“For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savor of death unto death; and to the other the savor of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?”2 Corinthians 2:15-16
The savor that is spoken of here is the savor of victory; the victorious Christ, our salvation. Matthew Henry’s commentary says this about it: “In ancient triumphs, abundance of perfumes and sweet odors were used; so the name and salvation of Jesus, as ointment poured out, was a sweet savour diffused in every place.” Therefore, I pose that our reasonable service, which is ourselves as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1) is to God a savor (like incense) of the victory from His Son in us. Our service and devotion to Christ is also a savor to those around us. This is both heartbreaking and wonderful at the same time.
I’m a receptionist. This means any time there is a problem, complaints/concerns come to me. Today, four people who mentioned an odor in the office. Two said they smelled something terrible, the other two smelled something sweet. I have yet to figure out what the smell was or where it came from. The point is, to some it was terrible. To others, wonderful. This is how it is when we walk around in this broken world. To some we are an abhorrent; to others, an encouragement.
Case in point: One of the members of the Next-door app posted a Bible verse and included their joy in being saved. Many comments ensued as you can imagine. Some showed gratitude for the encouragement, others were put off by it. His post ended up being reported and will likely be removed.
“The message of Christ is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”1 Corinthians 1:18
There are a few things I’ve taken away from this revelation:
- There are still those who are perishing; those who either don’t know or have rejected Christ. This breaks my heart, especially since I know so many of these myself (those who have rejected Him or have a skewed understanding of Him). As we are led by the Spirit, we should pray for these individuals and spread the Good News of Jesus by preaching Christ and Him crucified (and risen again and coming soon).
- There is still so much in me that needs to be given over to God for me to grasp the triumph in Christ and have the kind of savor that is pleasing to Him. God is faithful to do the work and finish it if I am faithful to listen to His leading and give up my “self” nature.
- The life I am trying to live and the choices I’m making for my family and myself in surrendering to Christ are going to be a frustration to some, a reminder to others, and an encouragement to still more. Their response to my obedience in Christ are not toward me, but toward Jesus Himself. Some will reject me – yet have already rejected Him, some will accept me – and have already accepted Him. It’s not up to me to worry about their responses to my obedience.
- I need to not weary in doing good. Sometimes it is hard to be kind, to continue on the path of righteousness, to give up myself. If I weary of it or quit, I’ll lose my savor and be useless.
“You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt loses his savor, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”Matthew 5:13
Those of you who are becoming tired, I beg you – go get on your knees before the author and perfecter of our faith. Ask for His endurance, for He resisted unto the shedding of blood. We haven’t gotten to that point yet, but I know from firsthand experience that resistance is sometimes painful. But the victory that comes from our obedience (which is our faith in action) is greater by far than the initial pain of resisting sin, temptation, the devil, our own will. Don’t quit. Go to Him. He is faithful to take the burden from you and exchange it for His joy and peace.
Prayer: God help me to be a sweet fragrance unto You. Teach me to be obedient in all things and to endure your refining. I know that it is You working in me to will and to work according to Your good pleasure, so I submit to Your work in me and to Your will. Please help me to root out any area of my life that isn’t submitted to You and that gives off an unpleasing odor. I pray for those around me who don’t know You to be drawn to the sweet savor of You in me. I pray You silence the lies of the enemy and their own minds. And I pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ, that together our love would increase more and more and that we would be a sweet savor unto You. Thank You for being our victor. In Jesus’s name, Amen.