The grace shown us in ministry (II Corinthians 2:14-3:6)

It’s been a slow week in terms of blogging for me this week. I suppose I shouldn’t feel bad about it since I made no guarantees about how often I would blog.

I think that for me, this has been a week for chewing on the Word, which makes for good meditation, but not necessarily for blogging. (I have no idea if that makes any sense or not).

One thing I’m chewing on is this passage from II Corinthians.

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in Christ’s triumphal procession and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of him in every place. For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To some we are an aroma of death leading to death, but to others, an aroma of life leading to life. (2:14-16)

Paul tells us here that when God sees us in the midst of the unbelievers around us, he smells the aroma of Christ in us.

That’s an amazing thing when I think about it. Why would I have the fragrance of Christ, when there is still so much sin in me?

A single word: Grace.

The grace that God pours out on me through the cross of Christ.

It is not that I intrinsically bear the fragrance of Christ. But his grace has so been poured out on me, that to God, it fills whatever room that I am in.

And when I preach the word to those around me, they sense that grace in me as well. To some, it is the fragrance of life. To others, it is the stench of death. But to God, in Christ, I am a sweet smelling fragrance to him.

Paul then says in chapter 3,

Such is the confidence we have through Christ before God. It is not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God. He has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (4-6)

So often, I look at myself, and I don’t see myself as that fragrance that God sees me as. I see all my frailties and weaknesses. And yet, by his grace, God makes me competent to make a difference in the lives of the people around me. Because the thing is, it’s not I who gives people life. It’s the Spirit of God living in me that does that.

All I have to do is what Paul did:

Speak with sincerity in Christ,

as from God and

before God. (2:17)

And God will do the rest.

It is very similar, in fact, to what Paul said in chapter 1.

The testimony of our conscience is that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you, with godly sincerity and purity, not by human wisdom but by God’s grace. (1:12)

I don’t know about you, but that’s how I want to be. That’s how I want to live.

Living in godly sincerity.

Living in purity.

Living not in worldly wisdom that leads to jealousy, selfish ambition, and boasting (James 3:14).

But living by grace.

And it is that grace that will make a difference not only in us, but in the lives we touch.

May we live each day walking in that grace.

 

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About bkshiroma

I'm from Hawaii, but have been in Japan as a missionary/English teacher since 1995. I'm currently going to a church called Crossroad Nishinomiya, an international church in Nishinomiya, a city right between Kobe and Osaka. Check out their website: crossroad-web.com 私がハワイから来ましたけど1995年に宣教師と英会話の教師として日本に引っ越しました。 今西宮にあるクロスロード西宮という国際の教会に行っています。どうぞ、そのホムページを見てください: crossroad-web.com
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