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. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.
Second Corinthians was a letter Paul had written to the church at Corinth. This letter was actually the third letter written to the church by Paul; however, the first letter was lost to history. Paul had been dealing with several severe problems in the fledgling church and the letter we call Second Corinthians was following up on the heels of a recovery which had begun in the church. The congregation had recently dealt with apostasy which had developed as a result of false teaching brought into the church. Verses fourteen and fifteen of chapter two begins a section of scripture which speaks of the triumph we have in Christ. Paul begins this section of scripture right where it should start, with our praise and thanksgiving to God through Christ Jesus our Lord. We can never forget that any victory we have or can hope to obtain in our Christian walk comes not from our own ability, but rather, from Christ who strengthens us. Without Jesus we can do nothing meaningful for the kingdom of God. It’s through our faith in Christ, we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who in turn equips us for usefulness in God’s kingdom. Moreover, it’s only through Jesus, we can sustain the hope and certainty of victory.
Once the Holy Spirit begins His work of sanctification in our hearts and minds, we in humility submit to Christ and turn our lives over to Jesus. And it’s through this submission to God, that we can have victory over Satan. Through our faith in Christ and God’s work in us, we become the people God can use to spread the fragrance of Christ, which is the Gospel Message. Paul uses the imagery here of the Roman festival of Triumph. This referred to a ceremonial parade, which was thrown for returning generals who were victorious in battle. As the soldiers marched down the parade route, incenses would burn and flowers were strewn across the path of the soldiers to march upon, which in turn released the fragrance of the flowers. The fragrance of the incense and flowers would carry through the streets of the city alerting everyone to the victory. At the end of the path was the emperor who ruled over the soldiers. For the Christian soldier our King, our Emperor, our Lord and Leader, is none other than Christ Jesus Himself. Who not only leads us to victory, but through whom we receive our strength to remain steadfast in our faith. And through whom we receive our armor to face the battle of spiritual warfare, which is waged against us in the heavenly places.