God takes the places where others see dry, broken, dusty nothingness and he brings great beauty. As believers in Christ we have been set apart. In the midst of a desert each one of us is blooming for Him. In his grace he has turned us from death, from the ugliness of sin, and he has given us salvation if we will just receive it. He has taken our ugliness and made it beautiful.
2 Corinthians 2:15 “For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”
When God looks on us he no longer sees a broken dry heart, he no longer sees our sin, he sees Christ’s perfection. Throughout the Old Testament incense and spice are sacrificed to God. Incense often represented the prayers of the people being lifted up to God. We see this in Psalm 141:2 and later in Luke 1:9-10.
Genesis 8:20-21 says that the aroma is soothing to God and appeases his wrath. But in Jeremiah 6:20 we discover the fragrance itself in not enough. “There’s no use offering me sweet frankincense from Sheba. Keep your fragrant calamus imported from distant lands! I will not accept your burnt offerings. Your sacrifices have no pleasing aroma for me.” God was looking for obedience not just sacrifice. He did not want a foreign incense offered up to him.
So what does it mean that we are the fragrance of Christ? I don’t know about you but I still struggle with sin. I offer up prayers in the midst of my brokenness and doubt. There have been moments where I’ve wished God wasn’t the God who sees because I don’t want him to see my faults, my constant failings, struggles and my doubt.
But unlike in Jeremiah 6 where the aroma was foreign and unpleasing, we bare the fragrance of Christ. The greatest sacrifice of all. Even on my worst days I am covered by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. So the big question right now. The one we are probably all thinking or at least have at one time is does this mean we should go on living however we please?
The apostle Paul addressed this question already in Romans 6:1-2 “Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it.”
Once we realize just how amazing God’s grace is that’s when we truly begin to bloom. God sees us as the beautiful blooms we will become long before we become them.
Ephesians 5:1-2 “Imitate God, therefore in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.”
And you know what? That’s what God sees, the fragrance isn’t foreign it is familiar, it is His son and He is pleased.
Prayer: Thank you
Thought for the day: Don’t dwell on how you don’t measure up. Dwell on the fact that God has accepted you just as you are, dwell on the immense gift of His grace.