“We are like a sweet-smelling incense offered by Christ to God, which spreads among those who are being saved and those who are being lost”.
2 Cor 2:15 GNB
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was the leader of the confessing church in Germany in World War II. He was imprisoned for his anti-Nazi stance and executed on 9th April 1945, just before the war ended. Witnessing his death was the resident doctor at the Flossenburg concentration camp. He said, “Through the half-open door in one room of the huts I saw Pastor Bonhoeffer, before taking off his prison garb, kneeling on the floor, praying fervently to his God. I was most deeply moved by the way this lovable man prayed, so devout and so certain that God heard his prayer. At the place of execution, he again said a short prayer and then climbed the steps to the gallows, brave and composed. His death ensued after a few seconds. In the almost fifty years that I worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God” (E. Metaxas, Bonhoeffer, Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, p532). Bonhoeffer’s life and death (he was only 39 years old) were an offering to God and the phrase used by Paul here, “a sweet-smelling incense offered by Christ to God” well sums up the effect he had on the Christian world.
Many Christian believers in Paul’s day were, in the hostile world of the first century, also sweet-smelling incense offered to God. They filled the world around them with a holy fragrance that was pleasing to God. And they drew other people into the orbit of God’s love in Christ. People were converted to Christ as much by their influence as by the preaching of the apostles.
Lord, make my life an offering to you.