Smells, odors, fragrances. These all play a vital role in life as we know it. Without them we would not be able to accurately taste the delicious food we enjoy nor would we be able to savor the rich smell of coffee or baking bread. But not all odors we come across each day are pleasant and enjoyable. Living in the country, I almost daily smell the pungent fragrance of skunk and the “wonderful” aroma of cow manure. While you may not come across these smells often, there are other unpleasant odors we use in everyday life, such as the sharpness of bleach or distinct smell of car exhaust. So fragrance and smell plays an important part in our lives. Sometimes we enjoy what comes through our sense of smell, but other times we don’t. Nevertheless, without this sense, life would not be the same.
Paul understood how much of life is connected with the sense of smell, and he used it in a metaphor representing our life in Christ and what God does through us as He leads us forward in triumph.
Today, we’re going to focus on a verse that is probably pretty familiar to you. Even if you can’t quote it verbatim, you will probably recognize it. It’s a verse that promises us victory, triumph, and success. Things we’re all longing for in this spiritual battle. It seems fitting that after talking about forgiveness and its way to victory, we should study our triumphal procession and Who leads us in this victory march. So just dive right in and take a look at what Paul has to teach us in II Corinthians chapter two.
Spring is on its way! The crocuses are blooming, and early daffodils are springing up from the ground. While these purple hyacinths are not in season yet, they do give us a clue to what we’re going to be discussing in today’s study. In the language of flowers, purple hyacinths represent forgiveness which is our topic for today.
This is a powerful and convicting topic for all of us. For I’m sure that at some point in life you have been wronged, hurt, or experienced the pain of injustice. However, as Christians we are called to forgive. Why? Because it is our way to victory and defeat of Satan. So let’s jump right in and see where we find this important lesson in our study of II Corinthians.
The Corinthians were wounded. They felt jilted by his lack of stopping by for a visit. Their hearts were stung by his harsh word of exhortation and first letter of discipline. They doubted Paul’s love for them. The pain of discipline and sting of rebuke blinded them to the simple truth that all this was done because Paul still loved them and not because his love had wavered. And Paul reminds them of this fact in the opening of II Corinthians chapter two, which is what we’re going to look at today.