Triumphing Over Discouragement | 2 Corinthians 2:14
“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.” Discouragement can be crippling to the life of the Christian. In 2 Corinthians the apostle Paul was in a time of great discouragement. He had planted the church in Corinth on his second missionary journey and labored over them with much anguish. They had hurt him more than any other church.
They had sins of immorality, pride, selfishness, and the abuse of spiritual gifts. On top of that they had begun to listen to certain false apostles that were attacking Paul. The apostle faced many difficult hardships in his life but we see in 2 Corinthians 11:28-29 that his concern for the churches was his hardest trial. It is an immense joy to see people come to Christ. But it is also heartbreaking to see them in an unrepentant state and some even leave the faith. Discouragement can be crippling for even mature Christians. Paul found his hope in the work of Christ in the gospel. He turned his mind to focus on the unchanging rock of Christ.
The apostle wrote of how he was thankful for the victory that he had in the Lord with an analogy of a Roman Triumph. This Triumph was an ancient tickertape parade celebrating a general’s ultimate achievement for the Roman Empire. It was a once-in-a-lifetime event that had become an important symbol in Roman and Greek culture. The apostle uses it in this verse to say that Christ is the general who always leads His followers in the Triumphal parade.
Paul knew that he did not deserve to be a Christian let alone have any opportunity to serve his general Christ. The apostle’s hope and encouragement came from remembering the gospel and the victory that Christians have in the Lord’s sacrificial death on the cross. Christ has won the victory over sin, the world, and the devil. A believer may loose his health, children, possessions, reputation, church, opportunity to serve, or spouse but this victory can never be taken away. Truly Christ has been much better to us as Christians than we deserve. Thanks be to God who always leads us in Triumph in Christ!