2 Corinthians 2:14 says, “But thanks be to God, Who in Christ always leads us in triumph [as trophies of Christ’s victory] and through us spreads and makes evident the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere,…”
When we diligently spend time seeking the face of the Lord, as our necessity, in prayer and His Word, the power and presence of the Person of the Holy Spirit rises up strong inside our spirits and overflows into our natural lives. As this happens, the Word inside us comes alive with His power and begins to do a cleansing work in us. I suppose a good way of explaining this, is it opens our eyes to see the things in our lives that are not in line with God’s ways, and we feel an urgency to change. It’s as though for the first time, the dirt has been washed out our spiritual eyes, and we begin to see the true condition of our our motives and actions more clearly.
Then, the Word begins to produce the powerful force of faith and hope inside us, as we surrender everything to the Lord and fill our hearts and minds with His perspective. That sets off a flood of peace and joy, filling us with life until we feel we’ll burst if we don’t share this truth with others. The Bible likens this overflowing of life, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost to the fragrance of knowing God. It’s really the evidence of Him at work in our lives. In part 1 of The Fragrance of Knowing Him we discovered we can instinctively recognise when someone has been in the Presence of the Lord like this. There is a strong, undeniable sense of His unconditional love, tenderness, and beautiful humility that lingers on that person.
We also spoke about how this isn’t something only sensed by those who are believers. This fragrance of knowing God is recognisable and very evident to those who are not saved, but are open to the Gospel, and those who are closed to it too. When they sense this fragrance of Christ, their hearts respond to it. They are either drawn to its life, or they sense a terrible dread, where they know they must repent or spend an eternity separated from God. Did you know the Bible actually calls this a ministry. What’s more, it specifies that we must qualify to carry the fragrance of the knowledge of God.
Now, let me remind you, those aren’t my words, they are found in God’s Word. In the Amplified Classic version, the end of verse 16 of 2 Corinthians 2 says: “… And who is qualified (fit and sufficient) for these things? [Who is able for such a ministry? We?]” It’s asking the pertinent question: Who actually qualifies to carry the fragrance of Christ?
It clearly implies there is a way we can tell if someone really does know God and has surrendered to His working in their lives. In other words, there is a way to tell if someone is just saying the right words, even saying them very well – but without any real power or substance to back those words. What I mean is, we are warned that there will be people who claim to know God and preach His Word, but they do it without a personal relationship with the Word Himself. They are not submitted to the truth of God’s Word where it should be doing a cleansing and transforming work in them, and then empowering them with faith and life and supernatural peace. This would make them imposters – people who are craftily using the Word to deceive others for their own selfish gain and motives. Verse 17 lays it out clear and plain: “For we are not, like so many, [like hucksters making a trade of] peddling God’s Word [shortchanging and adulterating the divine message];…” The verse goes on to say that we must be people of sincerity and the purest motives, if we are going to carry the fragrance of knowing God: “…but like [men] of sincerity and the purest motive, as [commissioned and sent] by God, we speak [His message] in Christ (the Messiah), in the [very] sight and presence of God.”
More than anything, I desire to carry the fragrance of the knowledge of God. Every time I deliberately spend time seeking His face as my necessity, in prayer and in His Word, I know I can encounter Him, and trust Him to do a cleansing, healing, and transforming work in me. We can expect to tangibly feel His presence when we come to Him in faith. We hear His instruction, His gentle correction, and His loving encouragement. We literally feel His Word, by His Spirit, go to work inside us, renewing our minds and transforming us to think, see, believe, and act as He does. Of course this is going to have a significant impact on our lives and everyone we deal with throughout our day. God’s lingering Presence in and on us will minister life to others. But we can’t ignore or brush aside that very sober warning regarding this miraculous ministry. Verse 17 of 2 Corinthians 2 links carrying the fragrance of the knowledge of God with a deep, reverential respect and honour for God’s Word, and the manner in which we receive and present it.
This really isn’t surprising because in truth, we can’t separate God from His Word! They are one and the same! 2 Timothy 3:16 says all scripture is God-breathed! It is inspired by and filled with the life and essence of God Himself. So if we truly carry the evidence of intimately knowing God – we carry the evidence of intimately knowing His Word too. And the way we present His Word to others must be done in absolute integrity and purity of heart – because we are in essence presenting to them the one thing He honours as, and above, His own Name. Psalm 138:2 says God honours His Word above all, and His Name. The Amplified Classic translation says, “I will worship toward Your holy temple and praise Your name for Your loving-kindness and for Your truth and faithfulness; for You have exalted above all else Your name and Your word and You have magnified Your word above all Your name!”
If God regards His Word so highly, who are we to ever dare receive and present it with any less respect – knowing full well it carries His full heart and intent? It also carries His life and His power, so how can we not hold it out with the utmost respect and integrity? Why would we water its truth down, or manipulate it to suit our own desires? Why would we disrespect its principles and disregard them by saying they’re no longer relevant to the times we’re living in, just because they are uncomfortable to our flesh or unpopular in society? I found myself checking if there had ever been a time where I presented His Word for any reason other than the purest of motives. Has there ever been a time I didn’t present it as a direct commission from God Himself? Has there every been a moment, public or private, where I have spoken His Word and not been completely aware that I was declaring it in His sight and in His Presence?
I do believe there is a call to every child of God, regardless of whether we’re in a position of leadership or not, to stand before Him and ask the Holy Spirit to search our hearts. If there has been a time where we have received or presented His Word outside of an absolutely pure motive and intent, knowing we are presenting what is of utmost importance to Him – we must repent. Then choose to never, ever be found wanting in this regard again. We are living in times where we must make a clear choice to either stand wholeheartedly for the truth and integrity of God’s Word, or give over to compromise. If we are prepared to live for the God of the Bible, continuously seek His face as our necessity, and receive and present His Word with the honour and respect it deserves, we will qualify for the ministry of carrying the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere we go. We will see God go before us and honour His Word, as He leads us in triumph and never ending victory over the enemy, in every area of life. These are the days where we will be a vital part of ushering in His glory for the great awakening and end time harvest – as we each personally and intentionally carry the fragrance of knowing God wherever we go!