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The Smell of Glory: Christus Victor in II Cor. 2


"I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' dink body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like... victory. Someday this war's gonna end…"

There is no better way to trigger a vivid picture in a person's imagination than with the use of smell, because our sense of smell is powerfully and directly linked to our memories.1 Smell has the ability to transport us back to an experience, including exactly how we felt. Decades later, the moment we smell grandma's cookies baking, we are instantly transported back into her kitchen, a child again, feeling safe and loved—just like it was yesterday. 

The apostle Paul knows this power to conjure emotion through smell. That is why he masterfully exploits this fact to illustrate the impact of the early Jesus movement in a letter to a group of Jesus's followers who lived in a first-century Greco-Roman city.

"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. And who is equal to such a task?"

- II Cor. 2.14-16

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Theological Graffiti is a blog written by T. C. Moore @tc_moore ...a Jesus-disciple, husband, father, Associate Pastor @NewCityChurch of Los Angeles, sometimes web designer, writer, and theology geek. For more about me, visit my Personal Website or my Online Profile. Otherwise, enjoy the graffiti.

T. C.

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