Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. — 2 Corinthians 2:14
Recently, while walking through a bookstore, a book titled “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” caught my attention. I picked it up to see whether the book was referring to art masterpieces or if it was a self-help type book.
After flipping through the first few pages, it was obvious that the book covered techniques on learning how to draw. Since my drawing skills are comparable to those of a ten-year-old child or younger, I bought the book, thinking that it might be nice to be able to draw more than sticks to represent people and animals.
The book did present interesting insight regarding drawing. It offered step-by-step exercises and maintained that drawing was not a “magical ability,” but a skill that could be taught to anyone with average eyesight and hand-eye coordination. It even stated that anyone who can print legibly has ample dexterity to draw.
That intrigued me, so while off from work for a few days, I decided that I would read through the book and follow the exercises in it. On a hot summer day, I set up my work area outside on the deck. Everything surrounding me was just right — all I had to do was conquer this skill. As I followed the suggestions, I found myself caught up in what I was doing. It was relaxing and fun. In fact, I even picked up a few techniques from the book that definitely improved the quality of my stick people!
All of this caused me to consider the focus verse above, which states that God “always causeth us to triumph.” Obviously, triumphing in Christ is a far more important matter than learning to draw! However, just as I had to read the drawing directions, and then follow them by practicing the exercises I had read, so we need to read the instructions given to us in the Bible, and then follow them in our daily lives. If we allow the “exercises” that come our way to teach us what God would like us to learn, we will always succeed in the Gospel. Small obediences and victories will add up to a triumphant Christian life made possible by the power of God.
Each of us can triumph in Christ today. God wants to enable us moment by moment.
Chapter 2 of Paul’s second epistle to the church at Corinth immediately revealed his desire to visit the Corinthians without “heaviness” of heart. Paul let it be known that his earlier epistle to them, occasioned by the wrongdoing of one member of the congregation in Corinth, was written with “many tears” and “anguish of heart,” but out of necessity.
It is thought that Paul was referencing an incestuous man who had suffered punishment by the Church for his actions and subsequently repented. Therefore, Paul encouraged the Corinthians to forgive him. He wanted the discipline to stop lest this individual be “swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.” Paul also made them aware that Satan could use discipline intended for correction to cause destruction and bring a reproach against the Gospel. He encouraged the Corinthians to affirm their love toward this individual and to restore him.
Paul further disclosed his concern and love for those at Corinth when he told them that he had no rest in his spirit while in Troas until he learned how they had responded to his letter. Apparently, God had opened a door for Paul to preach the Gospel at Troas, for which Paul was thankful. Then Paul traveled to Macedonia to look for Titus and to learn the state of the saints at Corinth. Paul rejoiced greatly when he heard the good news from Titus of the church at Corinth, and gave God the glory for it, who “always causeth us to triumph in Christ.”
To “triumph” means to celebrate victory with pomp and ceremony. In Roman times, triumph meant a magnificent procession through the city and a public and solemn honor bestowed upon the one who had won a decisive victory. This included the wearing of crowns and purple robes interwoven with patterns of gold, and riding in a grand chariot drawn by two white horses. The chariots were followed by musicians, then young men leading captives to be sacrificed, and then chariots full of spoils.
During this procession, every temple was open and every altar burned incense so that the whole city was filled with perfume. This fragrance was sweet to the victors, but to their captives it meant slavery and death. The Apostle Paul wanted these believers to understand that the message of Christianity meant triumph to those who would embrace it, but defeat to those who would not.
The Corinthians would have understood the meaning of triumph, and would have grasped what Paul was referring to when he said, “and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.” Just as the perfume filled the city, God made His doctrine known to the people of Corinth and caused the believers to be victorious over the power and the devices of Satan.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The apology of the Apostle
A. The conduct of Paul
2. The case of the offender (2:5-11)
B. The calling of Paul
1. The privilege of the ministry (2:12-17)
Through Jesus Christ, we can lead triumphant lives in this present world. Our lives can cause others to come to the knowledge of Christ, as we allow the “savour” of Christ to emanate from us.