October 7, 2014
II Corinthians 2:14-16
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
On July 1 of last year I wrote a blog entitled Gospel Odor, using the same scripture featured today. That title – and the one today, Leaving The Scent – were and are chosen because of what Paul said in II Corinthians 2:14-16:
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 to death, and to the other the aroma of life to life. And who is
sufficient for these things?
Fragrance and aroma – Jesus diffused that scent as He walked this earth 2,000 years ago. As the apostle said in verses 15 and 16, “To…those who are perishing…we are the aroma of death to death, and to…those who are being saved…the aroma of life to life.” And we are to do the same by the fact of His indwelling presence through the Holy Spirit within us. When “…those who are perishing…” are in our presence, the testimony of what we say and the way we live should leave the distinct impression that those living outside of the gracious salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ are under the Father’s condemnation and headed for hell – “…death to death…”! If that sounds harsh, the same is clearly written in John 3:18 and 36: “…he who does not believe…in the name of the only begotten Son of God…is condemned already…and he…shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
The other effect of our testimony is “…life to life.” It is the same fragrance and aroma, but it should bring to the mind of “…those who are being saved…” – those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior – that they have “…everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but [have already]…passed from death into life.” (John 5:24). (The emboldened and underlined words emphasize the meaning in the original Greek.)
That sure is a tall order! Is it any wonder that Paul, at the end of verse 16 of our scripture, writes, “And who is sufficient for these things? ” No one is! It is too much for anyone to bear witness to such serious life and death business! But God is up to the task! And – as it says in Philippians 2:13, “…it is God who works in us both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”
And so these last two weeks, as my wife and I traveled to two reunions – my 50th high school reunion, and my Air Force 656th Radar Squadron reunion – my prayer was for God to prepare us to leave the proper witness – fragrance and aroma, if you will – in our wake. I had been asked to have prayer at both occasions, and I wanted to share a few words of testimony before I led those gathered in petition to the Father.
God honored my prayers and gave me just the words to say. At my class reunion, and before my prayer, I gave a brief testimony of God’s power in my life:
Those who knew me in high school are still amazed that I ended up a Baptist
minister – for 42 years now. You see, my father left our family when I was ten,
and – although I could not identify the pain I was experiencing, I drank to cover
it up. I started drinking when I was twelve, and was an alcoholic by the time I
was 15! But at age 19, and in the Air Force, I discovered three things: Jesus
was real, He was alive, and He loved me! And I fell head over heals in love
with Him! I have since learned much more about Him by reading and studying
the Bible. But I stand here as testimony to the fact that God still works miracles
today. I am not yet the finished product, He is still working on me. But I am a
lot different from when you knew me in high school.
Let us pray….
And so I led a prayer before my classmates for them and their families, and for the families of the twenty of the 144 graduates who have died over the last 50 years. I also offered my card to any who would like one – the card listing this website. I laid out about 20 cards, and 15 were taken. My prayer now is that God will use this site – as well as my testimony and prayer at our reunion – to bring my classmates to Jesus Christ and to strengthen those who have already trusted Him as their Savior.
I endeavored to leave the same scent at my Air Force reunion.
May you be blessed by my efforts here at Gems For Living.