How Do You Smell?

Years ago, while I was still living in Caracas, I had to take Lou Lou to the vet. When they returned her to me after treatment, she was filthy. The smell coming off of her was one "only a mother could love." Over the next three days, whenever Lou Lou came anywhere near her, Abby hissed at her! Lou Lou no longer "conformed" to what Abby recognized as her companion—she was basically just a stinky stranger!

As I was thinking about Romans 12:2, I remembered that incident. Let's begin at Romans 12:1.

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—which is your spiritual worship. Do no conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will."

Whenever there is a "therefore" in Scripture, we need to look back so that we understand the reasons behind what we are about to be asked to do. Romans 11 is all about salvation and ends with what has been named the "Doxology"—a hymn of praise to God which includes this key phrase:

"For from him and through him and to him are all things..." Then comes the "Therefore..."

A friend and I were talking about salvation and lordship over lunch today. There was a time when hot debate on the subject took place between two camps. One camp said the lordship came at some point after salvation. The other claimed that salvation and lordship go together like hotdogs and baseball. Personally, I think they were both right—but we won't get into those details in this post.

However, it would appear from what Paul says here, and his "therefore..." that he believes that experiencing the mercy and grace of God in salvation demands this response: the offering of every part of our being to Him as Lord. That's worship.

That lordship is also progressive is obvious—it's an everyday giving of ourselves to God so that He is glorified in everything we think, say, and do. We fail, but because we are so grateful to Him for His salvation and so overwhelmed by His expression of love for us, played out on Calvary, we get up and keep going in the direction He wants us to go in order to be what He wants us to be (His perfect will) and reflect His light in a dark world.

But it is verse 2 that creates the greatest challenge. What does one who confesses Jesus as Saviour and Lord look like?

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."


Paul then lists a whole lot of things that distinguish this person from the rest of world. Read the list in Romans 12 through chapter 15.

Let me summarize his lengthy list: The person who acknowledges Jesus as Saviour and Lord is different from those who don't.

Paul describes what happens when this "different" person rubs shoulders with the rest of the world. There will be one of two reactions. "For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?" (2 Corinthians 2:15, 16).

Different. The aroma of Christ. Chanel #5 or eau de Lou Lou.

And I ask myself, "What do YOU smell like today, Lynda?" Like Christ, or just like everybody else?


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