My Pastor often uses a phrase during his sermons that can irritate me, or at least sound wrong for some reason. It is, “The Bible reeks of Jesus Christ”. Reeks…really? I’ve heard of trash reeking, farms reeking, and at times I will tell one of my boys that they reek. But the Word of God…I’m not so sure that’s the proper use of that word.
When something reeks it repels a person away from it. No one wants to smell something stinky or get close to it for sure. That’s like checking the milk to see if it has turned. You have to smell it to know, if it’s sour, you push it away fast. Or if someone has bad body odor we may give them a handshake but we probably won’t give them a big bear hug. If it reeks, it repels.
So I’ve been reading Paul’s letters to the Corinthians lately (awesome books of the Bible by the way, you should check them out) and I come across these verses:
“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?” 2 Cor. 2:14-16
What? Not only does it talk about the Word of God having a fragrance (“the knowledge of him” = the gospel of Christ = God’s Word), but it also talks about Christians having an aroma! Now we already know that people can have different smells good and bad, but this passage speaks of something more, a powerful spiritual aroma.
Keep in mind that Paul is speaking only to Christians here and he says that as Christians we have the “aroma of Christ” and we smell different to different people. To one we smell like death (does the word “reek” come to mind?) and to the other we smell like life. Wow, we are some pretty potent people! Either others will be drawn towards us or repelled away from us. Both of these reactions come from the same scent which is the knowledge of Jesus Christ that is in us.
Why does this happen? If you belong to the World you hate Jesus and are repelled, but if you belong to God, you love the knowledge of him and are drawn. It says in John 15:19, “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” As you can see there are two very different groups of people here: worldly/hate/repelled vs. godly/love/drawn.
This is why when you mention Jesus in a conversation some will engage and have a conversation and others will shut down and end the discussion. If you have never experienced this before, it may be time to take a good long whiff of yourself. Have you been spending enough time with your Savior to smell like him? Or do you smell way too much like the world around you?
You need to have the aroma of Christ well applied and then spread “the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.” Just like the Word of God tells us too. Remember that this fragrance is life to many of those around you; Jesus draws others to him through you. This is very exciting news! Don’t feel bad about smelling like death to some around you and knowing that the World hates you. It is great assurance that you belong to Christ! It is a great thing to reek of Jesus Christ!
...Did I really just say that? Could it be true…my Pastor is right? Aw, man, can’t he be wrong just once? Well, not this time I guess.