By Randy Fenter
"But Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphant procession 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. "For to one we are the smell of
death; to the other the fragrance of life." II Corinthians 2:14-16
When a Roman conqueror returned to the city, the Senate would arrange
for him a triumphal procession. Swelling throngs would engulf the
procession, cheering the conqueror as he rode by. Marching before the
conqueror's chariot were captives bearing smoking pots of incense and
wearing garlands of flowers. These prisoners would be allowed to return
to their native country and serve as Rome's emissaries.
Behind the chariot marched other captives; these men and women were
joined together with heavy chains that clattered over the rough
cobblestones. For them, the procession was a cruel gauntlet ending in
To the first group the sweet smell of garlands and incense was "the
fragrance of life." To the second group it was "the smell of death."
That is precisely the effect we have on others as God, through us,
"spreads everywhere the fragrance of knowledge of Him." We do not leave
the world the same. As God spreads the fragrance of Jesus over the world
through us, we affect people in one of two ways; they either become
bitter or better. Either way, they go away differently. To those who
refuse the King of Kings we are "the smell of death." They know the
demands of the conqueror and they refuse him. To those who freely give
up their citizenship to accept citizenship in His Kingdom, we are the
"fragrance of life."
To both groups we are an unforgettable fragrance. We leave no one the same.
"Come Unto Me," the weekly bulletin of the Richfield Church of Christ, Richfield, MN, June 18, 1996, p. 2.