By: Taylor Cain
One of my weaknesses as a Christian is sharing the gospel. I am afraid of rejection and a lot of times that is what the outcome of my evangelism looks like. So, I begin to build a wall of concrete cinder blocks from the times I've been rejected. When I didn’t choose to share the gospel I often pointed to all the times I have been rejected in my heart. But by God’s grace, He has given me encouragement through His Word which is the wrecking ball that crushes my wall and gives me confidence going forward. When I find it hard to share the Gospel, I look to 2 Corinthians 2:11-17 for help. Because we have been triumphed over by God in Christ; we have every reason to spread the sweet, savoriness of His gospel everywhere. Though we will face rejection and be despised, we must never forget our Savior promised us this.
Who Were We Before Christ?
Christian, do you remember what you were before Christ interrupted your journey towards an eternity without God? Did a lifestyle of endless roads and empty pleasure bring you joy? Before Christ, you were destined for an eternity without God. An eternity, forever, an unending amount of time without God. And you would not have had a second chance. But because of His goodness and the riches of His mercy, He made you alive. (Ephesians 2:1) While you were still in sin, He picked you up, washed you clean, and His Son clothed you in His righteousness. (Ezekiel 16) The unrighteous receives the garments of royalty and in exchange, the Righteous took on the pauper’s worn-out rags of impending wrath. God triumphed over you in Christ so that you would be reconciled to Himself. Only in Christ do you become presentable before the Matchless Holy King.
An Effectual Door
In 2 Corinthians 2:11-13, Paul continues on his missionary journey. John Gill comments that God opens “an effectual door for him to preach the Gospel at Troas.” Even though there is a door of opportunity to preach Christ, Paul desires to head to Macedonia where he would find Titus. Titus had the report of the Corinthian church that Paul was so eager to hear about. The initial letter that Paul had written to the Corinthian church was a letter that left Paul in anticipation. He wanted to go back to Corinth but was unsure if he would be welcome. He meets with Titus and we find out in chapter 7 that this meeting led to Paul’s joy and relief. The tone of the passage switches in verses 14-17. Paul’s attitude goes from being anxious and weary to being thankful. In verse 14, he reflects on what God has done through Christ in Paul’s life. Paul mentions he is thankful to God for leading him in triumphal procession. This doesn’t mean that Paul is thankful that God is giving him some type of a superior advantage over his foes. It’d make sense because in Paul’s place of ministry he is constantly facing opposition. But Paul instead is referring to God’s triumph over Paul’s life when he was an enemy to God before his conversion.
The Triumphant One
Now, Paul receives the instruction to fight for God whether that costs him his ego or his life. Like Christ, in John 18:4, Paul’s mission is to go forward with the gospel that God used as the power of triumph over him. This triumphal procession took place when a pack of Roman soldiers would make their way marching in a parade to show their victory over their enemy. But in this picture God is the triumphant one, Paul is now a soldier under God’s lead, and the enemies are the ones following. In the Roman setting, the civilians would lay down bouquets of flowers on the ground. Every time the soldiers or horses would stomp on the petals the fragrance would spread throughout the ally. The substitutionary death of Christ was the fragrance that went into the nostrils of God when He was crushed for us. We are to spread this fragrance everywhere.
The Aroma of God
Christ’s sacrifice on the cross should lead us to take up our own cross and follow Him in obedience. If we are in Christ there will be a fragrance that goes with us wherever we step foot. The aroma of God that spreads through us initially goes to His nose. “We are the aroma of Christ to God.” And then it spreads to others. But first our obedience is due to God and the result of that obedience overflows in taking the gospel to our each other and to our community. There are two classes of people you will face as you spread the fragrance of the gospel. To some, the gospel will be a stench, and there will be a great rejection of it. But by God’s grace, the gospel will be a sweet savor to others. They will respond to it with gladness and joy. In every situation, whether we face rejection or someone turns to Christ, we must rejoice! Why? Because we are not sufficient for this task. Paul couldn’t do it alone. You and I are useless apart from the inward transformation of the Spirit. Only Christ is sufficient in enabling us to share His gospel.
Confident in God
Finally, in 2 Corinthians 2:17, Paul gives us a warning. We should never be in the work of ministering to others for our own gain. If we share the gospel for any other reason than for God’s glory then we need to examine ourselves. Peddlers of God’s word speak out of their own man-made methods and depend on their own abilities. The proof that a Christian is genuine in his or her desire to share the gospel is their dependence upon God’s enabling work in the unregenerate life. Christian, we must never forget God grows, we cultivate. Be comforted in the fact that we have no reason to rest in ourselves when it comes to evangelism. Be confident in God who led you to hear the gospel that saved you. When you feel the urge to start building up walls of insecurity, remember the grace of Christ that triumphed in your life by the gospel witness of a friend. Is your moment of insecurity worth seeing someone continue on the track of eternity without God? This question comes to mind every time I am urged by the Spirit to share the gospel. Though rejections will continue to come I can rest assured that the results of my gospel witness are up to God. We should find peace and assurance in this truth! Be confident in God and bold to proclaim the coming of His kingdom.