“For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.” 2 Cor. 2:15-16
In Genesis, we read that God wiped out mankind with water because of their wickedness. However, he preserved Noah, his family, and many creatures for multiplication of the earth afterward. After the flood, Noah began to sacrifice the clean animals that were kept to the Lord in thanksgiving for preserving his life. Scripture says that God was pleased when he smelled this aroma and promised to never again curse the ground with water (Gen. 8:20-22).
This event brings to light the holy God and an unholy people, along with the fact that something must be done. God could continue to wipe out all the wicked people from the earth, but since no one is immune to sin, it would mean complete destruction. We see as God’s people attempted to make atonement for their own sins by presenting their own righteous deeds to God, but their offerings were never sufficient to please Him or cover their sinfulness. Sinful hearts cannot undo or overcome sin.
“Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Psalm 51:5
We know that our God does not delight in sacrifice alone (Psalm 51:16). We know that the flood did not defeat sin nor did Israel’s burnt offerings satisfy the wrath of God. Man was still wicked and in need of a Savior. But how could man be saved?
By God alone.
Man is sinful, thus hopeless, but God, “who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession,” provided the perfect Lamb for the final offering for sin. God in flesh became the propitiation for our sins and the one true satisfying aroma. Christ was the perfect sacrifice; the perfect Ark; the perfect Passover Lamb. And in love, Christ gave himself up to death and bore the wrath of God despite our ungodliness. By his death on the cross he became the fragrant offering and sacrifice God desired (Eph. 5:2), and by faith in his resurrection we are justified and given life.
“For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” Hebrews 10:14
The blood of Christ that was poured out covers us and causes us to stand before God with his acceptable aroma. This aroma, revealed by our repentance, confession, and belief, is made manifest to the world. As holy heirs with Christ, our bodies go on as living sacrifices to God and to others for the sake of the gospel and those who are being saved.
The flood was a foretaste of what is through faith:
“There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins; And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.”
Let us run with haste onto the true and better Ark, Jesus, as he hides us in his righteousness, and carries us safely home.
“We are the aroma of Christ to God.”