#19 A Sweet Savor for God

Ephesians 5:1-2
e ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor.

Jesus' love was sacrificial. Sacrificial love concerns itself with what is important for the other person's life. In other words, Jesus laid His life down, so we could have life and that is the manifestation of God's love:
John 15:8-10
Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love....

John 15:13-15
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

 Friends- One of the bridegrooms friends who, on behalf of the bridegroom, asked for the bride's hand in marriage and helped in various ways with the nuptials and closing of the ceremony_ Strong's
The first part of the verse I wanted to discuss was the fact that Jesus' love is sacrificial in nature. He loved us when we were against Him. Within this John 15 passage, Jesus is explaining that our union to Him provides us the opportunity to abide with Him, which means we can stay connected to Him through faith, and in turn, we will receive grace to be strengthened to produce fruit.
He said people will know we are His disciples by seeing our love. He said that His commandments were:
Matthew 22:36-40
Master, which is the great commandment in the law? -- Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

When a person is changed by God to the point where their inner man begins to hunger and thirst for the things of God, a place where pleasing Him supersedes the wishes of one's own self; now, the heart, the soul, and the mind are becoming connected to God in the deepest sense. At this point, the mind of man is becoming renewed, and the man's will is becoming swallowed up in his Master's will.
”But I don't want to love sacrificially towards this person. They hurt me deeply God. They betrayed me don't I have any rights?”


I wonder if Jesus’ response would be,  “How many times does an individual betray me? How many times did you betray me? How many times do you propose I forgive them and you? Should I have not lived sacrificially through the cross because of humanity's betrayal, or is this the purpose for why I came?”
Matthew 27:27-31
Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.

Hebrews 10:1-10
For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

The main point I want to expose from these two long passages of scripture is the heart of Jesus and the concept that we have been made to be partakers of His love. Earlier He said that all the commandments hang on these two: Love God with all you are and love your neighbor as yourself.
When we begin to review the love of Jesus, it should melt our hearts towards people that have offended us. It should soften us towards them, because what we learn from these passages is that Jesus suffered cruel punishment from the very creation that He came to redeem; furthermore, while none of us have ever physically spit in His face, with some of our decisions and behaviors, we have taken lightly the sacrifice of our Lord.
He said in the Hebrews passage, "I have come to do your will O God."
As I was studying these various passages, I became focused on this one in John:
John 15:13-15
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

The idea of the word friends oftentimes referred to the closest companions of the bridegroom who would have the distinct honor of asking the bride to marry the bridegroom.
As noted above the idea of the friend was one who helped the bridegroom by giving the offer of marriage to the bride on behalf of the bridegroom. This is the plan of God. He's asking us to make a proposal to those out there on whether or not they are willing to marry the Son. And in order for them to get a glimpse of the Son to see whether or not they want to spend eternity with Him, they will first have to look at us, and the question is: do we love as He loved? Are we making Him desirable to others?
I can only imagine what it must seem like if we are allowing anger and bitterness to stay rooted in our lives towards people, and at the same time trying to give them an invitation to marry Jesus.
"You've wronged me. You disgust me. I don't really like you or want to be around you, but I know someone who does, so I was just wondering, would you like to marry my Jesus?"

Regarding the second part of Ephesians 5:2, we deal with the thought of Jesus’ sacrifice being a sweetsmelling savor unto God
The Levitical sacrifices, which are described in the first five chapters of the book of Leviticus describe various aspects of the sacrifice of our Lord. Once again, these are Old Testament types and shadows, which paint a portrait for us of Jesus' eternal sacrifice on the cross. We won't discuss all the aspects of these sacrifices now; instead, I want to quickly focus on the sweet savor vs. non sweet savor sacrifices and how they relate to the cross.
But before we do that, let's just take a moment to discuss what the terminology Levitical sacrifices means. First, they are called the Levitical sacrifices because they are described in the book of Leviticus. The book of Leviticus is one of the first five books in the Bible, which was known by the Jewish people as the Law or Torah, and was called later by the Greek speaking Jews after the conquests of Alexander the Great as the Penteteuch, where pente means five i.e. five books.
The book of Leviticus goes into great detail regarding the ministry of the Levitical priests. It discusses their responsibility in the ministry of the tabernacle, the offering of the sacrifices, and the purification of the people of God.
The name Leviticus is derived from Levi. Levi was the third son of Leah and Jacob (Genesis 29:34). Four hundred years later Moses and Aaron descended from the tribe of Levi, and God took the tribe of Levi as a tithe for Himself from amongst the children of Israel. Their sole purpose was to minister to God for the people through the offerings and tabernacle/ temple work.
The priests that came from the tribe of Levi were able to perform various tasks, but only the descendants of Aaron functioned as the high priests.
Now, we return back to these sweet savor vs. non sweet savor sacrifices. It should be noted that Jesus’ life and sacrifice is typified in these sacrifices
In the first five chapters of the book of Leviticus, there are five Levitical offerings discussed:
 (1) whole burnt offering:
the specifics regarding this offering is that the whole animal was offered other than the skin, which was given to the priest. The animal was flayed open, inspected for defect, and its inward parts were washed. Then the entire animal, including the fat was offered as a sacrifice unto God.
This sacrifice shows that God offered everything (whole) He had when He gave us Jesus; furthermore, it shows that Jesus, in His obedience to the Father offered His whole self in our place.
This sacrifice was known as a sweet savor sacrifice unto the Lord, which means as the smoke began to rise into the heavens towards God, there was an aroma of reconciliation that filled the nostrils of God. 1400 years before Jesus, this sacrifice painted a portrait that He would offer His whole self in our stead.
(2) the meat or meal offering:
This can be somewhat confusing because the word meat in old English really described food in a general way, and in reality, this sacrifice had nothing to do with meat in any fashion; rather, this sacrifice was made of fine flour, which was unleavened. There are two quick concepts to note regarding this thought: first, grain isn't fine on its own. In order for flour to be fine, it must be ground into fine flour. When the grain is ground and all chaff removed, there is the purity of fine flour that remains. Jesus was pure.

Second, the concept of leaven is synonymous with yeast and from a scriptural standpoint, speaks of sin. Throughout both the Old and New Testaments, the concept of leaven speaks of fermentation and corruption, which sin has done to the human race, but Jesus was without sin, and the meal (meat) offering, which was always offered with the whole burnt offering had no leaven, and in this sense, it represented the sinless life of Jesus being offered in our place.
And once again, the meal offering was known as a sweet savor sacrifice unto the Lord, as the smell of unleavened flour rose into His nostrils, He was constantly reminded that the plan was moving forward and that one day the obedient one would come and offer His sinless life in order to make things right.
(3) the peace offering:
The essence of the peace offering is that it represented reconciliation between God and the sinner. Out of all the offerings, the peace offering was the only one that the offerer "sinner" was allowed to partake of (Lev 19:5-8).
Within this offering, there is explicit detail as to how the visceral fat is to be removed from inside the animal and offered on the fire to God (Lev 3:3-5), and the burning fat, once again, produced a sweet smelling savor unto God (Lev 3:5). Lastly, regarding this offering, there was a portion for God (Lev 7:31), a portion for the priest (Lev 7:31), and a portion for the believer (Lev 19:5-8).
(4) sin offering:
In a general sense, the purpose of the sin offering was to cover sins committed against God in ignorance.
Furthermore, there is much to be considered in reference to the gospel and redemption.
First, this offering is explained in three distinct circumstances. In the first scenario, there was always a priest designated to offer sacrifice for the people. Many of the priestly duties were assigned according to a rotation [see Zechariah's turn to burn incense (Luke 1:5,9)]. In this first scenario, the priest would offer sacrifice for the people's sins of ignorance as an overall blanket sacrifice, but it didn't mean that the individual necessarily understood or was aware that they had sinned against God.
This is a similar scenario to the fact that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world:
Romans 3:23
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

But unless the gospel is preached and the soul of man made aware there is a problem and a solution, that soul remains ignorant:
Romans 10:11-15
For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

In this sacrifice, the fat is offered as in the other sweet smelling sacrifices, but it's not called a sweet savor unto the Lord.
Second, there is a offering for the leaders of Israel, and once again, the fat is offered to God on the altar, but it's not called a sweet smelling sacrifice, because God sent His Son ultimately to die for individuals.
Lastly, there is a sin offering for the common man who gains revelation that he had committed a sin ignorantly, but now it's been brought to his attention, an a sin offering is offered up. Once again, the fat is separated and offered unto God and this time, the sacrifice is known as a sweet smelling savor unto the Lord. The reason why is because this is the gospel.
Romans 5:8
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

God sent Jesus to die for sinners. And this is a personal invitation. His sacrifice isn't just for a person's mom or dad or a whole nation. This is an individual decision, and when the gospel is preached, and the heart of man goes from ignorant to aware, and that heart responds to the gospel by faith, that is the plan of God, resulting in a sweet savor unto the Lord, because this is the way He intended it to be.
(5) trespass offering:
 The trespass offering (ch 5 & 6) deal mostly with the people committing sins against one another. There is no mention of fat for the Lord, and there is no mention of this offering being a sweet savor unto God.
Thus far, we've noted that there are four distinct sweet savor offerings:
Sweet savor
(1) whole burnt offering
(2) meat or meal offering
(3) peace offering
(4) sin offering, when offered for the common man who becomes aware of his guilt.
Un-sweet savor
(1) sin offering offered by priest for the congregation that's in ignorance or one offered for leadership in general
(2) trespass offering
It should be noted that in all the sweet savor offerings which are animal sacrifices, there is a direct correlation between the sweet savor and the fat being burned unto God; furthermore, in regards to the meal offering, there is the interesting thought of the flour being unleavened.
In addition, it should be noted that God specifically states that there are two parts to the animal that are never to be eaten:
Leviticus 7:25-26
For whosoever eateth the fat of the beast, of which men offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord, even the soul that eateth it shall be cut off from his people. Moreover ye shall eat no manner of blood, whether it be of fowl or of beast, in any of your dwellings.


The truth I believe to be found here has to do with these things: the fat and the blood representing Jesus and His sacrifice. In addition, the leaven represents His sinless humanity.
We need not spend an inordinate amount of time convincing most people that the blood represents the sacrifice of Jesus that would come; for the word of God makes that very clear:
Leviticus 17:10-11
And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.

But regarding the fat it should be noted that this fat was to be separated out from the rest of the carcass, and after studying more deeply the concepts behind this fat, it was noted that this type of fat was visceral, meaning it was that fat which was connected to the inward parts of this animal. As previously spoken in bible studies before, these animals were closely inspected both inwardly and outwardly, making sure there was no blemish, resulting in rejection.
The purpose of this inspection is that in God's omniscient mind these sacrifices typify the sinless sacrifice of our Lord, and as the fat, our Lord was pure throughout, even in the deepest recesses of His heart. Besides the fact that it was noted as specifically belonging to the Lord, what stood out to me most was how this fat was intricately separated out from the rest of the carcass.
This type of fat wasn't just the kind that was intermingled with the flesh as in a ribeye steak; rather, this fat was connected to the internal organs and had to be intricately cut away and then offered upon the altar to God, as His portion, resulting in a sweet savor unto Him.
There is little doubt in my mind that this fat, which produced a sweet savor offering is represented of our Lord Jesus in the offering of Himself as a sacrifice for our sin. Simply stated, we have a New Testament precedent in this Ephesians text stating that Jesus' giving of Himself as an offering and sacrifice to God was a sweet smelling savor; furthermore, we are told that the Lord's portion of the fat was a sweet smelling savor.
One last thing to note is thought of the separating out of the fat and the fat's connection to our Lord.
Hebrews 2:9-18, specifically:

Hebrews 2:14
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;


He became us

Hebrews 7:23-27
And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.


But He is separate from us
The first passage says that He became a partaker of flesh and blood, so He could offer Himself through death in order to free us from the tyranny of death; furthermore, He is such a high priest that He remains forever. Like the fat, He is the Lord's portion. He comes from heaven, and He is:
holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens

Let’s go back to the thought about the sweet vs. un-sweet savor sacrifices. There is a part to the cross that is sweet in the eyes of God, and there is a part to the cross that reviles Him. 

The aspect of the cross that brings pleasure to God is the willing obedience of Jesus offering Himself in our place, resulting in the reconciliation of sinners back to God. 

The aspect of the cross that reviles God is the offensive presence of our sin that had to be laid upon the back of the sinless one. 

Hence, we have these two opposing scriptures referring to the same cross:

Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

It should be understood that it wasn't the obedience of Jesus that resulted in His experiencing separation from the Father; rather, it was my sin, it was your sin that caused our Savior to experience the feeling of being forsaken from the Father's presence. He experienced the separation of our sin for us so that we wouldn't have to. I hope that we can get a glimpse of the magnitude of this. I hope that for just a moment in time, we can imagine the eternal pain a lost soul will feel separated from the presence of the Father. 

Let me say it again as the fat was separated from the carcass, Jesus was separated from sinners. While He became a partaker of flesh and blood, becoming us as human, He was altogether separate from the human race in that He was sinless. And it was His sinless life offered in our stead that procured for us a righteous standing before God. Lift up your head faithful pilgrim. God has provided a plan of reconciliation where you soul can restored unto God. 

Let's close by connecting the first part of the verse, which spoke of us emulating the love of Jesus by walking in His love, which was sacrificial in nature. We used that passage out of John, which spoke of our love towards God, resulting in Jesus calling us friends. We discussed the fact that a main context of the friend in those days was connected to the bride and bridegroom. Specifically, the friend was given the distinct offer of inviting the bride to marry the bridegroom. 

Now, we have the concept of Jesus who has offered Himself as a sacrifice for us so that reconciliation can be provided between sinful man and holy God. His sacrifice is a sweet smelling savor to God, because His obedience has secured the eternal covenant, and the covenant’s purpose was to connect wayward man back to God, but there remains one problem: people remain ignorant of the plan of God. 

Just as in the first context of the sin offering, much of humanity, like Israel, is engaging in a sinful lifestyle outside of God's will simply because they don't know, simply because no one has told them. 

 2 Corinthians 2:15-16

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?

The whole point to this passage of scripture is that Paul is referring to the preaching of the gospel. He refers to "we" becoming a sweet savor of Christ. Jesus' sacrifice was a sweet savor unto God, and our living our lives in such a way that we bring Him glory results in us functioning according to God's will. As we let others know of our Lord and the plan of God to save sinners, we become friends of the bridegroom as we invite others to become His bride. And then and only then do we function according to the purpose we were created for.