The Aroma of Christ – 2 Corinthians 2:14-17


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2 Corinthians 2:14-17
August 2, 2015
Faith Presbyterian Church – Morning Service
Pastor Steven Nicoletti

We are continuing our series through Second Corinthians this morning. This is my last Sunday morning with you all for some time, and so we will be pausing this series at the end of Second Corinthians chapter two, until I have an opportunity to move forward with it again in the future.

For our text this morning, it is important to remember who Paul is dealing with with this letter. He is writing to the church at Corinth, but in the process he is dealing with opponents there – opponents who were claiming superiority to Paul. And a lot of their claims surrounded the greater glory of their ministry, and the lesser glory of Paul’s ministry. These opponents commend themselves. They have lists of achievements. They have letters of recommendation from prestigious churches. They are self-sufficient and successful. They have seemed to display great spiritual power. In all things they seem to show themselves as superior.

And then there is Paul. He seems to have no glory. He has no letters to recommend him. Where his opponents look so successful, Paul always seems to have trouble. He is always in affliction. He is always facing problems. Where they appear so spiritual, Paul appears mundane and unimpressive. Overall, Paul looks like a weak and suffering figure, limping from problem to problem. Paul claims to preach a glorious gospel, but, as Paul Barnett summarizes it, in the eyes of Paul’s opponents, “Paul is the living denial of what he preaches.” (Barnett, 37). He preaches a Christ who has greater glory than Moses. But Paul’s life is anything but glorious. And it looks so inferior to the lives of his opponents.

In 2 Corinthians so far, Paul, rather than shying away from the subject, has instead talked directly about his suffering and affliction as an apostle. He began by speaking of how he suffered terribly in Asia, and in that context he speaks of suffering and God’s comfort. Then he spoke of the pain he went through in dealing with the disputes and accusations from the Corinthian church, and his struggle to love them in the midst of that. And finally, in the last verses we read last week, he mentioned his travel to Troas, where we learn later on in chapter seven, he suffered further affliction.

Paul’s accusers say that Paul’s sufferings and hardships are evidence that he is an inferior apostle. Instead they point to themselves and their strength and their glory as grounds for their superiority to Paul. Paul begins his letter by listing his sufferings and hardships. And then comes our passage for today.

With that in mind, let’s hear from our text, 2 Corinthians 2:14-17. Please listen carefully, for this is God’s word:

2:14 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. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.

This is God’s Word.

Our text is only four verses, but it is actually fairly complicated. It is more complicated than it appears at first. In fact, it is so complicated that Dr. Scott Hafemann, who teaches New Testament at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, did his PhD dissertation at Tubingen University in Germany on just these four verses and the three that follow. He did his entire dissertation analyzing just 2 Corinthians 2:14-3:3. He was originally going to do a much larger section of 2 Corinthians, but then he found that these seven verses had enough material for a dissertation. He eventually published an edited and abridged form of his dissertation as the book Suffering & Ministry in the Spirit: Paul’s Defense of His Ministry in II Corinthians 2:14-3:3. And that work is a helpful tool in better understanding what is going on here.

Because our text is fairly complex, we are going to need to go through it together to really see what Paul is getting at here.

So let’s begin with the first line: “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession.” What is Paul getting at here? Well it is not exactly what it sounds like. You can find posters and online graphics that use this verse as a source of inspiration. The idea is that God leads us in triumph. God is leading a triumphal procession and we are his victorious heralds. You can find graphics that include this verse and a picture of a herald’s trumpet. But that is not what is going on here.

The first thing we need to figure out, if we want to understand this passage, is who “us” is. Odd as it may sound, “us,” in the text, is not us. “Us” is not Christians in general. It is not even the Corinthian Christians. In fact, for a significant portion of 2 Corinthians, including our verses this morning, Paul uses the first person plural to speak of himself as an apostle. In other words, “us” is the Apostle Paul. He is not talking directly about me and you. Now, his words do have application to me and you, and we will get to that. But he is primarily speaking of himself. He is primarily defending his apostolic status and contrasting it with his opponents’.

So if we look at the first half of verse 14, that gives us this meaning: Paul says, “Thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads [me, as an apostle] in triumphal procession.”

So far so good. But here is the real issue: what does it mean to be led in triumphal procession? This is where Hafermann comes in handy. Hafermann’s research shows that this Greek word – and it is actually only one word – for “triumphal procession,” appears in several ancient sources. We find it in Dionysius of Halicarnassus’s The Roman Antiquities from the first century BC. We find it in Josephus’s writings from the first century AD. And we find it in the writings of Plutarch, who wrote in the first and second centuries AD. The word is a technical term to describe a certain kind of event in the Roman world.

When the Roman army conquered an enemy they celebrated in Rome with a triumphal procession. The conquering general was honored, along with his soldiers. And the triumphal procession included many displays. Besides displays honoring and glorifying the military leader who had won, the plunder taken from the conquered enemy was also displayed and carried in the procession. Josephus also describes large artistic renderings of the battle that were carried for all to see in the procession. And a final key element of the triumphal procession was that the conquered enemies, who had been taken prisoner after the battle, were marched through the streets in the procession. The defeated enemies were led as a public display of a vanquished foe. Though once opponents of the victor, they were now paraded through the streets as their conquered slaves. And often these conquered slaves were being led in the procession to their death. Often, their execution was part of the event – though they might be spared death by an act of grace from the one who had defeated them.

Imagine that scene. Conquered soldiers, once strong and proud and powerful, now led in shackles before thousands of onlookers – for all to see – as a testimony to the power of the one who had overcome and defeated them … one who is now likely leading them to their death.

In all of the sources that we have from the ancient world, whenever someone is said to be “led in a triumphal procession,” it is always describing someone who has been vanquished and is being led as a conquered slave, often to his death.

And that is the same phrase Paul uses in our text to describe himself. In other words, Paul is not saying that he is the triumphant one. He is not even a herald or a soldier of the triumphant one. But he is the conquered slave being led to death. And the one who leads him is God. God is the conquering general.

And so when Paul says “Thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession,” what he means is “Thanks be to God, because in Christ he always leads me as his conquered slave to death, and he does it for all to see.”

That’s what the verse means. And it seems a little bizarre. Especially because Paul is praising God for this. But then, as we are trying to process that metaphor, Paul throws a new metaphor at us in the next part of the passage, before this verse is even over.

After painting this picture of a conquered slave, Paul goes on to say this: “and through us [he] spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God.” Now, what does that mean?

Paul here shifts from the language of the Roman triumphal entry to the language of the Levitical sacrificial system of Israel. The terms “aroma” and “fragrance” which appear in the text are the Greek words that are combined in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament) to make a technical term for the pleasing aroma of a sacrifice in the temple as it comes before God. Paul is shifting to a metaphor of Jewish temple sacrifices. And he says that he, as an apostle – again he is using the first person plural to refer to himself and his office – he as an apostle is a living sacrifice to God. In fact, he is a living sacrifice that gives off the aroma of Christ’s sacrifice. In other words, Paul’s sacrificial life resembles Jesus’s sacrificial life, in a way that displays the gospel and pleases God. Or, to go with Paul’s metaphor: Paul smells like Jesus. And he does this by looking like a sacrificial animal being offered to God in temple worship.

And as we bring these two images together, we see how they fit with each other. Paul’s point is that he has been fully conquered by God. He is God’s conquered slave now. And now he is always being led to his death. And this is a death like a sacrifice in the temple – not that it is meritorious (not any more than the animal sacrifices were meritorious), but in that his sacrifice points to and reflects Christ’s sacrifice.

Paul is a conquered slave of God, called to smell like Jesus by being a living sacrifice.

Hafemann puts it this way: “Paul views himself in his apostolic calling not only as one who preaches the message of good news to the world, but equally important, as one ordained by God to be an embodiment of that gospel, called to reveal the knowledge of God by and through his very life.” (Hafemann, 16) “Paul is rejoicing precisely because God, like a victorious general after his victory, is leading him as a slave to death.” (Hafemann, 33) “The apostolic message is embodied in the life of the apostle itself.” (Hafemann, 47)

All of that is going on in the first verse and a half of our text. Paul’s main point is to say that as an apostle, Paul is a thoroughly conquered slave of God, put on public display, and called to resemble Jesus by being a living sacrifice. And for this he thanks God.

And in creating that picture Paul means to draw a distinction between himself and his opponents in Corinth. And that comes out in verse 17 when he describes them as “peddlers of God’s word.” Now, there are a few things going on with that phrase, but one is a contrast with the image he has just crafted for himself. Peddlers benefit from what they peddle. They use it to get things for themselves. And so in response to his opponents who have contrasted their ease and success and glory with Paul’s struggle, affliction, and suffering, Paul describes his opponents as peddlers of God’s word – as people who use it for their own gain – and he describes himself as a conquered slave of God called to resemble Jesus by being a humble living sacrifice.

Paul describes the two different visions for an apostle like this: One is the careerist apostle, who uses the gospel to launch a successful and respectable professional career. The other is the conquered slave apostle, called to be displayed as a picture of Christ in his sacrificial giving of himself. One is the glorious and victorious apostle, the other is the humbled, conquered, and enslaved apostle.

The Corinthians seem to prefer the first vision. I wonder which one we prefer.

I think that part of the problem is that not only do many of the Corinthians prefer the glorious, respectable vision of an apostle – but often we do as well. And we actually see this in the history of interpretation of our text this morning.

There has been some disagreement about what is going on in verse 14. There does not seem to be any real dispute that in every other example we have of the word, “to be led in triumphal procession” in the ancient world, means “to be lead as a conquered slave.” But many interpreters have refused to accept this interpretation as a description of an apostle.

And this problem stretches over a long span of time. One influential exegete from around four centuries ago agrees that in the ancient world “prisoners are said to be led in triumph when to disgrace them they are bound in chains and dragged before the chariot of the conqueror.” But then the interpreter asserts that that must not be the meaning here and claims “Paul means something different from the common meaning of this phrase.” (Hafemann, 16-17)

A more recent commentator looks at the meaning of the word and concludes “notwithstanding the lack of lexical evidence it is right […] [in this passage to take] Paul to represent himself as one of the victorious general’s soldiers sharing in the glory of his triumph.” (Hafemann, 32)

In other words, many have wanted to turn this metaphor on its head. They struggle to see the apostle Paul describing himself as a conquered slave of God here – and so determine that he must instead be a victorious soldier sharing in God’s glory. And that interpretation has been influential in the past. You can find it explicitly in the King James Version’s translation of this verse. The NIV and ESV take a different view.

But the interpretation that Paul is one of the victorious soldiers has significant problems. For one thing, it makes the second metaphor of Paul being a living sacrifice seem very odd and abrupt. We go from picturing Paul as a glorious soldier to picturing him as a slain sacrifice.

But a much bigger problem with this interpretation is that we do not have a single example of the word being used this way to describe a victor. Wherever it appears, it always describes those who are conquered captives. That is the one basic meaning of the word we have evidence for in Paul’s time. The alternative interpretation that would make Paul a glorious soldier seems to be based not on what we know the word means, but on what we want it to mean.

And that reveals something about us, I think. It reveals that we are kind of like the Corinthians.

Just like them, we don’t want to have an apostle who looks like a humiliated slave. We want one who looks like a respectable and successful professional. And so we interpret the text that way even if we have no evidence that we should do so.

We see that desire in some academic interpretations of this verse. We see it in the popular interpretations that would put this verse on an inspirational poster.

Paul’s point to the Corinthians is that they have a glorious vision for what an apostle is, and they should have a vision of a sacrificial slave. Ironically, we have turned Paul’s argument upside down and tried to make him glorious again.

And that is how we often picture the apostles, isn’t it. At least Paul, right? He is respectable. There is a sense of gravity to his presence. He is honorable and venerable. A man whose presence demands to be taken seriously. But that’s not how the Corinthians thought he looked. In fact, that description is probably closer to describing how Paul’s opponents often looked. We have a tendency to re-write Paul in our minds to what we want him to be. And that wouldn’t be such a problem if his life wasn’t meant to show forth Christ to us.

And Paul’s point is that an apostle should look like a captive who has been decisively and publically conquered by God. And he should smell like Christ – like a living sacrificial offering being made to God. He says that that is what we should look for to recognize an apostle.

But while his point is primarily about apostles, it also applies beyond apostles.

First, with some adjustments, it also applies to all Christian leaders – especially pastors and teachers.

And when we think about this, I think we see again how much we are really like the Corinthians.

Because in our culture, we really like celebrity pastors and celebrity theologians. And few of us are immune from that.

There are celebrity pastors out there of all different types, including many within our Reformed world. And most of us are drawn to at least one of them. We might listen to recordings of their sermons, or read their books, or their blog, or follow them on Twitter, or what have you.

Now, there is nothing wrong with trying to learn from other pastors and teachers beyond your local church. And there are many godly celebrity pastors. So I am neither condemning the idea of popular public pastors nor the men themselves. What I want to point to are the reasons we are often drawn to them.

The thing that usually draws us is not that we see that their lives display the fact that they are slaves to Christ, who have been thoroughly conquered by him. Now again, don’t misunderstand me – they might be thoroughly conquered slaves of Christ. But even if they were, we couldn’t possibly see that. That is not usually something that comes through reliably in a book, or a blog, or an mp3, or a tweet. So that must not be the thing that draws us.

What often draws us is their skill, and their success – their gifting, their image, and their other attributes that we find respectable.

In other words, what draws us to them are some of the same things that drew the Corinthians to Paul’s opponents.

Now again, I am not saying that celebrity pastors are like Paul’s opponents. I am saying that we are like the Corinthians. We are valuing skills and success and not looking for a conquered slave.

And the reality is that we can never get close enough to these celebrity pastors to really see their lives. We cannot get close enough to tell if they really smell like Jesus. And yet, when one of them falls, we are still shocked. We are still surprised. As if having great writing or rhetorical or theological skills meant that a man was a thoroughly conquered slave to Christ. It does not.

Now – what is my point? My point is not that we cannot or should not learn from popular pastors and teachers. No – we should learn from such people. But my first point is simply that we should be careful not to confuse the skill and insight of these popular pastors and teachers with the question of whether or not they are living sacrifices. We cannot confuse their success with proof that they are thoroughly conquered slaves of Christ.

But second, I want to emphasize the importance of the local church, and of its pastors and Christian leaders. In the local church we have leaders whose lives we can and should be able to see. We have leaders whose characters should be on display. We have leaders who we should be able to tell, with some accuracy, just how thoroughly they are conquered slaves of Christ. To what extent they are living sacrifices. And when we determine that they largely are slaves of Christ and living sacrifices, then we can have confidence in them. Then we can hear their words with a new level of trust.

So when it comes to our leaders – whether a celebrity pastor or a local leader – we must beware of looking to skills and success, and be more concerned with whether a leader is a thoroughly conquered slave of Christ and a living sacrifice. Paul admits that his opponents were more skilled than he was. But he was still the one that they should have been listening to. Let us not make the same mistake as the Corinthians.

But the application of Paul’s words about apostles does not end with how we think about him, or even how we think about our leaders. It also has implications for us. Because as I have reminded you throughout this series, we are called to imitate Paul as he imitates Christ.

And so, though it won’t take the same form for us as it would for an apostle, each of us is called to live as a captive – as one who has been decisively and publicly conquered by God. And each of us is called to live as a sacrifice – giving off the aroma of Christ with our lives, as we give ourselves sacrificially for others.

This reality gives us both a challenge and an affirmation, I think. I want to consider both.

So first, this reality gives us a challenge. In fact it gives us a calling for ourselves and for those around us.

It might be easiest to start seeing it in regards to those around us. I heard a pastor – and I can’t remember exactly who, though I think it was one of my seminary professors who had served as a pastor – but I heard this pastor describe how in his many meetings with parents over the years, he heard lots of concerns that they had for their children. But he had never had a parent come in to express their concern for how their child could be more of a slave of Christ – more of a living sacrifice – more of a person who was rigorously pursuing holiness – or anything in that genre. Parents wanted their kids to have saving faith of course. And they didn’t want them to sin in ways that might threaten their future success in life. But once those minimum requirements were met – once the child seemed to have faith and it seemed to be reasonably sustainable – the parent’s attention shifted from that to other things – to careers, choices of a spouse, financial security, and so on.

In other words, once they felt confident that their child was going to make it to heaven, this pastor said that in his experience, parents’ attention shifted from spiritual issues to their child’s comfort and success in this life. Their chief concerns surrounded their child’s ability to make a middle or upper-middle class income, and not whether they were pursuing a life that was thoroughly conquered by Christ and that gave off his aroma.

I wonder if we can be guilty of that. And not just with our children, but also with others. With our spouse, with our friends, with our fellow church members, with ourselves.

Our goal should be to help the Christians around us to live as people who are more and more thoroughly conquered slaves to Jesus. Who look more and more like living sacrifices. And that should be our goal for ourselves as well. But how often is it?

How much attention do you give to finances versus being more conquered by Christ? How much prayer do you give to finances versus your concern to be more thoroughly conquered by Jesus? Are you more concerned with a desire that your kids advance beyond you socio-economically or that they advance beyond you spiritually? Are you more concerned about your spouse’s career success or homemaking success … or are you more concerned with their spiritual success?

These are the challenges that this calling to be thoroughly conquered slaves to Christ – to be living sacrifices – puts before us.

In our lives and in the lives of our loved ones, do we value more what Paul valued … or do we value more what his opponents valued?

That presents us with a challenge worth reflecting on.

But this calling should also give us encouragement and affirmation. Because it affirms many of the things we are doing that the world does not value.

It affirms those actions that reflect Christ. It affirms the ordinary, mundane ways that we show love to others. It affirms the choices to humbly serve rather than the choices that get people’s attention.

By affirming the struggling and suffering sacrificial apostle over the flashy and successful teachers opposing Paul, we also affirm the parent who serves their children at home rather than attaining glory somewhere else. By affirming living sacrifices we are affirming the man or woman who sacrificially works hard at a tough and thankless job to provide for their family, rather than only affirming those who have a prestigious career. By affirming the aroma of Christ we affirm the child who can resemble Christ in a small sacrificial act, and not just weight the large gifts that wealthy philanthropists give on a stage.

The call on every Christian to live as a slave of Christ – as a living sacrifice that resembles Christ – is both a challenge and an affirmation. And we should embrace both ends of it.

So that is what this text calls us to. It calls us, first, to acknowledge Paul as he really was – a suffering, sacrificial, conquered slave of Christ. It calls us next to look for the same qualities in our Christian leaders. And it calls us, third, to imitate those same traits in our own lives, nurturing them in the lives of others, and recognizing them when they occur in us or in someone else.

But before we end this morning, I want to ask what it will look like if we really do that. What will the result be? What would it look like if we really sought to be thoroughly conquered by Christ – to live in this world as his slaves, to live as living sacrifices that give off his aroma?

If you did this, what should you expect to happen? How would people respond to you? What would the world say?

You probably have an expectation already, and it probably depends a bit on your personality.

Some folks are optimists and would say that if we really lived this way, if we really gave off the aroma of Christ, then people would come flocking to Christ and to his church. People would be attracted and drawn in.

Others are pessimists. They remind us that the world hated Jesus, and so the more we resemble Jesus, the more hostile the world will become towards us.

But Paul sort of says both. In fact, Paul says both, plus something more.

Let’s look again at our text, from the middle of verse 14 through the middle of verse 16. Paul writes “through us [he] spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.”

Paul points to three reactions. The first, and the most important, is God’s. In trying to live as conquered captives of God, in trying to live as living sacrifices that smell like Christ, our primary goal is pleasing God. And living that way does please God. It pleases God when we smell like Jesus – when we resemble him in our thoughts, words, and deeds.

Now, that doesn’t mean we earn his love by such actions. When I give a gift to my wife I do not do it to earn her love – I do it to please her. And so it is with God. And he is our main focus. And so we strive to smell like Jesus to God because it makes him happy when we are “the aroma of Christ.”

But Paul goes on to say that when we live for God as conquered slaves, as living sacrifices, then people will react in one of two ways. Some will be attracted, and others will be repelled.

It’s kind of like what has happened the last few times I have tried to grill at my house.

I like to grill. I’m not very good at it, but I like doing it. And my daughters always get very excited when we grill. And the three of us love the smell of barbequed meat cooking on the grill. And that is as it should be – it is a delicious smell. Certainly it is a pleasing aroma.

And then there is my wife. And my wife, first of all, has a very sensitive sense of smell. And second, as many of you should know, she is pregnant right now. And so all sorts of tastes and smells that she would normally like, now repulse her, and even make her nauseous. And grilled meat is one of those smells.

And so we discovered this, as I was cooking on the grill, and my daughters were happily enjoying the smell of the barbeque in the back yard, while my wife was feeling like she was going to puke.

Now – we were all smelling the same thing. But it was something internal to each of us that led to our different responses. My daughters and I had healthy responses. My wife’s pregnancy hormones have messed with her stomach and her senses, in such a way that she is repulsed by the very thing that attracts the rest of us.

And that is a little bit what it is like when people react to us when we image Christ. Some are attracted. Some are repulsed. The difference does not lie in each person seeing something different, but in the different states of their hearts.

And along similar lines, it strikes me as interesting that Paul chose the sense of smell for this metaphor. You know you can try to reason with most other senses. If one person doesn’t like a piece of art, often someone who does like it will try to explain to them what is going on in the piece, and try to reason with them until they appreciate it more. They might say, “Look at what he is doing with colors here,” or “Note how he combines these shapes,” or “See the sense of space he creates” to help them better see the goodness of the work.

Similarly, if one person doesn’t like a particular song or style of music, someone who does might try to help them better understand or appreciate it – indicating the musician’s influences or gifts.

But no one really tries to reason with the sense of smell. If one person is repulsed by an aroma, someone else might say that they like it – but they wouldn’t try to convince the other person to like it. They wouldn’t say “You just need to smell it more carefully – see how that odor combines elements of this with just a hint of that?” Odor is a powerful sense for us – but it is largely beyond our reason.

And so it is with people’s reaction when we imitate Christ, and resemble him. You will not be able to reason with those who are repelled by it. Your responsibility is to let God use you to spread that fragrance. What happens with it from there is often out of your hands.

So, what are we called to? Well, ultimately, we are called to spread the gospel. And like Paul, we are called to do it not just with our words but also with our actions. As Francis of Assisi wrote concerning the men in his order, some are called to preach with words, but all are called to “preach by their deeds.” (Francis, The Early Rule, XVII.1) Only a few of us are called to preach in pulpits – but all of us are called to preach by our deeds. And we preach by our deeds when we live as conquered captives of God, and when we smell like Jesus – like a sacrifice. We do that by striving to live to please God. We do that by trying to follow in Christ’s footprints.

This call affirms us as Christ’s followers, because we can do this regardless of our vocation, our age, our gifting, or our status in the world’s eyes. With God’s help, we can all live this out to some degree – in the big things and in the small things.

This call also challenges us. We are to strive to be captives to Christ, and not be people who use the gospel merely for their own benefit. Moreover, we are called to help the people in our lives – our friends, fellow church members, our spouse, and our children – to do the same. And this calling should outrank most others.

How can we better meet this challenge? By seeking, learning from, and drawing close to Christian leaders who do this. This might mean a mentor or a teacher in the church, an older woman or an older man, a pastor or an elder. But whoever it is, it is someone whom we seek out primarily because we see in their lives the reality that they are thoroughly conquered slaves of Christ – giving off his aroma as living sacrifices.

And how do we develop the palate for this kind of leader? Well, we begin by seeing the Apostles, and all of God’s chosen leaders in the Scriptures, aright. We do not turn them into successful professionals and public figures in our minds. We see them as they are in the Scripture – as men and women who regarded themselves as the Lord’s captive slaves, as a servant, or a handmaiden of the Lord – as living sacrifices, called to smell like Christ.

That is what he called them to. That is what he calls us to. Let us gaze upon Christ, and with Paul, let us praise the one who has conquered us and made us his slave – in the hope that we too might be living sacrifices and a pleasing aroma to God.

Amen.

This sermon draws especially on material from:
Barnett, Paul. The Second Epistle to the Corinthians. NICNT. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1997.
Francis of Assisi. “The Early Rule” in Francis of Assisi: The Saint. Volume 1. Edited by Regis J. Armstrong, J. A. Wayne Hellmann, and William J. Short. New York, NY: New City Press, 1999.
Hafemann, Scott J. Suffering & Ministry in the Spirit: Paul’s Defense of His Ministry in II Corinthians 2:14-3:3. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1990.
Wright, N.T. Paul for Everyone: 2 Corinthians. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2004.

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The Aroma of Christ - 2 Corinthians 2:14-17
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