Enjoying the Journey has many friends in the ministry who help and encourage us along the way. John Buckner is a real student of God’s Word. He has spent the last several years in Jerusalem completing a Master’s degree in Classical Hebrew and has dedicated His life to the study of God’s Word. We are happy to provide you with this article written by him. One of our goals is to provide resources to encourage and equip God’s people to serve Him; we believe this article will challenge you today.
In perfumery, the scent that lingers in the air around the wearer, and hangs about even after they pass by, is called sillage. An aspect of perfume quality, and one frequently discussed in reviews, is the strength of a perfume or cologne’s sillage.
It is not a coincidence that the Apostle Paul compared the Gospel to a perfume’s sillage in 2 Corinthians 2:14-16. Paul’s hometown of Tarsus hosted a well-known school of botany and pharmacology in the ancient world, attracting scholars from around the Roman world. Dioscorides was associated with the school and a contemporary of Paul. His writings on botany stayed in use for the next 1,500 years and is still a valuable reference today. Beyond that, Tarsus was an important port on the silk and spice routes, which traded luxury goods such as perfume ingredients, from Asia to Rome in antiquity.
“Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: 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?”
In other words, the sillage of us who are saved is to be the sweet scent of the Gospel. Our witness for God is compared to a luxury good, a valuable perfume. To those who are saved, we carry the witness of the death and resurrection of our Savior. To the ones who are perishing, our sillage should tell of the hope of eternal life.
It is a great privilege that God has chosen us to make manifest the scent of His knowledge. Do you as a believer have the scent of the Gospel lingering in the air around you? Usually scent enters our consciousness and causes chemical reactions in our brains before we even realize it. Is that how the lost and the saved perceive the Gospel on you? Before you even say a word, do they perceive something different in the air around you?
Even the strongest of perfumes will fade with time, or with the sweat and grime of life. What is important for the believer is to reapply the Gospel to their own life often, just as you would a cologne or a perfume. As believers, we should be so saturated with the Gospel and the sweet scent of Christ that everyone whom we approach will notice. How is your sillage?
– John Buckner. February 8, 2023
(John has written many such articles based upon research on fragrances of the Bible. For more helpful resources, you may contact him at: Johnpbuckner@hotmail.com)