The Aroma of Christ

For we are the aroma of Christ to God.

2 Corinthians 2:15

The atmosphere or aroma, as Paul says here, is the sphere of influence, the fragrance of very important, famous, or noble people. Those who relate to such people in a special way through kinship or friendship are immersed in their fame and reputation. Although they themselves may not have any pedigree or extraordinary attributes, fame somehow rubs off on them.

In the same way we may enter the atmosphere of Jesus Christ, so that we are seen as one with him. In Paul's way of speaking, it is most interesting that we are not an aroma for the world in which we live, but for God. He sees in us the friends or siblings of Christ. As such, we are taken into his atmosphere, into the pleasant fragrance that radiates from him. God likes to smell us, because we have received his Son, lock, stock, and barrel, so to speak. It is he who makes us pleasant to God. The idea is reflected in an ancient Sudanese tradition. A bride is exposed for several hours to the smoke of sandal wood under thick wool blankets. She absorbs the pleasant fragrance with every pore of her skin and will smell of this natural perfume for several days. She is a sweet aroma for her bridegroom. The analogy breaks down, however, at one point: We plunge into Christ's aroma, but it does not wear off or diminish. His pleasant fragrance lingers over us and remains forever pleasing to our Father in heaven.