Savor of Life or Death

"For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?" (2 Corinthians 2:15-16)

It is remarkable how the very same testimony can have such dramatically opposite effects on its recipients. A lecture on the scientific evidences of creation, for example, or on the inspiration of the Bible will be received with great joy and understanding by some, provoke furious hostility in some, and generate utter indifference in others. This seems to be true of any message—written, or verbal, or simply demonstrated in behavior—which has any kind of biblically spiritual dimension to it. It is like the pillar of cloud in the wilderness, which "came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night" (Exodus 14:20). A Christian testimony draws and wins the one, repels and condemns the other. Some there are who "loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil" (John 3:17).

Thus the wonderful message of the gospel yields two diametrically opposite results. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him" (John 3:36). Christ came to bring both unity and division. "Behold I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious. . . . Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient. . . . a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word" (1 Peter 2:6-8).

But the wonderful thing is this: Whether a true testimony generates life or condemns to death, it is still "unto God a sweet savor of Christ." HMM


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