What Do You Smell Like? - Encouragement Café - July 4

What Do You Smell Like?
 By Joan Walker Hahn

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.  For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.  To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life.  And who is sufficient for these things? 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 NKJV

No, this is not a commercial for perfume or deodorant.  But when I recently read this passage in 2 Corinthians, this thought came to me, “I wonder what God thinks I smell like?”

In the Old Testament, people would offer sacrifices to God.  The people were given detailed instructions about how to offer those sacrifices.  If the sacrifices were offered exactly how God had instructed them, the aroma was sweet to Him.  But if the sacrifice involved offering of an unclean or blemished animal, or if the offering was not given with the right motives, those sacrifices were an abomination, a stench, to God.

The people also had to give those sacrifices over and over, year after year.  We no longer have to worry today about offering burnt sacrifices.  Christ came and gave His life as our sacrifice, once and for all, so that we can obtain forgiveness of our sins and have a right-standing before God.  But we still need to make a sacrifice every day.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:1 NKJV

When we accept Christ as our Savior, we have moments we truly try to live for God.  But then, I think, we have moments when we take His sacrifice for our sins for granted.  We know we can ask for forgiveness at any time, so we may think it’s ok to do something we shouldn’t do, or not do something we should do, knowing we can ask God for forgiveness afterwards.  We seem to forget God sees our hearts and He knows our thoughts.  Unless we truly become broken and repent and turn away from our sin, God is not obligated to forgive us.  I think it’s then that our sacrifice becomes a stench to Him instead of a sweet aroma.

I’m not saying that people in the Old Testament were more serious about their sacrifices to God than we are today.  They were obeying the Law.  But they saw God often handing down judgment.  They experienced His judgment themselves when they turned away from Him and were defeated by their enemies.  When they followed God, they were given victory over their enemies who worshipped and offered sacrifices to false gods.  They knew with certainty that God was very serious about sin.  So it was a very serious thing for them to offer sacrifices for their sins. I think they probably offered sacrifices in great fear and trembling, hoping God would accept their sacrifices.

But how many today just simply ask God for forgiveness without complete sacrifice of their hearts?  We don’t seem to fear His judgment or worry about the broken relationship caused by having sin in our lives.

It’s time we start emphasizing the seriousness of sin.  It’s time to come before Christ in fear and trembling, come before Him in awe of His sacrifice for us. It’s time to make sure our hearts are offered completely and without the blemish of sins we are trying to hold on to.

We need to make sure the sacrifice of our hearts and lives to Him makes Him say, “Your sacrifice is a sweet aroma to Me.”

Heavenly Father, I offer You praise for allowing Your Son to be the ultimate sacrifice for my sins. Help me not to take that sacrifice and the gift of salvation lightly.  May I remember the seriousness of sin and that it cost Jesus His life. I offer You now my praise, my heart and my life.  May my life be a pleasing aroma to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

For more encouragement, visit Joan at http://www.joanwalkerhahn.com.

© 2021 by Joan Walker Hahn.  All rights reserved.

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Originally published Tuesday, 04 July 2023.