The Fragrance of Grace, Love,

Before dinner my kids must wash their hands. Typically before we eat they are outside, digging in dirt, climbing trees, bouncing balls and climbing on rails, such that by the time they get upstairs their little hands and faces look like Bert the chimney sweep. The delicious meal prepared by Nicole awaiting them as they come upstairs tastes significantly better without half the dirt of Los Angeles on it, and thus the kids must wash their hands.

Shockingly, sometimes they say that they washed their hands, but they really didn't. Who knew the devious tactics of such little souls? Who would've known that little souls could be so cunning?

So before dinner every night we have instituted a new rule- before they sit down to eat I must smell their hands. That may seem odd, but the reason is simple: if they truly washed their hands then their hands will smell like the cucumber lemon soap (or some other fruitful, delightful variant) that adorns the bathroom sink. But if they haven't washed their hands with the soap, they will smell...different (a certain risk, I know).

Just because you say your hands are clean, doesn't mean they are. Children are happy to say whatever needs to be said to get whatever it is that they would like (in this case, delicious food), so if it was simply a matter of words, they would have no problem massaging the truth ("well I did wash my hands yesterday"). But only when hands are washed with soap do they smell like soap.

In the same way if we truly have come to faith in Jesus, and if we truly worship Him, then our lives will smell with the fragrance of God. If our souls have been cleansed by the blood of Christ, washed in His grace, washed in His love, washed in His forgiveness, then our lives ought to smell like grace, love and forgiveness. Truly experiencing the grace of God (having our hands washed by His salvation) produces a life of grace, faithfulness, and love (cucumber and lemon-smelling hands).

Furthermore, what's incredibly important here is that the fragrance isn't what cleans my kids' hands, it is what shows them their hands have been cleaned. The works that we do out of love for Christ and for others doesn't clean us. Only Christ and His blood can cleanse our souls from their sin and guilt. But our lives of holiness, patience, love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness are a fragrance that ought to pleasantly dazzle the noses of those around us as a testimony to the spiritual transformation we have experienced. We are not saved by our works, but the works that God produces in us as a response to the grace that we have received ought to testify to the salvation that we have experienced.

May your life smell of the sweet fragrance of one who has experienced the grace of God.

[8] For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, [9] not a result of works, so that no one may boast. [10] For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV)