“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).
One day a wise grandmother was spending the day with her young grandson. The little boy asked his grandmother about the tooth fairy. He said, “Grandma, is there such a thing as a tooth fairy?” Not wanting to disgruntle the young lad, she replied, “Well, when you lose a tooth there is always money under your pillow, isn’t there?” “Yes,” the smiling young boy said, “but the money still smells like Daddy’s billfold.”
The world has many different ways of defining the church, but God’s word is very definite about her description. In fact, in opposition to what the world believes, Paul wrote, “There is one body…” (Eph 4:4). In another passage he explains that Jesus is “head of the body, the church” (Colossians 1:18). The world’s acceptance doesn’t define truth. It is God Himself that defines truth (John 17:17). If one is going to be faithful to God’s truth they must belong to God’s church which is clearly defined in the Bible.
But with all the different choices in the religious world how do we know the church? The church, like the father’s billfold, has a distinct smell and true Christians will “smell” like their Father. His work in their hearts will reveal God-like characteristics. They will bear distinctive traces of His goodness, reveal marks of His transformation and they will reflect the pureness of His love. All these are reminders that the church smells like God.
The church has been separated from the world and its practices and they smell like God when they react to evil differently than the world (Romans 12:21). Relying on God’s truth to deliver His people is a unique distinction only shared by those of the faith. The world reeks of perverseness and immorality but Christians smell of the holiness of obedient children (1 Peter 1:15). Christians live a life of holiness so that the world may recognize them as people who have been bought and sent by God to tell of His glory.
Christians also have a distinct smell of godly love: "Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). The context of this passage is the completeness of God’s love. People will surely recognize the church by the completeness of their love for one another and those still in held in sin’s grip. Their lives are clearly defined by the sacrificial love God sent down through His grace to lead the church out of the captivity of sin. They share the same love that separated them from sin’s demise with those who are lost to help them find their way out of sin and its wages of death.
No matter what people may think, the world will always smell like the world, but the church will have a different aroma. The Christian’s character will be a reflection of the Father’s love because it originates in God. Their words and deeds will have a beautiful aroma. Their message will smell like the most beautiful incense, yet be clear and strong. The saints have been marked with the presence of God and the church will always smell like the One who called them out of the stench that is affixed to the soul without Christ.
In His Grace,