Tag Archives: Paul

The Fragrance of the Knowledge of God

Fragrance of Knowledge, smellIt 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?

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The Coming of the Lawless One and His False Gospel

upside-down-cross2The book of 2 Thessalonians, is a prophetic book because within its pages, Paul gives us several prophetic details concerning the end of the age and the time of the Second Coming of Christ. He begins to speak about the lawless one being revealed, the one whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth when He returns to the earth. This lawless one of course is the antichrist. When I was first introduced to this shadowy character at the beginning of my Christian walk, I had the picture in my mind that he would primarily be a political figure. The Bible reveals that initially, he will appear on the world scene as a man of not just ideas, but also solutions. He will be instrumental in bringing a false peace to the Middle East conflict and he will do many other things such as this, of course afterwards his true colors will be revealed. As I read in 2 Thessalonians, I am beginning to see this “lawless one” not just as political figure, but also a spiritual or religious world leader. First of all lets examine the Scripture:

2 Thessalonians 2:8-9 (NASB)

8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming;

9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,

When he appears on the world’s stage, he will seem as a mystic of sorts. He will not appear as just another political superstar with colorful rhetoric and charismatic oratory skills. Surely he will be a man of charisma and charm, however the Bible clearly tells us his appearing will as be associated with a flurry of supernatural activity and happenings. There will be signs and wonders, there will be a show of power, however, obviously this will not be power from the creator, but rather it will come forth from “the one” who wants to destroy us.

2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 (NASB)

10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.

11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false,

12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.

Jesus, said that before His return the gospel would be preached to all the earth. In fact, this is one of the “signs” of his return. We currently live in the age of internet and satellite television. There is not a place in the earth today that you can go and not have access to gospel preaching. In fact anyone that can access a computer can pull up the Bible in hundreds, if not thousands of different translations and languages. Unfortunately, in the same way that the gospel is being spread throughout the entire earth, so will this new religion of the Antichrist also cover the globe. Through satellite television and internet and even cell phones, billions of people world wide will witness the inception of this new phenomenal religion as presented forth by our up and coming world leader.

God in His mercy and grace allowed the gospel of righteousness to come forth first. It is the gospel of the Messiah, who didn’t come to be served, but to serve and to hang on a cross for our sins. (This is in stark contrast to Antichrist, who will come to be served.) He has allowed this knowledge to go throughout the earth for over 2000 years. The Word of God says that “it is his desire that none should perish, but that all would be saved.” Can we see God’s grace here!!! The True gospel came first to the whole world and lasted 2000 thousand years, this false gospel will come second and last no more than a decade. Everyone of us has had a chance to embrace righteousness and repent of our sins, however this passage is speaking to the world an ominous warning: Everyone who has not received the gospel of truth, WILL be deceived, they WILL believe the lie and they WILL enter into God’s severe judgment. Look at what is says in verse 11, GOD will be the one who will send this deluding influence. Doesn’t this one passage just throw a wrench into all of our superficial theology about God’s false love. Sure He is a God of love to those of us who have embraced the greatest act of love, the cross, but He is a God of wrath unto those who have shaken their fist in His face and trampled under foot the blood of Jesus. God is beginning to shout through His vessels, BELIEVE THE TRUTH! He is equipping and sending forth His messengers. Will we listen or will we perish. I want to close this brief exhortation with the words of Paul found in the 1st chapter of 2 Thessalonians:

2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 (NASB)

6 For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you,

7 and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire,

8 dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

9 These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,

10 when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed—for our testimony to you was believed.

Who then will receive His retribution? …..”those who do not know God and those who do not obey the gospel.”

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