The fragrance of Jesus produces polar responses.

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?  (2 Corinthians 2:14-16)

The fragrance of Jesus emanates from Spirit-filled believers. Some perceive this as the repulsive odor of death while others the sweet perfume of life. In the extreme, those rejecting Christ seek to kill what strikes them as a death odor. But those seeking Christ gladly embrace what they rightly perceive as a life fragrance. The more Jesus is manifest, the more pronounced the response whether negative or positive.

This contrast is evident in listener responses recorded in the early chapters of Acts. In chapter 2, Peter was filled with the Spirit (2:4) and witnessed 3000 people believe in Jesus. In chapter 7, Stephen, likewise full of the Spirit (7:55), saw his hearers literally pick up rocks to stone him to death. The different outcomes reveal the hearts of the hearers. Peter’s audience consisted of seekers, but those who heard Stephen were self-righteous. In the latter episode, Stephen was alone, yet not alone with Jesus.

It seems this polarizing effect is evident even among believers. The negative, hostile response made for some moments in the Apostle Paul’s life where he was deserted—alone, yet not alone with Jesus. Carnal or flesh-filled believers, whether worldly flesh or legalistic flesh, do not like the overwhelming reality of Jesus. To them, the perfume of Jesus is soured either by their heart for the world or their heart of self-righteousness.

I used to think every Christian wanted revival. In times of revival, the life of Jesus is preeminent. But strangely enough, some resist this blessed prospect of life as if it was death. Some resist because of hidden sin they determine to keep and keep covering. Others resist because they do not want to acknowledge the reality that their self-righteousness is counterfeit holiness.

In contrast, as my father used to say, Spirit-filled believers are attracted to each other—and the attraction is Christ. Blessed fragrance! Worth having even if there are times you are alone, yet not alone with Jesus.

John Van Gelderen

John Van Gelderen

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About This Blog

Hello, I’m John Van Gelderen. I am an evangelist and the president of Revival Focus Ministries, an organization for the cause of revival in hearts, homes, churches, and beyond, and for evangelizing. This blog is focused on experiencing Jesus. I believe in order to really live, you must access and experience the very life of Jesus Christ.