“…the priest shall burn it on the altar as an aroma pleasing to the Lord. In this way the priest will make atonement for him, and he will be forgiven.” (Leviticus 4:31, NIV)
The nose knows, I suppose, and God has a favorite smell. Among the lengthy Levitical “sin payment” rules, with all their blood and death, God repeats something that delights him: a pleasing aroma. His favorite smell.
“Your sacrifice,” God says, “is an aroma that pleases Me. It smells good. When I smell it, I know that you made a sacrifice for your sin. The aroma of atonement pleases me, and indeed, I am pleased to forgive.”
When I read Leviticus with New Testament eyes, I remember that Christ became my sin offering. He was a sacrifice, made on my behalf. He took on all the Levitical “blood and death” to become a pleasing aroma to God, offering “for all time one sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:12), so that mankind’s sin-debt would be paid in full.
God no longer smells the stench of my sin. He smells only Jesus—the aroma of atonement—and is pleased to forgive. His nose knows.
God, thank You again and again for forgiveness. Thank You that Jesus’ death paid for all sins—even mine. Empower me now to become the “aroma of Christ” to the world, and to “spread everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.” (2 Corinthians 2:14-16) I love You, God, and I’m forever grateful. Amen.
Amy Storms (From the archives. Originally published on 66 Books in a Year on February 2, 2009.)