Pleasing Fragrance to God

By Gil Rugh

The Old Testament sacrifices were a foreshadowing of Jesus, the Son of God, and His ultimate sacrifice on the cross. They could never take away sin, and yet they were a soothing aroma, a pleasing fragrance to the Lord.

God said to Moses, “The priest shall offer up in smoke all of it on the altar for a burnt offering, an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to the Lord” (Leviticus 1:9, emphasis mine).

In the New Testament, Paul wrote: “[God] 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 (2 Corinthians 2:14-16).

What is this sweet aroma? the pleasing fragrance that God manifests through us? It’s the knowledge of Christ. Telling people about His Son produces a fragrant, pleasing aroma to God. Like the Old Testament sacrifices, God is pleased with the aroma produced through the telling of His Son’s sacrifice.

Think about how important this is to God: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). And, the greatest demonstration of love is this, “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

God gave the gift of His Son knowing He would suffer and die on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. As human beings, we can’t fathom the enormity of His gift.

One thing we can grasp however, is that God is pleased when we tell people His beautiful message. As believers, we want to live a life that is pleasing to God. One of the things we can do to be pleasing to God is to tell people about Jesus Christ. When we share that message, a sweet aroma ascends to God . . . and He is pleased.

On top of that, God manifests this sweet aroma of the knowledge of Jesus “among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2:15).

There are only two groups of human beings—those who are being saved and those who are perishing. We know this because Jesus said, “He who is not with Me is against Me” (Matthew 12:30). There are no people in the middle. Until you place your faith in Jesus Christ, you are among the perishing, no matter how close you are to placing your faith in Christ.

Sometimes you share the gospel and a person responds negatively. You get discouraged, but do you know what is pleasing to God? You shared the gospel! It doesn’t matter in that sense whether the person believed or not, God is pleased with the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ.

That doesn’t mean we are indifferent to whether people believe and are saved. The burden of our heart is that they repent and believe in the Savior. For some, the knowledge of Christ is a life-giving fragrance. They hear, they believe, and they grow in the Truth. For others, they hear about Jesus and it confirms them in their lost condition. Even so, when we faithfully present the gospel, we are an aroma of Christ to God . . . and our heavenly Father is pleased.