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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder


2 Corinthians 2:14-17 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of His knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: to the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

"Savour"is the British spelling used in the King James translation of the Bible for the word we now spell "savor." It is defined as the quality of something, which acts on the sense of taste or of smell. It is a distinct and recognizable quality. A sweet savour, then would be something having a very pleasant and agreeable taste or aroma. Christians are referred to as the salt of the earth; having the characteristics and qualities of convincing people of the world that life tastes good and has a pleasing aroma when one is in the body of Christ - when one is a child of God (See Matt. 5:13; Luke 14:34).

A sweet savour is first referred to in Genesis 8:20-21. Here we find Noah building an altar unto the Lord, and upon it, offering a sacrificial animal sending a sweet smelling savour, or pleasing aroma, up to God in heaven. With the giving of the Old Covenant, the Law of Moses, to the children of Israel, sacrificial offerings were a major part of worship to God. The sweet savour of sacrifices to God is mentioned three times in Exodus, sixteen times in Leviticus, eighteen times in Numbers, and four times in Ezekiel. In the New Testament, Paul tells us that Christians are to ...walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour (Eph. 5:2).

As Paul began the lesson text, he gave thanks unto God. As the context indicates, he was thankful for the door that was opened unto me of the Lord, and for the success he had in spreading the gospel message of Jesus Christ in Troas, in Asia Minor, and in the cities of Macedonia, which included Philippi, Amphipolis, Apollonia, Thessalonica, and Berea. Also, as this letter indicates, Paul was thankful for the success of the church at Corinth, not only the founding of it, but the results achieved by the instructions, admonitions, and strong rebukes of his first letter to them. Anxious to hear of these results from Titus, his fellow worker while he was at Troas, he was disappointed when this did not take place. However, Titus did bring an extremely favorable report to Paul while he was preaching in Macedonia. This, indeed, was another reason to give thanks unto God (See preceding verses 12 & 13).

Whether he was converting erring Jews or Gentiles to Christ, establishing congregations in cities throughout the Roman Empire, or correcting false doctrine that had made its way into God's church, Paul was thankful that there was triumph in Christ. It is this pure message of truth contained in God's holy word that Paul compares to the pleasant aroma - the sweet savour of His knowledge (which was preached) by us in every place. Any victory won by overcoming great obstacles, is a triumph of life, and is often referred to as the "sweet smell of success." Such is true when teaching God's plan of eternal salvation results in triumph in Christ.

To preach and teach the knowledge of God, the gospel message of salvation through Jesus Christ, is surely a sweet savour to God, whether it is heard, believed, and obeyed, or is heard, doubted, and rejected by those that hear it proclaimed. Proclaiming His word is the savour to God - it is the pleasant aroma to Him. Obeying or rejecting the sweet savour of Christ, through the preaching of God's word, is solely up to each man and woman that hears it proclaimed. Those that obey the will of God, and become Christians, enjoy the hope of salvation; those that reject it will remain in their sinful state, without hope of eternal life in heaven. It is God's will that all mankind be saved, and this he offers through His Son, Jesus Christ. It is expressed in the inspired writing of His holy word, and preached through servants of Christ, which include His apostles, disciples, and all faithful ministers throughout time, unto this day. The gospel message of Christ is designed to save souls through obedience. Condemnation to eternal death is the result of rejecting the sweet savour of Christ, and turning to false teachers that corrupt the word of God.