It is through the gospel that the knowledge of God is made manifest to the ignorant, unbelieving mind. The hearing of the gospel is a divine appointment, it is a crossroad where the ignorant mind intersects with an understanding of its origin and a manifestation of its creator. At this crossroads the ignorant are no longer ignorant for God is revealed in His Son Jesus the Messiah. Here at this crossroads where the ignorant, darkened, natural mind encounters the knowledge of God, a choice must be made. A yielding to the Lordship & Deity of Christ occurs or the contrary, a hardening of the heart and a stiffening of the neck takes place. Either way the hearer will never be the same again. Perhaps it is for this reason that Paul states:
2 Corinthians 2:14-17 (NASB)
14 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.
15 For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;
16 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?
17 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.
Paul said every place they went the knowledge of God penetrated through the ministry and he compares this phenomenon to a “fragrance”. He explains in the simplest of metaphor to those who hear and yield an aroma of life to life and to those who remained hardened and hostile to God an aroma of death to death exudes. What language is he using, from life to life and from death to death? In other words the picture here is one group goes higher and higher into the riches and blessing of Heaven. However, the other group goes lower and lower further away from the “True” life and power of the creator. One starts on his journey to grow closer and closer in intimacy with God. Unfortunately, the other “hearer” continues on the broad and wide path of destruction that he was previously on. The difference is that before, he was on this path in ignorance and now he continues on willfully and knowingly. Why, would someone do that? Why would anyone smell the fragrance of the knowledge of God and reject it. The reason is because to truly yield to God, it cost everything. Consider the parable Jesus spoke concerning the Pearl of Great Price:
Matthew 13:45-46 (NASB)
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls,
46 and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
To receive this treasure we must sell all that we have, we must crucify our old lives including all of our ambitions. We must trade in the plans we have made for ourselves an accept the plan of God. We must no longer set our will above His will. Have we heard this simple message so much that we have deceived ourselves into thinking that we have fulfilled the call. Why do you think Jesus said we must daily pick up our cross, what does that mean.? Paul said “I die daily”. Notice what the merchant in the parable does he beheld a pearl of great value and in seeing it, he sees that it is worth him getting rid of all else in order to obtain it. We must not do this once in a lifetime but we must behold Jesus daily. Here in lies the Christian life, in beholding Jesus on a continual basis and letting the consuming fire of God purge anything of the old life that we would hold on to. After the purging of the bad comes the filling with the good. We can not be filled with the treasures of heaven until we are emptied of the worthless things of this world. We say that we are a “Spirit” filled church, however that means we are filled with heaven. To be filled with heaven means being consumed continually with the things above. Why then is it if we are Spirit Filled are we clinging so tightly to thing of this world. Why is it that we spend more time on the internet in front of a computer than we spend beholding Jesus. Why is it that we no longer filter the entertainment that we ingest on a regular basis. Why are we more concerned with the mortgage and our earthly bank accounts and totally unconcerned about our heavenly bank accounts. We are spending vasts amounts of our time storing up treasures on the earth where moth and rust destroy, but how much time are we spending storing up our eternal treasures in heaven where nothing can destroy it and no thief can break in and steal it. We are so worried about our earthly goods that we haven’t realized that Satan has come in like a thief and has stolen our heavenly goods! Could it be said of us that in every place we go the fragrance of God is manifest to the world or have we come dangerously close to becoming a stench of religion in the nostrils of those we could have reached if only we stopped compromising…. Paul said:
“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.”
Are we peddlers of a dead word or have we allowed ourselves to be a vessel, molded and crafted in the wilderness by the hand of the Living God and sent forth from Him. Are we sincere about the message that we have within us….who indeed is adequate for these things?