The fellowship and peace that you and I experience in community with other Christians is an expression of worship. The horizontal relationships we have are connected to the vertical relationship we have. The way we interact with each other, the way we speak to one another, and even the way we think about one another all have an upward component—these are an offering to the God who showed us how to truly love by giving us this commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31).
The idea of “a pleasing aroma to the Lord” is also echoed by Paul in how we relate to unbelievers as we go out on God’s mission in the world.
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? (2 Corinthians 2:14-16 ESV)
With Christ pictured as the primary sacrifice, Paul’s offering of his entire life to God, including his suffering for the sake of Christ, can then be seen as an extension of Christ’s death in the world, as the aroma of Christ to God. Some encounter Paul’s life and message and dislike it, leading to their own condemnation. Others are attracted by the Christlike beauty seen in Paul and his message, and they accept it, leading to their own eternal life.
How do you smell? Is your life a “pleasing aroma to the Lord”? Voluntarily or out of ritual obligation? What is your heart attitude when it comes to repentance, praise and peace with God and others? Realize that all the offerings, sacrifices, coming to church, tithing, and serving are nothing but a horrible stench to the Lord without faith [Heb. 11:6]. Don’t get caught up in the blood of bulls and goats. Get caught up in the blood of Jesus Christ as the one and only sacrifice that can atone for your soul and then set you free to worship: repent, praise and have peace with God through the ultimate sacrifice, Jesus Christ.