II Corinthians 2:14
The Bible says in II Corinthians 2:14-17, “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. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”
Throughout the history of this world man has written in stone or wrote in history books; to praise the names of those who were great conquerors. Those conquerors may have been leaders of great and mighty nations, athletes or ones who courageously faced dire and adverse circumstances. But the true conquerors of this world are the ones who have and do triumph spiritually. Their names will be remembered forever, for their names are kept in the Lambs Book of Life.
The verses in II Corinthians chapter 2 speak of triumph in Christ. Now what are the details that influenced the Apostle Paul, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to teach about triumphing in Christ? To understand this we simply need to look at the previous verses of this chapter. There was a man in the Corinthian church who had fallen into gross sexual immorality with his father’s wife. His sins were so horrible in fact that even the immoral and godless pagans of that city were aghast at his deeds. However, this man repented of his sins. And here in these verses as Paul was concluding his reference to this incident he said, “Thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ.”
In other words, when Paul was speaking of triumphing; he specifically was talking about victory over sin. There are two very important things to know about such a triumph. The first is that the triumph is in Christ. This word “triumph” is a very rare word and is used in only one other place in the New Testament. That reference is found in Colossians 2:14-15 which says in speaking of Jesus, “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”
Sin is a terrible thing. It brings shame
and suffering to man, and ultimately the end of sin is death. The triumph over
sin is in Christ, because Christ is the Son of God. And when Christ laid down
His life upon the cross of
Sometimes we will hear stories or cross paths with people who have become such horrible people and have wasted decades of their lives in shameful sin. If you ever spend a few minutes talking to someone like this, it’s hard to imagine that such a person could ever change. But in fact, there is the triumph which can be found in Christ. There is no sin God cannot give victory over. And the years that the locusts have eaten, God can restore.
Paul gave thanks unto God because of the triumph in Christ. And “thanks” means, that a person can live life and enjoy it to the fullest. “Thanks” is probably one of the most practical, immediate and obvious results in the life of one who finds triumph in Christ. Despite the tribulations, the struggles, and the injustices of this world; there will always be thanks to give and thanks to find in God, because God causes us to always triumph in Christ.
Some people allow their sins and failures, or other people’s sins and failures; to get them down and to keep them down. It is true that we should never forget some things, such as; all the ways in the past that God has shown His love for us. But it is also true that there are some things we should simply put behind us, so that we may press forward; to the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Jesus Christ.
To triumph in Christ means to find victory over sin, through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. So for the Christian: “to triumph in Christ” means that they you should be greatly encouraged, because they are guaranteed that God will use their life as a shining beacon of the Gospel. The last part of verse 14 and verses 15-16 explain this in detail. The last half of verse 14 goes on to say, “and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.” To make manifest means to reveal to the eyes of men. What God wants to reveal is knowledge and truth. The truth about who God is so that men might know Him and the power of His resurrection. The word “savour” means fragrance. It is the idea of something that is well-pleasing. This word is used in verses 14-16. Paul spoke in the book of Philippians about the knowledge of God and how that it was more excellent than all other things insomuch that all things seemed as but dung when compared to the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus. And He gave three reasons for this excellency: that Christ is Lord, that Christ is righteous, and that Christ gives righteousness unto men.
The problem is that men are blind spiritually, they cannot see the excellency nor taste the savour of the knowledge of God. To the world the preaching of the cross is foolishness. However, Paul states very clearly in verse 14: that God causes His children to always triumph in Christ and that He will make manifest the savour of His knowledge. He will make it manifest in every place and He will use us to manifest the truth.
God’s truth is marching on. God’s will is that the glorious light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ be shed across the world; to chase away the night and the darkness. This will happen and it is happening now. And God’s will is to use you and I to perform this. God will use men to open other men’s eyes. Men and women like you and I and according to verse 14; it will be done in every place. The question is will you allow God to use you?
The knowledge of God is sweet to the soul: it satisfies it fills, it makes complete, it brings joy, and most of all; it saves. Thus there is a great triumph in Christ, not only over sin; but a great triumph of truth over darkness. It will happen and you have been invited to share in the savour of His knowledge. Verses 15-16 say, “For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?”
Paul said that to God we are a sweet savour of Christ. In other words not only does God see the righteous of Christ reckoned unto us, when we turn to Jesus for salvation; but God also wants men to see the righteousness of God through us. Now, verses 15-16 speak of two kinds of men that Christians will be a savour unto: those that believe and those that perish. It is not always wise to stereotype people because everyone is a unique individual: created in the image of God. However, there is one stereotype all men fall into: the saved and the unsaved.
The great God of all the universe has one great desire toward all men; that they might be saved from the fires of hell. And any man who comes to glimpse the love of Christ will grow a heart filled with the same desire towards other men. So for those who have labored and do labor in the field; for those who sacrifice greatly the things of this world to see the will of God accomplished; for those who have suffered cruelly at the hands of God-haters; for those who have poured their hearts and souls out to reach the lost: be encouraged that the triumph is always in Christ.
Salvation is a choice that each man
must make individually in his own heart. And sadly some men choose not to
believe, because they prefer their own corrupt lusts over the glory of God. The sweet savour of
Christ will be tasted in them that are saved, and in them that perish. When a
soul is saved, it’s often easy to see how the testimony of God’s children has
finally won over and how the seeds of God’s Word, sown in tears, reap harvests
of joy. But when wicked men repent not, it is heartbreaking to see them waste
away the precious years of their lives only to pass into judgment. We may say,
“If only the savour of Christ had touched their
lives.” Yet here in these verses, we are told that the savour
of His knowledge is made manifest in every place; in both them that are saved
and in them that perish. Thus, there is never a need for Christians to become
discouraged. There is never a just cause for Christians to think they might be
failures in accomplishing the work of the building of the
And most importantly verse 16 says, “who is sufficient for these things?” God is sufficient for these things. With God all things are possible. God is the Almighty One. Because of His immeasurable and infinite power and wisdom; the savour of Christ will be made manifest to both them that perish and them that believe. Therefore, my beloved brethren, do not be discouraged and do not quit when you toil in the fields and do not see the fruits of your labor, because we can give thanks unto God who “always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of His knowledge by us in every place.” God is the Alpha and the Omega. He knows the beginning from the end. And the end is more glorious then we have yet imagined.
Verse 17 says, “For we are not as many, which corrupt the Word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.” Now that Paul has spoken of the triumph that is in Christ over sin; and the triumph that is in Christ in the battle for the spreading of the Gospel; we are told one last and very important thing. Paul tells us that it is the Word of God which brings the triumph and which makes manifest the savour of Christ. Paul said that he was not as many which corrupt the Word of God. In this world of light and darkness there are few indeed who speak or even know truth. And of those who claim to be God’s servants and God’s messengers, there are even fewer who truly proclaim God’s Word. There are many wolves in sheep’s clothing. There are many who corrupt the Word of God.
Now the Word corrupt is a very interesting word. It actually comes from the word for a merchant or peddler; the type of merchant or peddler who would sell anything for money and the type of person whose chief aim is their own gain materially and financially. Now what does that say about all men who do not preach the word of God in sincerity? However, if we desire to triumph over sin and triumph in the sense of being a savour of Christ, both to those that believe and to those that perish; then we must do the things Paul said He did in verse 17: speak the Word of God in sincerity; speak it as of God, and in the sight of God speak in Christ.
What does it mean to speak the Word of God in sincerity? The word sincerity has the idea of purity. It is referring to a person’s motives and intentions. There should be only one agenda when the word of God is preached; to glorify the name of Christ. There are many people who use God’s Word without sincerity. They use it to make money. They use it to control people. They use it to deceive. They have many agendas but they do not preach of sincerity. If you want to triumph in Christ, then you must use the Word of God in sincerity.
And lastly Paul said, “As of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.” Notice that Paul said He spoke in Christ. Christ Himself said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.” To Triumph in Christ over sin and to triumph in the work of God you must abide in Christ. This means being led and filled with the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God is the Comforter. He will guide you to where you need to go, strengthen you, enable you to go and to do, and to say the things that need to be done and said. And the Spirit of God will open you eyes to understand God’s Word. Paul did not corrupt the Word of God because he spoke it in sincerity and he spoke in Christ. And this is the reason that He triumphed.
Everyone fails. Everyone gets discouraged. Everyone must face the spiritual struggles of life and either overcome them or be defeated. But there is no cause to fret or fear, no matter your circumstances or failures; because there is thanks to be given unto God; who will cause you to always triumph in Christ. It is Jesus Christ who came to this earth and died on the cross for the sins of the world. And He rose again. If you do not know Jesus as your Savior, then turn to Him today. Ask Him to save you, and He shall; then the triumph of Christ will be yours today.
Copyright; 2005 by Charles
F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved