Monday, 22 June 2015
Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 2 Corinthians 2:14
Paul, in what is not uncommon in his writings, breaks into a shout of joy as he considers the situation. He lets out a resounding “Now thanks be to God.” This is based on several key points which came to a confluence in his life at the same time.
First, he had finally met up with Titus. Second, because he had heard the good news from Titus about the positive status of the Corinthian church. And third, he was overwhelmed with the great abundance that came about from his visit to the Macedonian churches concerning a gift for the church in Jerusalem. These points won’t be seen until chapters 7 and 8, but Paul hints on them now before addressing many important issues. He will return to these thoughts though and give them in detail at that time.
For these things, he sent his thanks “to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ.” The word for “leads us in triumph” is thriambeúō. It is used only one other time in the NT, in Colossians 2:15 and it means “properly, to display triumph openly; publically exalting the victor who leads a victory-procession – and putting the conquered on display.”
Scholars and translators vary on how to render this. It could either be something like “causes us to triumph in Christ,” or “leads us in triumph in Christ.” The two are vastly different and yet either could be deduced from the surrounding text. However, the fact that the surrounding issues were handled by the Lord, even directed by Him, it would make sense to say that it is He who leads us in triumph. Because of this, it is He who “through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge and power in every place.”
As He leads us in triumph, our lives are used to diffuse what we know of Him to others. The idea of “fragrance” is used by Paul elsewhere to indicate the offering of Christ Himself for us (Ephesians 5:2) and of a gift that was sent to Paul (Philippians 4:18). The intent of this “fragrance” is that it permeates all things and is pleasing in and of itself. Therefore, like incense, the “knowledge and power” of Christ is diffused through the disciples of Christ to the glory of God.
Life application: Paul takes time to weave the difficulties of His life into larger pictures of God’s obvious hand in them by bringing them together not for greater difficulty, but for overall benefit. If we can overlook the small difficulties in our lives and see how they all actually turn out for a greater benefit, then we can truly rest in the fact that God has it all under control. Let us learn from the Bible that there is a good end and God is working towards it, even through our failings, faults, and trials.
Heavenly Father, it is more than wonderful to know that the times of trial and difficulty I face are actually being used for a good end. I can look at the lives of great men like Abraham, Joseph, David, and Paul and I can see that even though they faced immense trials, each was a part of a greater whole which was being used for a very good end. As this is so with them, and as I am Your child through faith in Jesus, then it must be true with me too. Thank You for this certain knowledge as I face the times of trial which come my way! Amen.