Smell Like Eternity

Recently, I needed a series of bloodwork done. I arrived at the laboratory, hungry, but ready. The lab technician called my name and I followed her into the lab. She directed me to where I could sit, and as she was getting everything prepared, she made small talk, as only one who deals with people every day, can do:

“What perfume are you wearing?”

“Oh!” I responded a little surprised that the perfume had held its scent, “Eternity.”

“Eternity?”

“Yes, by Calvin Klein.”

“It smells really nice.”

“Thank you.”

Suddenly, I was struck by the irony. I kind of chuckled to myself. I’m wearing a perfume called Eternity. I’d never thought of the implications of it before. Perfumes generally “turn” on me, becoming more of a skunk smell than what it was meant to be. This one doesn’t, which is why I have chosen to wear it.

As I sat there, my thoughts went deeper. Isn’t that exactly how I want to present myself: As someone who embodies the Kingdom of God here on earth? I realized how much I like having people identify me with eternity. Not necessarily the perfume, but the idea that others would notice something about my life that is reflective of my relationship with God.

I am reminded of the verse from: 2 Corinthians 2:15 (Living Bible)

As far as God is concerned there is a sweet, wholesome fragrance in our lives. It is the fragrance of Christ within us, an aroma to both the saved and the unsaved all around us.

While it seems like an odd concept, those who believe, smell like Eternity.

But what does it look like to be a person who lives smelling like Eternity, or in other words, exemplifies a “sweet, wholesome fragrance” in their life?”

The idea of fragrance or aroma can actually be found throughout the Bible.

In the Old Testament, burnt offerings were given to make atonement for the sins of the person who was making the offering. In doing this, the person was recognizing their sin, and consequently, acknowledging their need for forgiveness. The action of bringing an offering revealed the person’s belief in God’s faithfulness, because once the offering was made, the sin was forgiven.

The process of burning the offering gave off an aroma. We can see in the Old Testament that God took pleasure in these offerings. His reaction to the offerings is often described as a “pleasant aroma”, an “aroma pleasing to the Lord”, “a sweet smell” or a “soothing aroma.”[1]

In the New Testament, there is no longer a need for burnt offerings. When Christ was crucified and three days later was raised from the dead, the need for these kinds of sacrifices was no longer necessary. His was the final sacrifice. Therefore, Christ offered forgiveness through what he did. His sacrifice put together with our belief in Him, creates in us a fragrance that is pleasing to God, a “fragrance” of forgiveness and grace.

Because of what Christ did for us, we become a people who are expected to give forgiveness and grace as lavishly as Christ has given them to us. We walk on this earth as the forgiven people we are, not necessarily stuck in grief over our sinfulness, but in confidence and joy that God sees past our sinfulness and looks at us as the people we are meant to be. As a result, our smell or countenance is pleasant, not only to God, but to those around us. Imagine the difference in our interactions with people, if we present ourselves as “pleasant”, “soothing”, and “sweet”.

This kind of attitude or posture makes us appealing. It is in sharp contrast to what is offered in the world. Certainly, our presentation of the Kingdom of God would have more positive effect with this approach in our lives. Others are attracted by this and will want to join us in this life in the Kingdom, that is here and now, and yet to come.

And that’s how I want to live. To have the smell of Eternity whirling around me, reflecting my belief in God’s faithfulness, to be seen as sweet, soothing, and pleasant, and to offer to others the forgiveness and grace I have been given.

My hope is, if I can live like this, people will ask, even when I am not wearing Eternity by Calvin Klein, “What is that fragrance you are wearing?”

“It is Eternity.”

[1]  Genesis 8:21, Exodus 29:18, Exodus 29:25, Leviticus 1:9, Leviticus 4:31, Leviticus 8:21, Numbers 15:3