GOD GUARANTEES VICTORY IN PROCLAIMING CHRIST
2:12-13 was a Transition passage
– wrapped up the issue of the explanation of Paul’s change of plans and his heart for the Corinthian church
– introduced the forward advance of the New Covenant Gospel Ministry
I. (2:14-16a) THE CONSEQUENCES (OUTCOME) OF THE GOSPEL MINISTRY — VICTORY IN PROCLAIMING CHRIST DOES NOT DEPEND ON POSITIVE RESPONSES
The Roman Triumph pictures our victory in proclaiming Christ
A. God is always victorious (this truth is assumed)
B. God always leads us in His triumph
“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph”
C. This triumph is in vital union with the Lord Jesus Christ
D. We are channels for the revelation of Christ to others in every place
“and manifests through us . . . in every place”
E. (Expansion of the imagery) — We are a fragrance of Christ, not merely channels of that fragrance
“the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him”
F. God always appreciates this fragrance
“For we are a fragrance of Christ to God”
G. Those who are being saved respond positively
“among those who are being saved”
H. Those who are perishing respond negatively
“and among those who are perishing”
I. The fragrance is the same in all cases — it has a different effect on different people
“to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life.”
J. The victory is the same in all cases — it is God’s victory in which we share (He is accomplishing His sovereign purposes)
II. (2:16b-17) THE CONFIDENCE (SUFFICIENCY) OF THE GOSPEL MINISTRY – VICTORY IN PROCLAIMING CHRIST DOES DEPEND ON PERSONAL FAITHFULNESS
Question: Who is sufficient for these things?
Answer: Those, such as the apostles, who demonstrate faithfulness in the following areas:
A. Faithfulness to the message
“For we are not like many, peddling the word of God”
B. Faithfulness to one’s own conscience
“but as from sincerity”
C. Faithfulness to the authority of God
“but as from God”
D. Faithfulness in union with Christ
“we speak in Christ”
E. Faithfulness in the light of accountability
“in the sight of God”
* * * * * * * * * *
1) The victory already accomplished by Christ cannot be stressed enough. Although we are engaged in a mighty conflict of unseen spiritual forces, the outcome is not in doubt and the victory is not ours to secure. We have been graciously granted victory by being united to the Victor Himself.
2) The knowledge of Christ is a precious, sweet aroma that should permeate those around us and accomplish God’s purposes in the lives of those we touch.
3) The message of the gospel leads to either life or death – but in either case God is accomplishing His sovereign redemptive purposes and is ultimately glorified.
4) All of our testimony springs from Christ Himself as we speak in Christ in the sight of God.