Marching At His Chariot-Wheels
"...to be triumphed over by Christ is to triumph with Christ." - Biblical Illustrator - New Testament
"The only victory of which he (Paul) could boast was to have been utterly vanquished by God and taken prisoner 'in Christ.' " - Pulpit Commentary - New Testament
"If you give yourselves up to Jesus Christ, in the measure in which you give yourselves up to Him, you will be set at liberty from the worst of all slaveries."
"...the only triumphs we can ever have deserving the name, must begin with Christ's triumph over us."
"Thanks be unto God Who in His victory over us giveth us the victory! Thanks be to Him Who always leadeth us in triumph!"
- all of the above quotes are from the Biblical Illustrator - New Testament
In 2 Corinthians 2:14, we read - "Now thanks be unto God, Which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of His knowledge by us in every place." When the Apostle Paul wrote these words, he had a mental vision of the Roman triumph in mind. Public and solemn honor was conferred on the victorious General on his return from a successful war which entailed the killing of at least five thousand soldiers and the capture of enemy land. This accomplishment entitled him to a processional which led through the crowded, shouting streets unto the Capitol. He entered the city on a magnificent chariot - preceded by his captives and spoils taken in war and followed by his troops.
The actual order of the processional was as follows:
the ancient men who comprised the grave senators of the Roman Council
the trumpeters who made the air ring with their prolonged and joyous blasts
the long train of carriages and frames laden with the spoils brought from the battlefields and plundered from the conquered cities
the articles that were most remarkable for their value, rarity, and beauty
the models of forts or cities which had been captured along with such items as gold, silver, statues, pictures, handsome vases, and embroidered stuff
the band of players on flutes
the white bulls or oxen destined to be sacrificed
the incense bearers waving their censers to and fro
the animal specimens of the captive land - caged lions, tigers, and elephants
the leaders of the conquered foe
the long train of inferior captives all bound and fettered
the Great Conqueror magnificently adorned...bearing a royal sceptre...having his brow encircled with a laurel crown...and standing in a splendid chariot drawn by four milk-white horses
his great officers
his horse soldiers
the vast army of foot soldiers - each one holding aloft a spear adorned with a laurel bough
This was the processional for the Mighty Conquering General.
Most people in reading 2 Corinthians 2:14 read it in the context of a promised victory for the Christian who is in Christ. Although that certainly is the supposed meaning behind this verse, it is only a part of it. The Apostle Paul desired to bring out a concept that most believers miss in reading these inspired words of the Holy Ghost.
Let's read it again to see what Paul was led of the Spirit to write - "Now thanks be unto God, Which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of His knowledge by us in every place."
Let's read it again with the Roman processional as a backdrop - "Now thanks be unto God, Which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of His knowledge by us in every place." With this in mind, he was actually saying - "Thanks be unto God Who in His victory over us giveth us the victory!" Here he was actually admitting that he was a conquered captive of the Mighty Conquering King - Christ Jesus. He was admitting to being at one time an enemy that had to be conquered. Hence, he was one who was bound to the chariot wheels of this One Who overcame him. With his fleshly weapons broken and his resistance quelled and chained, he was dragged at his Conqueror's chariot wheels.
There were two groups that made up the triumphant processional - the soldiers who fought for the General and the prisoners who fought against Him. Paul counted himself as one who originally fought against Christ - His Conquering General. His pride, falsehood, lusts, dependance upon men and externals, and the slavery of his own will had made him His enemy.
He understood that he could never know true victory in life until he was overcome by this Mighty One.
It is said of the haughty Cleopatra that she once stated - "I will not be led in triumph." Perhaps she had this processional in mind where a Great General would have her chained to his chariot and parade her through the streets as his captive. Yet, we see in this verse that the Apostle Paul rejoiced to be exhibited by God as a trophy in the triumphal procession of Christ Jesus.
It is so important at this point to observe the entire verse of Scripture to receive the full understanding of all that the Holy Ghost is saying to His church - "Now thanks be unto God, Which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of His knowledge by us in every place." What He is doing here in this verse is correlating our effectiveness as Christian witnesses in the world to the degree of our being triumphed over by Christ. In other words, if we allow Jesus to conquer us and take us as His captives, then out of that great triumph over our hearts and souls comes forth the sweet and pleasant fragrance of His knowledge unto others. Said another way - the degree to which we are conquered determines the degree to which others see Christ in us.
If you will remember, in the processional list were included the incense bearers waving their censers to and fro. What was truly striking in this great processional was the strong aroma of incense that filled the streets along with the fragrance of the flowers which were scattered in the way. The whole city was filled with the smoke of sacrifices and perfumes.
Paul likened this pleasant fragrance to the "knowledge of Christ." The only thing is - he made the scattering of this "knowledge" contingent on the degree to which the Christian recognized himself as a captured slave of Christ.
The captives of the Conquering General were headed for either life as a slave or imminent death. As Christians, we can see the same connection in our walk with the Lord. We, too, as captured ones face life as a willing slave to Jesus and face death in that we are called to "die" to the flesh, this world, or one's own life, desires, and will.
In the light of this study, there are several questions that need to be seriously considered - Have you allowed Jesus to conquer you? Are you one of His captives that is marching at His chariot-wheels in the processional of His triumph at the Cross? Is your life giving off the aroma of "His knowledge" everywhere you go? Just how strong is that aroma unto others?
Never forget - your victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil is in direct relation to Christ's victory over you.
We close with our opening quotes - "...to be triumphed over by Christ is to triumph with Christ."
"The only victory of which he (Paul) could boast was to have been utterly vanquished by God and taken prisoner 'in Christ.' "
Has Christ triumphed over you? All of you? Have you been utterly vanquished by Him?
Don't go around claiming your "triumph in Christ" until you are willing to have Him triumph over you! You cannot have one without the other!
Could this be the reason why you are not enjoying victory in your life like you should?
May God Bless His Word.
© COPYRIGHT Connie Giordano - All Rights Reserved