Sunday, June 5, 2011

TRIUMPH

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 (2 Corinthians 2:14-15 NKJV).
[A]nd to God are thanks, who at all times is leading us in triumph in the Christ, and the fragrance of His knowledge He is manifesting through us in every place, because of Christ a sweet fragrance we are to God, in those being saved, and in those being lost (2 Corinthians 2:14-15 Youngs Literal Translation).
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. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing (2 Corinthians 2:14-15 NIV).
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing (2 Corinthians 2:14-15 NASB)
But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing (2 Corinthians 2:14-15 NLT).
But thanks be to God, Who in Christ always leads us in triumph [as trophies of Christ’s victory] and though us spreads and makes evident the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere. For we are the sweet fragrance of Christ [which exhales] unto God, [discernible alike] among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing (2 Corinthians 2:14 AMP).
 I like to find my favorite verses in many translations to appreciate the full meaning of every word. I also like to check out certain words in the Strong’s Concordance to dig deeper into the original words and meanings. This has greatly enhanced my reading through the Bible. In this verse, the word “Thanks” has a surprising meaning in the Greek. It means
Grace; that which affords joy, pleasure, loveliness; grace of speech; good will, loving-kindness, favor; of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues; what is due to grace; the spiritual condition of one governed by the power of divine grace; the token or proof of grace, benefit; a gift of grace; benefit, bounty; thanks, (for benefits, services, favours), recompense, reward.
Quite a different definition from what I was expecting. So I could say “Now thanks to the grace, which affords joy, pleasure, loveliness which will affect everyone else around me, with an aroma of Christ, turning them to Christ, increasing them in the faith, be to God ….”
This gives an entirely new meaning to the whole verse for me. It adds a fragrance—an atmosphere—of sweet smelling aroma, to our thanksgiving to God. Because of Christ in me, fully living His life through me, people may feel that they are in the presence of an atmosphere of His fragrance. I have been in the presence of some saints where I felt I wanted to stay and absorb something from them, and I later realized it was not them, it was Him—it was Jesus—and I wanted Him. The saints I most admire are not those with the most Bible knowledge or those who can expound well. It is those who give off a sweet-smelling atmosphere of peace and love and genuine joy (not that plasticky smile that we often see), that is simply Jesus, given full sway in the person’s life and living exactly Himself through them.
Christ in me is always leading me in triumph, always leading me in His triumphal victory procession as His trophy—the evidence of the victory He won on the Cross over Satan, sin and death.
In the tabernacle in the wilderness, and later in the Temple, God has an incense altar where burning coals are mingled with incense which ascends up to God. In Revelation, the incense is the “prayers of the saints” (“And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand”. Revelation 8:4). It is the prayers of the saints mingled with the smoke that rises up to God in the Heavenly temple and brings that sweet smelling aroma to Him directly.
Colossians 2:15 tells us that Christ led another triumphal parade in the Heavenly realms. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.
Here, Christ is parading “rulers and authorities” which are called “principalities and powers” in other translations, and which are the fallen angels, demons, Satan’s defeated army, disarming them and proclaiming victory over them at the cross.
This was the way all Kings displayed their victory over the enemy—they disarmed them, brought them back to the Kingdom, and paraded them as defeated enemies before the people. This is what Jesus did. He led a victory parade over the spoiled foes.
And, he always is leading us in a victory parade as His trophies! We are the prize! Always! And we are always a sweet smelling aroma not only to Him, but to those who are saved, and to those who are not.
May the ongoing process of dying to ME, to MY wants, MY desires, MY self-life, MY right to Myself, and giving Him full reign over me, be that sweet smelling fragrance to Him and to others. What a life this is with Christ.
(Image courtesy Google images)
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