A characteristic of smell is that it points to something.
- The smell of a pizza leads you to a pizza.
- The smell of lavender leads you to a lavender bush.
- The smell of freshly cut grass points to someone mowing the lawn.
Smells point to something.
Now to the Bible.
The savour of sacrifice
Now the Old Testament describes the nature of sacrifices.
When those sacrifices were offered rightly and burned, the scent of animal flesh on the altar was “a sweet savour (pleasing smell) to the LORD” (Lev. 1:9).
These sacrifices points to Christ. Christ was offered as a sacrifice to God, to save his people, which is described as a sweetsmelling savour (Ephesians 5:2).
We are called to be pleasing to Him.
We are called to give ourselves as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1), so our very lives should be pleasing to Him. In that sense, the way we act and live should give off an air of Christ. The things we do and the attitudes with which we do them should demonstrate that Christ is near. If we are the aroma of Christ, we are also pointing to Jesus’s sacrifice – and that believing that truth has changed us.
Jesus’ sacrifice was a sweet smell to God. When we live lives pleasing to God, we also are a smell that points to Jesus.
Spreading the fragrance (gospel) throughout the world
2 Corinthians 2:14-16 – “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?”
When the gospel is preached around the world, and people serve God faithfully in doing so, it is a sweet savour to God. But for those that listen the smell is different. To some the smell is of life – they hear of Christ’s sacrifice and smell the forgiveness. Others heard the same word about Christ’s sacrifice and smell only death and the death to which they also are condemned when they reject Christ.
What does Christ’s sacrifice smell like to you? Forgiveness and life, or death.