October 15, 2007 Ration

II Corinthians 2:15

“For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing…”

Artists, do you smell like Christ to God? When God inhales the aroma of your day’s labor, does He smell Christ? Does God say, “I know the aroma of that offering. It resembles my Son. How I love my Son! Well done, good and faithful artistic servant!” God is the only audience whose affections towards your labor effectually matter, and His senses cannot be fooled. If we get our fragrances confused and think that the odors of a clean, disciplined, excellent, or skillful labor alone in art, on its own and void of faith, will waft the aroma of Christ before the nostrils of God, we are dangerously wrong. We are Pharisaic. We commit the error of Cain.

This aroma of Christ to God has to be the genuine fragrance if we are going to be useful in being the aroma of Christ among others. It may be helpful here to take stock of some of the particular aromas that Christ puts forth.

The aroma of faithfulness to God in His calling: “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose" (Luke 4:43). The aroma of humility: “…Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:5-7). The aroma of seeking God’s glorification above His own: “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you…” (John 17:1b). The aroma of thankfulness to God: “Father, I thank you that you have heard me…” (John 11:41b). The aroma of the righteousness of God: “…[Christ,] whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness…” (Romans 3:25). The aroma of the Deliverer from death and the devil: “that through death [Christ] might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery” (Hebrews 2:14b-15). The aroma of deference to God: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done" (Luke 22:42).

Who is adequate for the brewing of these aromas? None of us, naturally. Naturally we spew off the various foul stenches of faithlessness, pride, self-glorification, ingratitude, works-for-righteousness, a fearful slavery to all things mortal, and selfish preference. We will work very hard to mask the foulness of our odors with an excellent artistic delivery odorant. We don’t want to be known for being a stinker outright, but the fact is, we still sweat what is in our fat.

However, supernaturally, by the grace of God, the Holy Spirit works in us both to desire and to do God’s good pleasure. And by His strength in us, we will begin to be conformed to Christ. Christ was far more than just incredibly skillful, He was perfectly holy, full of faith! The Holy Spirit, through the Word of God, will trim the fat off our flesh through a rigorous sanctification process and we will begin to smell more of Christ and less of us. Only then will we begin to be the aroma of Christ to God among others.

Artists, in your bodies, in your labors, are you doing your share on behalf of the body of Christ in filling the artistic air with the aroma of Christ? It will cost you your pride, Christ was a suffering servant, but it will yield you the uncomparable pleasures of being welcomed as a son of God, a fellow heir with Christ. God knows His aromas very well. He will not be fooled by the many perfumes of faithless excellence, though every man be seduced.

Jason Harms


© 2007 The Gaius Project