The Fragrance of Christ

By Lynette Auch

Date: December 13, 2018

Category: Abortion, Sharing the Message of Lutherans For Life, Abortion and the Church, End of Life, Worldview and Culture, Christian Responsibility

In Isaiah 46:5 (NIV), God questions the house of Israel, “To whom will you … compare me, that we may be alike?” 

How could the Israelites worship and compare the Creator of heaven and earth with a piece of molded gold?

God said, “Listen to me … who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb; even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save … I am God, and there is none like me… My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose … I will do it” (Isaiah 46:3-11 ESV).

As I considered this Scripture and Lutherans For Life’s 40th anniversary conference theme, From Age to Age the Same, the Sovereignty of God kept echoing in my mind. There is absolutely nothing that happens in the universe that is outside of God’s influence and authority. God has no limitations.

Scripture is filled with evidence:

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” (Romans 11:33 NIV).

“Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you” (Jeremiah 32:17).

We live in a depraved world and society that smell of death. It is filled with frustrations, disappointment, tragedies, sickness, death, injustice, evil, debauchery, lies, and the like. If allowed, these smelly issues may consume our lives, enslave us, and, perhaps, even become our gods.

As the First Commandment instructs, our Heavenly Father does not take kindly to His children putting anything before Him.

Feeling frustrated, I recall commenting to our LFL Life Chapter pastoral advisor, “We have been working in the pro-life movement for ten years now; we are still fighting the same fight! Does it matter? Are we making a difference?” His reply:

“We may never really know whose life or how many lives have actually been touched with the Gospel and life message through our efforts.”

So here we are, fighting the same fight, observing 40 years of life-affirming work through the ministry of Lutherans For Life!

At 88 years of age, Dr. Jean Garton, the first president of LFL, had devoted over 47 years of her life to traveling and speaking the For Life message. Why? In her words, “Once your eyes are open to the tragedy of abortion, you cannot ‘unsee.’”

We have been called to be salt and light by Jesus Himself. Jean Garton had learned from Jesus that “Christianity is not a spectator sport.”

Participation in life-affirming work is proof that we cannot “unsee” the tragedies of abortion and its related tentacles of death. We just cannot be spectators in this game of life. Instead, we must choose to be Champions For Life!

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life … in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God” (2 Corinthians 2:14-17 NIV).

I recently read a story about Tom, who, weary from traveling, had found rest and refuge in the home of friends of friends. He was welcomed with open arms. He immediately felt a sense of peace. He felt at home, comfortable, safe, and valued. Tom wondered why he had felt such peace amidst strangers. Later, Tom found an answer in 2 Corinthians. The Apostle Paul describes people who follow God as having the “pleasing aroma of Christ.” Tom’s hosts had the “sweet smell” of Christ.

Paul says the people of God carry a pleasing fragrance to those who believe. From Age to Age the Same are God’s promises: “I will bear; I will carry and will save.”

When we abide under the wings of the Heavenly Father and allow Him to be the God of our lives, the enemy will flee; we will find peace and freedom. In that peace and freedom we can be Champions for Life. As Champions for Life—passionate about defending God’s gift of life and speaking the saving grace of Jesus Christ—the stench of death will be overcome by the sweet fragrance of Christ.

As we find ways to demonstrate and speak life, hope, and love, I pray that we may spread the aroma of Christ to the world.

Heavenly Father, thank You for leading Your people in triumph. Use us to spread the fragrance of Christ to all we meet. Amen.

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