It's His Parade
It's His Parade
Words of Faith 9-6-17
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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2 Corinthians 2
 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.
In this part of the letter, Paul began to give us a powerful picture of our life in Christ. The next few chapters are highly personal, very human, and exceedingly rich in revealing the nature of our walk with God and ministry with Christ. Paul will pick up the story of his reunion with Titus in 7:5.
Paul suddenly burst into thanksgiving. Why? The Corinthians had received a "painful letter" from Paul. Paul was worried over their response. Add to this the fact that Titus, the bearer of the letter had gone missing. Paul had been at his wits end and worried to death. But thanks be to God! In the midst of his fretful worry and concern, God was there!
Paul now broke off his narrative to the Corinthians and, in a sense, began defending the sincerity of his ministry. But he did so by drawing attention away from himself and to the triumphant Christ.
Paul described himself and all believers as part of a procession or train with Christ, by the grace of God. Paul's words drew to mind a familiar image in the ancient world, a Roman military triumphal procession, the victory parade awarded a conquering general in which enemy prisoners were forced to march.
Roman conquerors would lead their shamed captives in a "triumphal procession." The Roman senate normally decreed public thanksgivings before the triumphal processions, so they were great celebrations for the victors and great humiliations for the defeated.
Paul saw himself as part of a similar parade. Christ has triumphed through the cross and resurrection and now leads believers in Him as his captives. It is a powerful image that mixes our victory in Christ with our place as His captives and servants. Paul understood Christians as peoples taken captive by Christ.
Through Christ, God the Victor had vanquished His enemies and Paul, Christ's captive, was now marching in His parade! Christ undertook a battle not rightly his; we share in a triumph not rightly ours. Paul, who had been "taken captive" by Christ was now led in triumph. In a Roman triumph processional incense was burned. Paul compared this to the knowledge of Christ, which like a fragrance was diffused everywhere throughout the world via the preaching of the gospel. Paul saw an irresistible advance of the gospel, in spite of temporary frustration.
This single verse paints a powerful picture for us. We are victors, yet we are captives. We are conquerors, yet we are conquered. We know triumph but we are not triumphal because of anything we have done. We are not victors because of anything we deserve. We are taken captive by His love and indebted to His grace so that we may be part of His parade and through us the fragrance of the knowledge of Him is made known.
There are many today who are fond of preaching the personal triumph of being a Christian, but this often misses the reality of our captivity in Christ and our place as servants of Him. Some today seem to act like they are the general or even the king, while the truth is that we have been brought back captive by the General to be presented to the King.
The wonder of this parade is that as it processes, Christ chooses to use us "and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him".
Father God, thank You for sending Jesus. Thank You for taking me captive by Your mercy. Thank You for conquering me with Your grace. Thank You for enslaving me with Your love. Make me a fragrant witness of Your grace and the knowledge of You. In Jesus' Name.