What is The Sweet Savor of Death?

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Hi J____,
Thank you for your question.
You ask about the meaning of:

2Co 2:15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:

What is being said is that our “old… natural man” sees and understands the dying process as something to avoid at all cost. Christ’s words “He that loseth his life for My sake shall find it” to our “old… natural man” stink to high heaven, whereas those in whom the spirit of Christ dwells receive His words as “a sweet savor of Christ”.
To understand this verse it really helps to read the next verse:

2Co 2:16 To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?

“To the one we are the savour of death unto death” is speaking of our ‘old man… the first man Adam’.

Rom 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
1Co 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

Our ‘old man’ does not want to die. Dying to our ‘old man’ is his destruction, and he abhors his own destruction.

Eph 5:29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

Most churches, to this very day, teach that we are resurrected in bodily flesh and blood, which they will tell you is also eternal spirit. That is a lie which contradicts everything Christ and the apostles taught:

Joh 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
1Co 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

The reason God’s Words are so little understood is that “the things of the spirit” are counter- intuitive to our natural man. After all, who wants to die? Yet Christ tells us all in very plain language that we must die in order to enter into life:

Mat 10:39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

Those words to any natural person are simply contradictory, and anyone who believes the words of our Lord will, by the natural man, be accused of believing in contradictions. It has always been so, and as long as there is flesh upon this earth, it will continue to be so. “The natural man receives not the things of the spirit…”

1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

“He cannot know the things of the spirit because they are spiritually discerned”. Now if we are granted to believe and understand those words we should now be able to understand and believe the words of 2Co 2 of which you inquire. Let’s read it with the next verse:

2Co 2:15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:
2Co 2:16 To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?

The person who considers you and I to be the smell of death will avoid us and our doctrine, and will cast us out of their synagogues. On the other hand if we are the smell of life, we will be received, and our words will be received. Here is how the one unto whom “we are the savor of death unto death” will treat us:

Mat 10:17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;
Luk 6:22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.

So the answer to your question is that when anyone “listens diligently to the voice of the Lord” (Exo 15:26), and stands on the words of Christ, and walks where Christ walked, that person will be “hated of all men” and their names shall be “cast out as evil”.

Exo 15:26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.
Mat 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
1Pe 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

Notice that Christ did not say they would bring you before their ‘juries’ or any kind of secular court. The word ‘councils’ is the Hebrew word, ‘Sanhedrin’ meaning religious courts. In other words, the people who will be our persecutors will be the religious leaders of every generation, just as it was with Christ.

1Jn 4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

I hope all these verses help you to see that the answer to your question is that we are the savor of death to the religious establishment in every generation, and we are the savor of life to those who are given to receive the words of Christ in every generation.

Your brother in Christ,
Mike

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