#MeditationMonday – Out of the abundance of a man’s heart, his mouth speaks.
But 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. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.
— II Corinthians 2: 14-17 (NASB)
Every believer has been commissioned to preach the gospel to all the earth. As we obey this great call in our unique and different ways, today’s #MeditationMonday verse is something key we must carry with us in our hearts.
Firstly, we must always remember that we can do nothing on our own. Paul tells us clearly here that a believer’s triumphs are all in Christ. By ourselves we are weak; but in Christ we can triumph! It is God who causes us to triumph in Christ Jesus and when we preach the gospel sincerely without alterations, we manifest the sweet aroma of God’s knowledge in that place.
The success of the gospel is different from person to person. Some are saved by it, while others perish under it (The Law).
Unto some it is a savour of death unto death. i.e. From death: extending from physical death unto death: separation from God through sin leading to eternal death.
Those who are willingly ignorant, and wilfully obstinate, disrelish the gospel, as men dislike an ill savour, and therefore they are blinded and hardened by it: it stirs up their corruptions, and exasperates their spirits. They reject the gospel, to their ruin, even to spiritual and eternal death. — Matthew Henry
While unto others the gospel is a savour of life unto life. i.e. From Life: Extending Physical life, unto life: eternal life and reconciliation with God.
To humble and gracious souls the preaching of the word is most delightful and profitable. As it is sweeter than honey to the taste, so it is more grateful than the most precious odours to the senses, and much more profitable; for as it quickened them at first, when they were dead in trespasses and sins,so it makes them more lively, and will end in eternal life. — Matthew Henry
When Jesus was on earth, He manifested the savour of God’s knowledge in a way that all those who tasted it were filled with life and not death.
As you go about your daily activities, you meet all sorts of people and preach the gospel to them through your words and actions. Are you doing this in a way that brings life or death? #MeditateOnThis
The word of God is perfect, the gospel is good news, not bad. Often times, the issue is that mens hearts are hardened and thus they willingly reject the savour of God’s knowledge. Nonetheless, we must take caution not to peddle the word of God with anything less than truth and sincerity. Luring people with a false gospel is to release a savour of death unto death.
Finally, Who is sufficient for these things? (v.16)
Who is worthy to be employed in such weighty work, a work of such vast importance, because of such great consequence?
Ministry is not a joke. If men did seriously consider what great things depend upon the preaching of the gospel, and how difficult the work of the ministry is, they would be very cautious how they enter into it, and very careful to perform it well because faithful ministers shall be accepted of God no matter whatever their success be.
If we are faithful, we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ (v.15), both in those who are saved and in those also who perish. Our God will accept sincere intentions, and honest endeavours; Even though they are not successful with many. Ministers shall be accepted and recompensed, not according to their success, but according to their fidelity. This is where many miss it, they think they will be judged by success, so they compromise the truth to a gain great following — something the Lord Jesus would never do.
There is an interplay in this scripture between preaching the unadulterated gospel whether it is successful or not and peddling a false gospel which creates an appearance of success — God is not mocked, neither can He be fooled. It is better to manifest the savour of God’s knowledge that leads to life, than to manifest a savour of God’s knowledge that leads to death. False gospel causes one to remain in the darkness of ignorance and woe betide all those leading people astray with it. Take the illustration below:
Acts 8 (NASB, Selected Verses)
Now there was a man named Simon, who formerly was practicing magic in the city and astonishing the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great; and they all, from smallest to greatest, were giving attention to him, saying, “This man is what is called the Great Power of God.” And they were giving him attention because he had for a long time astonished them with his his magic arts.
Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John,
Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! “You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. “Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you. “For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity.”
Just like Peter would not be tempted in the passage above, neither would Paul in our earlier verses. Though many corrupted the word of God, Paul’s conscience witnessed to his fidelity. He did not mix his own notions with the doctrines and institutions of Christ; he did not add to, nor diminish from, the word of God; he was faithful in dispensing the gospel, as he received it from the Lord, and had no secular turn to serve. His aim was to approve himself to God, remembering that God’s eye was always upon him; therefore he spoke and acted always as if he were in the sight of God, and therefore in sincerity. This is what we should all aim towards; a desire to share the sweet smell and taste of all God has to offer without any hidden self-interest.
What we do when we preach the gospel is not of God, does not come from God and will not reach to God, unless it be done in sincerity, as in the sight of God.
— Matthew Henry.
Prayer: Father, thank you for giving me victory in Christ and causing my heart to triumph. As I obey you by telling the world of your wondrous works; help me to manifest the savour of Your knowledge which leads from life unto life. Lord, strengthen me that I may overcome every temptation to peddle a gospel which lacks the sincerity and truth of your word. In Jesus name (Amen).
Grace & Peace!