15 For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 16 To some we are an aroma of death leading to death, but to others, an aroma of life leading to life. Who is adequate for these things?
A good smelling aroma is symbolic of righteousness by being born again [having faith in Jesus], doing God’s will [spreading the Gospel], and living a life according to God’s Word.
Imagine a homeless man who hasn’t showered for months. Now, he came across a good amount of money from a generous person. The homeless man wanted to eat at his favorite restaurant that he used to go to before he became destitute.
He got some clean clothes but there were no showers available in his immediate area. He thought to himself if I purchase a bottle of cologne from the dealer in the corner, I can put it on and no one can smell me and tell the difference.
Before the homeless man sat down, his odor that had a rotten smell to it, mixed with the pleasant smelling aroma of the cologne permeated the whole dining room where people were beginning to gag.
That’s a picture of what it looks like to the Lord Jesus Christ when a person rejects Him and wants to be righteous by his own merit.
A person’s sin cannot be hidden from the Lord, just like a foul smell cannot be masked.
A person who professes Christianity and at the same time dabbles with New Age or with some occult practices is not only deceiving himself but may also cause difficulties in the lives [faith] of other believers which bring these verses to mind:
2 Aaron said to them, “Have your wives, sons, and daughters take off the gold earrings they are wearing, and bring them to me.”
3 So all the people took off their gold earrings and handed them to Aaron. 4 After he had worked on the gold with a tool, he made it into a statue of a calf.
Then they said, “Israel, here are your gods who brought you out of Egypt.”
5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of it and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival in the Lord’s honor.”
Aaron, who was responsible for keeping the people in order [to keep them from going astray], is the main stumbling block who toppled their faith into full-blown idolatry. If Moses would not have intervened by asking God for mercy on his behalf, for his brother Aaron, he would have been out of gas [in serious trouble] because God was angry enough to put him to death. [Deuteronomy 9:20 The Lord was angry enough with Aaron to destroy him. But I prayed for Aaron at that time also.]
We must be careful, in what we say or do because it can have eternal consequences. We must make sure that what we are teaching is according to the truth of Holy Scripture.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil. 2 After He had fasted 40 days and 40 nights, He was hungry. 3 Then the tempter approached Him and said, “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
4 But He answered, “It is written:
Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Satan’s attack on Jesus came at His weakest [physically] point. That is how evil spirits come to attack believers when they are at their lowest.
The question then becomes, “why did Satan want Jesus to turn the stones into bread?”
What is the significance?
The desires of the flesh can be very tough to hold back. A good comparison would be to that of a dam. The water represents the desires of the flesh and the concrete wall represents our faith. The closer we are to Jesus the thicker the wall becomes, holding back the flesh from sinning against the Lord, but if we stop seeking the Lord, the wall becomes thin and starts to fracture. If the wall breaks, the water will devastate everything in site just like sin does.
Satan will always tempt our flesh.
To go into a little deeper we must go back in time when Satan used the same temptation with the Israelites in the wilderness.
Exodus 16:1-4, 9
The entire Israelite community departed from Elim and came to the Wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had left the land of Egypt. 2 The entire Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by pots of meat and ate all the bread we wanted. Instead, you brought us into this wilderness to make this whole assembly die of hunger!”
9 Then Moses told Aaron, “Say to the entire Israelite community, ‘Come before the Lord, for He has heard your complaints.’”
The Israelite community did not trust in the Lord’s provision for them so they wanted to go back and be slaves all over again just to satisfy the flesh.
Let’s go back to Jesus’ temptation. When Satan tried to make Him turn the stones into bread to prove that He was the Son of God, Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3. Let’s take a look and we will see the parallel between the Israelites journey in the wilderness and Jesus’s.
“You must carefully follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase, and may enter and take possession of the land the Lord swore to your fathers. 2 Remember that the Lord your God led you on the entire journey these 40 years in the wilderness, so that He might humble you and test you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands. 3 He humbled you by letting you go hungry; then He gave you manna to eat, which you and your fathers had not known, so that you might learn that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
Jesus fasted in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights [Matthew 4:2]
The Jewish people were in the wilderness for 40 years [Deut. 8:2]
The devil attacked Jesus after His 40 days fast when the body was famished.
The Israelites were attacked after they ran out of food and were famished.
Satan tried to get Jesus to abandon God by trying to convince Him to seek provision apart from God and not trust or wait on the LORD to provide food at the proper time.
Satan convinced the Israelites that in Egypt they had all they wanted to eat so that their flesh can be satisfied. The devil persuaded them to abandon God to satisfy their hunger.
Jesus showed us that God is more important than anything else, that we must love the Lord our God with all our soul, mind, and strength [our being]
Trust requires us to let go of our own dependency [what we think we can do] and put it upon Christ who is never too early or too late but always on time [having the best for us].
After Jesus’ unwavering submission to the Father prevailed against Satan, the Father sent His angels to take care of the Son.
It doesn’t matter how hard it might seem in what you are going through with no way out, Jesus will provide a way out.
Look how the Father provided for His Son. He was in a desolate place, with no marketplace to sell Him food, God did the impossible, He sent Him food through His angels.
God will do the same for you or do you have little faith? Believe, He is the provider and sustainer of our lives and soul.