A Fragrance and a Letter

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A Fragrance and a Letter

Read: 2 Corinthians 2:14–3:3 | Bible in a Year: Proverbs 6–7; 2 Corinthians 2

We are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ. 2 Corinthians 2:15

Every time I get close to a rosebush or a bouquet of flowers, I’m unable to resist the temptation to pull a flower toward my nose to savor the fragrance. The sweet aroma lifts up my heart and triggers good feelings within me.

Writing to the Christians in Corinth centuries ago, the apostle Paul says that because we belong to Christ, God “uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere” (2 Cor. 2:14). Through His strength we can live a victorious life, exchanging our selfishness for His love and kindness and proclaiming the goodness of His salvation. When we do this, we are indeed a sweet fragrance to God.

Paul then switches to a second image, describing Christians as a “letter from Christ” (3:3). The letter of our lives is not written with ordinary ink, but by the Spirit of God. God changes us by writing His Word on our hearts for others to read.

Both word pictures encourage us to allow the beauty of Christ to be seen in us so we can point people to Him. He is the One who, as Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:2, “loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
Lord, let Your splendor fill my life, that I may draw people to You. Help me walk in the way that spreads the fragrance of Your love to others.

Our actions speak louder than our words.


Paul had a strained relationship with the church in Corinth. Within this troubled church were those who undermined unity, holy living, and sound doctrine. The Corinthian church was the recipient of three visits and multiple letters from the apostle Paul. Yet despite all the problems the church was facing—doubting Paul’s authority, allowing and perhaps bragging about sin, suggesting there is no resurrection—Paul continually reassured them of both his own affection and God’s affection for them. Paul’s message is clear—for Corinth and for us. Yes, we will experience problems that need to be corrected, but our position in Christ is secure. J.R. Hudberg