do our lifestyles release a sweet smelling aroma of life or a stench of death?