2 Corinthians 2:15 For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.
Once upon a time, I worked in a deli department of a grocery store. Because I was one of the few guys in there, I was given some of the grunt work, the lifting. One of those jobs was to bring in the cases of frozen chicken and man the fryer. I had the privilege of dunking those wings in hot oil and I even had the exciting opportunity to change out the oil. Oooo – fun. When I came home from work in the evening, people in my house would tell me I smelled like fried chicken. Something tells me this wasn’t a compliment. I think they were trying to tell me to go take a shower.
It’s true, though, that when you hang around something smelly, you smell like it. Fishermen smell like fish, bakers come home smelling like bread, cow farmers smell like… I think you get the point. There are smells that just seem to rub off on us when we spend lots of time in that environment. Apparently Jesus is one of those smells. If you spend time with Jesus, you begin to smell like him. All your buddies should be saying, “dude, you smell like… *sniff… Jesus.”
Well this is certainly a strange concept. I know I am supposed to look like Jesus, but smell like Him? Why this illustration? To find the answer, we can go all the way back to Genesis chapter 4. Since sin came into the world, God required a sacrifice to atone for the sins of His people. He wouldn’t just commune with them in their sinful state. They needed to make a sacrifice. So there were these two guys, brothers actually, named Cain and Abel. They were to burn a sacrifice to God and the aroma would satisfy Him. Abel sacrifices a sheep and burns some of the meat to God; He was pleased. Cain, however, grabs some fruits and veggies and makes His sacrifice; God wasn’t thrilled. Which goes to show you that even God doesn’t like to eat His vegetables. Just kidding. The issue was a heart one not a meat vs. potatoes one. I digress.
The point is that there was an aroma that went up to God to atone for the sins of the people. Jesus became that sacrifice and the aroma that atoned for the sins of all mankind. That includes me and you. When we are in Him, God sees us through Him. So in essence we smell like the aroma of Jesus – and God is satisfied. This is a good thing. Because on my own, I stink. On my own, I could never please God. But in Christ, I get to smell like Jesus. And not only should I smell like Jesus to God, but I should smell like Jesus to the world around me.