THE FRAGRANCE OF CHRIST

I have noticed when someone lives their life openly, in the light, it is an offense to those living in the dark. I suppose  everyone is affected by it in one of two ways. Paul said it this way, “Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of him in every place.” Apparently to some the smell is great and others aren’t so enamored by it… “to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life.”

Sometimes people are angry simply because you’re not. Have you ever had the experience of someone being mean to you only to discover it is because of their own unhappiness? Apparently it happens all the time. When someone is in bondage in some way, and they come across you living in freedom, they can’t stand it so they lash out. Jesus lived with it throughout his whole ministry. It didn’t seem to matter what Jesus or the disciples did there was some religious group pointing and accusing them of wrongdoing.

One time during a confrontation with some religious Jews Jesus challenged them. He said, “Because I speak the truth, you do not believe me. Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe me? He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.” Pretty tough words wouldn’t you say? Jesus lived in the light and wasn’t afraid of them pointing out anything because he knew it wasn’t there. Even still, the conflict between him and the religious leaders didn’t end until the cross. When will we come to grips with this? If Christ lives in us the same conflict between the light and dark, good and evil, and those that are free and them that are in bondage continues to rage only now we’ve found ourselves in the middle of it.

Paul addressed this in the Galatian letter. Of course that letter was written to remind the Galatians of their freedom in Christ. There were some religious men that had crept in and attempted to put them under law. Paul told them “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” He used the story of Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Ishmael and Isaac to make his case. I won’t go into too much detail because you can read it yourself in Galatians 4. Let me just quote this “But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also…So then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman.”

Living in the freedom and light that Christ has given us has a cost. While salvation, and all that comes with it, was purchased for us on the cross; living in all he has given us will have its share of suffering with it. While we are promised our share of suffering the good news is we are also promised glory! “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us.” Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and his glory!

Written by Louie

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