One would think the smell is everything based on the millions of dollars the perfume industry spends on advertising its various scents. They would have us believe that happiness, success and popularity can all be achieved by using their particular perfume or cologne.
In a sense they are right. The scriptures also tell us that our scent is important. Of course, this subject is lifted up to a higher level which does not have anything to do with popularity or worldly success. It does, however, have everything to do with salvation.
Paul in his second letter to Corinth gives thanks to God “who always leads us in triumphal processions in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved, and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to other, the fragrance of life”. Paul here acknowledges that some people will not like the aroma of believers. He describes it as “the smell of death” to those who are perishing. He is right about this. Jesus told us that “whosoever believeth in him should not perish”. Obviously then those who do not believe in him are perishing and these are the ones who avoid the aroma of Christ, for to them it is “the smell of death”.
On the other hand, if we love the Lord, our aroma is the fragrance of life to those like minded. It is our responsibility, as Paul put it, to “spread everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of God”. We have all experienced others being put off by us if we bring up the subject of religion or mention the return of Christ or the coming of the Kingdom. Those irritated by these remarks consider the aroma of Christ “the smell of death”. Paul describes these kinds of people when he says, “and even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things that are not convenient”.
We do not need to be concerned by their distaste for the “fragrance of life”. We can follow the example of Paul and Barnabas. We read that “Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the Word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles”.
We must not be put off by being rejected by those who consider the “aroma of Christ the smell of death”. That is their problem. If they reject our aroma, then we simply turn to others who like it. It is possible that some who at first did not like our aroma, may in time become attracted to the “fragrance of life”. We need to continue to “spread everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him” as Paul exhorted us. Those who love the Lord will be pleased with the “aroma of Christ” and will enjoy being around the “fragrance of life”. The big question we need to ask ourselves is this: Can others detect this aroma on us? In the world it is possible to use deodorants to cover up unwanted odours. Are we using “Left Guard” instead of the right “Right Guard”: and thereby concealing the “fragrance of the knowledge of him”?
The fact that the world considers this “the smell of death” should not cause us to cover up in our own lives the “aroma of Christ”. We need to be so heavily laden with the “fragrance of life” that everywhere we go we will be “to God the aroma of Christ”.
The LORD said to Moses that “whenever anyone presents an offering made by fire as an aroma pleasing to the LORD, he must do exactly as you”. If we want to make “an aroma pleasing to the LORD”, let us “do exactly” what Paul told us to do. He said “be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God”.