Making the Fragrance of the Knowledge of God Perceptible
AMONG God’s many gifts to man is the sense of smell. It not only gives man much pleasure but at times also serves to warn of harm, from stuffy rooms to poisonous odors. And a beautiful odor not only is a pleasure to smell but also is refreshing, stimulating and invigorating. Incidentally, it has been well observed that the sense of smell, unlike that of sight or hearing, man has been unable to duplicate.
Because of the pleasure and benefit we receive from a delightful fragrance, God likens the knowledge of himself to such a fragrance. This knowledge of him certainly is beautiful, refreshing, stimulating and invigorating; yes, so much so that it brings happiness and everlasting life to all that keep taking in this fragrance. And this has been especially true since Christ gained the triumph over Satan and his demon horde and cast them down to earth.—John 17:3; Rev. 12:9, NW.
Aptly describing the part Christians play in spreading this fragrant knowledge Paul wrote: “Thanks be to God who always leads us in a triumphal procession in company with the Christ and makes the odor of the knowledge of him perceptible through us in every place!”—2 Cor. 2:14, NW.*
One might think that such a beautiful life-giving odor would be appreciated by all. But not so; for, as Paul goes on to show: “We are a sweet odor of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the latter ones an odor issuing from death to death, to the former ones an odor issuing from life to life.” Only to the few who sigh and cry because of the abominations they see in Christendom, who love righteousness and are conscious of their spiritual need, is this knowledge of God a beautiful, life-giving fragrance, which they inhale deeply to their benefit. Such may be said to have good noses.—2 Cor. 2:15, 16, NW.
But for the great majority of people today, those who are lovers of worldly pleasures rather than lovers of God and worshipers of creatures rather than worshipers of the Creator, the fragrant knowledge of God is a death-dealing plague. And no wonder, since they are in love with this wicked old world and this knowledge tells of its destruction. All such might be said to have bad noses and to them Jehovah’s servants stink!
But regardless of how the people react to our fragrant message, as dedicated ministerial servants of Jehovah we have the obligation to make the fragrance of the knowledge of God perceptible to all. Just as the stopper of a perfume bottle must be taken out and some of the perfume daubed upon the skin or clothes to make its fragrance perceptible to others, so with our fragrant knowledge of God. We must open up, we must speak out, we must identify ourselves as one of those having this fragrant knowledge so that it may be perceptible to all. If some are offended and hold their noses shut, as it were, we may not feel embarrassed or ashamed. We should prefer it to be otherwise; but the fault lies with their noses, not with our fragrant message!
So let us be generous with this fragrant knowledge of God, using it freely, even as we have received it freely. Let us give lovers of righteousness the full benefit of this fragrance so that they also can realize the joy of being in Jehovah’s triumphal procession, making the fragrance of the knowledge of God perceptible to still others.
For details see The Watchtower, October 15, 1955.