THE DIFFERENCE ONE SACRIFICE MAKES
And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. Genesis 8:22
What changed from the time before the flood to the time after the flood? Not much as far as sin goes. Judgment hadn’t take away the sin nature of man. The family who exited the ark was just as sinful, by nature, as the families who had been destroyed in the flood. Judgment had not changed individual hearts. So why was God making a beautiful promise to Noah if he and his descendants were going to sin again?
Because he offered a sacrifice to atone for his sins. Oh, the difference one sacrifice makes. Those who perished in the floodwaters were stiff-necked. They refused to see their sin and make atonement for it. Noah recognized his sin and recognized his need to offer a sacrifice. Mercy and the promise of blessing was God’s response.
When no atonement has been applied to mankind, eternal judgment is the end result. When there is a Savior, and a man or woman acknowledges their sin and embraces the atonement He offers, judgment is withheld. Mercy appears. Sin’s debt is paid. The promises of God are in full effect.
Atonement has always had an aroma that affects God. It causes a visceral reaction inside of Him. When Christ died as the ultimate and final atonement for my sin, God breathed in the powerful fragrance yet again. “And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Eph. 5:2 When Jesus breathed His last, God tore the veil in the temple and drew near to be intimate to those who would embrace His Son as their Savior. Then He extended mercy. Judgment was removed.
As if anything could supersede the beauty of previous story, there is one more piece that brings me joy. Does God still smell the aroma of a sacrifice? Yes. It’s not from an animal. It’s not even ‘just’ from Christ. The aroma is coming from you and me. “For we are the aroma of Christ to God.” 2 Cor. 2:15 The pleasure experienced by God is enhanced when, daily, I offer my life as a continual sacrifice to Him. I am the aroma of Christ not only because I made Him my Savior but because I am passionate to think like Him, love like Him, live like Him, and rule with Him.
When you look at me, you don’t see my sin. I am dead to sin and alive to You. Because of Your mercy, You breathe deeply when I am in Your presence and feel nothing but pleasure. Amen