I had the opportunity to spend some time with Scott Edwards, my brother-in-law last week. I consider him a brother without the “in-law” and he is definitely a brother in Christ. We have the potential to be dangerous together but we do have some very interesting conversations.
Take a conversation we had last week. We got to talking about the Temple, built by Solomon in Jerusalem. It had to be a magnificent structure. All of the gold, silver and bronze, and the veil that separated the Holy of Holies, it had to be incredible.
But think about the sacrifices. All of the burnt offerings that God commanded. Can you imagine the number of animals slaughtered, the blood poured on the alter and the burning of the sacrifices and the smell. I mean it smells just being around living animals. Think about how the smell must have been. To us it would be incredibly offensive. But to God it was “an aroma pleasing to the Lord.”
Pleasing? You bet, just read Leviticus. To think that our sin is so repugnant that the burning of animals would be pleasing to the Lord. I don’t know about you but that gives me pause. The Temple is gone now, no sacrifices needed but my sin remains. Sin that I can’t even begin to imagine how it offends God in action and smell.
Enter Jesus. The atonement and sacrifice for all of our sin. His blood, willingly shed, covers the stench of our sin. Salvation, mercy and grace flowed from the cross. Then why do we sin so easily and sometimes so willingly? Do we treat Jesus and the cross, not only as a “Get out of Hell free” card, but as an excuse to sin and know we will be forgiven? We are called to better. We are called to a higher standard.
I know that on this side of eternity we will never be sinless, however, we are called to confess, repent and forsake our sin. Die to ourselves daily, pick up our crosses and follow Him. And in doing so there is a way for us to produce an aroma pleasing to God.
Paul thanked the church in Philippi for their gifts to him. We can do the same when we not only give to help others but perform other acts of kindness in the name of Jesus. There are endless acts we can do in the name of Jesus and produce “a fragrant offering.” Open a door for someone, pray for someone, help a stranger with a flat tire, cut an elderly persons yard, say something nice to someone down or help someone in need. It goes on and on.
I would much rather do something that is pleasing to the Lord, instead of my sin that is so foul the smell of burnt animals is better. What have we done today, or this week, for someone? My prayer is that the men of RAMP would be a fragrant and pleasing aroma to the Lord.
Always running to the cross!