Friday, April 27, 2012

Wearing the Right Fragrance

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.

In every way, nonetheless, we sing the praises of God, who in his wise conduct of our affairs leads us hither and yon, making us obvious to everyone, and through us offering the knowledge of godliness.  By fragrance of knowledge he referred to the knowledge in this life, teaching two things at the same time: this is an insignificant part of perfect knowledge; and while the latter now eludes us it will at the appropriate be made manifest, after the manner of incense, which in many cases when mixed with fire in a bedroom spreads its fragrance even outside.  Those who catch it, while not seeing it, enjoy its sweet smell.

We offer everyone the sweet fragrance of Christ, but not all given a share in it enjoy salvation.  To those with bad eyes the light is treacherous and unkind, but it is not the sun that causes the harm.  It is also said that vultures shun the fragrance of perfume, yet perfume is still sweet-smelling, even if vultures give it a wide berth.  Likewise, too, the saving message brings about salvation for those who believe, but inflicts ruin on the unbelieving.

Theodoret of Cyrus, "The Second Letter to the Corinthians" on 2 Corinthians 2:14-16

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