2 Corinthians 2:1-17
Thursday, 29 July 2021
“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
God who always leads us in triumph! –a statement by Paul even in adverse circumstances! As Paul received some favourable news from Titus who had gone to the Corinthians church as his emissary, he is grateful to God who gave him occasion to rejoice. His previous letter to the Corinthians with his admonitions and counsel was received well and he was happy.
The key for Paul’s thanksgiving can be meditated on:
The Reason for Rejoicing
Paul rejoices at the success God give him for his labour- whether it was in spreading the gospel or even at his endeavor in bringing corrections in the churches. He was no peddler of the Word of God but a sincere preacher who sought to convey its truths. He practised what he wrote to Timothy: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) Instead of finding joy in gaining the material things of life, we can instead rejoice in the advancement of God’s work and participating in it to bring the right results.
The Triumph in Christ
Christ has triumphed death and the grave and brought the trophy of salvation for all who will share in that triumph! Colossians 2:15 tells us what Christ did: “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” Paul uses the illustration of a Roman General who after a great conquest, parades the street with his spoils of war that included the captives. Paul refers here to a victory which he had, and a triumph by Christ the Redeemer—it was a victory over the enemies of the gospel; it was success in advancing the interests of the kingdom of Christ which were more significant than the conquests of a Roman victor! We who are in Christ- we too share in the triumph as Paul did.
The Fragrance of His Knowledge
Paul is able to visualize the conquering Christ marching in triumph throughout the world, and himself in that conquering train. How do we now understand Pau’s mention of the fragrance? The fragrance is from various odors that diffused all over- perhaps from flowers, or incense burnt on the altars of their gods—whatever it was, the entire city was filled with different fragrance. This was a smell of joy and life for the victors but the smell of defeat and death for the prisoners of war.
Now Paul equates the smell to the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ. In his triumph, the knowledge of Christ was spread everywhere, like the odors which were diffused in the triumphal march of the conqueror. Paul sees himself and his fellow apostles preaching the gospel of the triumphant Christ- the aroma of the gospel spread through them. To those accepted it, it became the perfume of life, as to the victors; but to those who refused it, it is the perfume of death, as to the defeated.
Well, it is for each person to decide which camp he/she wants to be in- the camp of the victors or the camp of the defeated? The decision is in accepting the gospel which becomes an aroma of life or rejecting it which becomes an aroma of death. John 3:36 reminds us: “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” Believing Christ for your salvation makes all the difference! The triumph of Christ is also yours to participate in!
Dear brethren, may we be to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing (2 Corinthians 2:15)
Ref.: Commentaries from Albert Barnes & Thomas Constable: studylight.org