But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place, (2:14).
As Paul began his letter expressing the boundless comfort we have in Christ, he turns his attention to a brother who has undergone church discipline. And now, because this brother has apparently sincerely repented, he encourages the Corinthian church to restore this brother to the fellowship, “otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 Wherefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him,” (2:7-8).
After all, excessive sorrow and unforgiveness is a scheme the enemy uses in his attempt to gain the upper hand and to bring division and defeat.
But one whom you forgive anything, I forgive also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ, 11 so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes, (2:10-11).
And from there, after a side note about his change in travel plans, he boldly asserts, with thanksgiving and praise, that God “always leads us in triumph in Christ.”
And in this assertion, Paul portrays a scene that would have been very familiar to the Corinthians.
From NIV Study Bible on verse 14: …who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.
“A victorious Roman general would lead his soldiers and their captives in festive procession, while the people watched and applauded and the air was filled with the sweet smell released by the burning of spices in the streets.”
As the triumphant general led his troops, the fragrance of the spices would permeate the crowd further fueling their recognition of his achieved victory.
Consider Him Who Always Leads Us in Triumph
- He Always Leads Us in Triumph to spread the Knowledge of Christ in every place we go.
- …and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. (2:14).
- He Always Leads Us in Triumph that our lives would represent Him to all men.
- You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; (3:2).
- He Always Leads Us in Triumph as His Creative Work manifested by the Spirit of the Living God.
- being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts, (3:3).
- He Always Leads Us in Triumph through our confidence in the Adequacy of His Spirit.
- Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, 6 who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life, (3:4-6).
- He Always Leads Us in Triumph in the Surpassing Glory of His New Covenant.
- But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory. 10 For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory because of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory, (3:7-11).
- He Always Leads Us in Triumph in His Liberty.
- but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, (3:16-17).
- He Always Leads Us in Triumph by His Transforming Power.
- But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit, (3:18).
How do we respond to Him Who Always Leads Us in Triumph?
Always: “at all times; on all occasions.”
Did Paul mean it when he said Always? Is it truth? If we believe what God says about His inspired Word, then yes; Paul meant it, and it is Truth.
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; (2 Timothy 3:16 emphasis added).
But isn’t it possible that our concept of Triumph sometimes clashes with God’s?
For we know, God’s Truth doesn’t often line up with the bill of goods the world has bought. But we are not to be ignorant of the enemy’s schemes, rather we are to stand firm in faith against them.
so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes, (2:11).
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil, (Ephesians 6:10-11).
One of the enemy’s most pervasive schemes is to get us to doubt our position in Christ and to doubt His Word. It’s more than challenging to follow His Lead in Triumph if we are convinced that we are somehow losing and in this on our own. Today, let us take on the challenge to fill our hearts with the sweet aroma of His victorious leadership as we take hold of His Truth for ourselves, convinced He Always Leads Us in Triumph as we abide in Christ.
“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing,” (John 15:5).
- If we are to stand firm against the enemy’s schemes and spread the knowledge of Christ in every place we go as we follow Him in Triumph, we must prepare ourselves through diligent study so that we will know the Word of Truth ourselves.
- Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth, (2 Timothy 2:15).
- Armed with His Truth, we will be prepared to represent Him Who Always Leads Us in Triumph in Christ.
- Therefore, we are the Messiah’s representatives, as though God were pleading through us. We plead on the Messiah’s behalf: “Be reconciled to God!” (2 Corinthians 5:20 ISV).
- As we in faith, take hold of the Truth that we are His Creative Work, in Christ and not of our own making, manifested by the Spirit of the Living God, He will enable us to carry out His works in Triumph.
- For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them, (Ephesians 2:10).
- As we confidently trust the Adequacy of His Spirit to perfectly complete what He Himself began, we will be strengthened to live in Triumph until the day Christ Jesus returns.
- For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus, (Philippians 1:6).
- If we truly believe Him Who Always Leads Us in Triumph in Christ, He Himself has promised we will see the Surpassing Glory of His New Covenant.
- Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (John 11:40).
- As we stand firm in the Liberty we have in Christ, Who Always Leads Us in Triumph, He will strengthen us against any enslaving schemes of the enemy.
- It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery, (Galatians 5:1).
- Let us daily choose to believe His Truth; for by His Transforming Power we will leave the old behind and be set free to follow Him Who Always Leads Us in Triumph in Christ.
- Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come, (2 Corinthians 5:17).
And as we follow His Lead, dependent on His Adequacy alone, let us pray that as we abide in Christ, He will use our lives to permeate the darkness with His lingering fragrance and awaken those who are perishing, that they would seek Him Who Always Leads Us in His Triumph.
For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; 16 to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? (2:15-16).