A Sweet Savour of Christ

2Corinthians 2:12-17 Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord, I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia. Now thanks be unto God, which always cause us to triumph in Christ, and make 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. 

‘Troas to preach Christ’s gospel’ Paul visited Troas on his second journey (Acts 16:6-8) and perhaps during his third journey (Acts 18:23).

‘To triumph in Christ, and make manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.’ Triumph in Christ means complete mastery over satanic powers (Col. 2:14-17; Eph. 2:14-15). The triumph here is like that of the Romans in which a public and solemn honour was conferred upon a victorious general, by allowing him a magnificent procession through the city of Rome. This was not granted by the senate unless he had gained a very decisive victory or conquered a province. On such occasions, the general was clad in purple and gold woven in figures setting forth his achievements. He wore a crown and in one hand held a branch of laurel, the emblem of victory. In the other, he carried his staff. He rode a magnificent chariot, adorned with ivory and plates of gold, and drawn by white horses. To keep him humble in the midst of all this a slave rode at his back, casting railings and reproaches and enumerating his vices and failures. Musicians led the procession; young men led sacrifices to be offered; then came loads of spoil, followed by the kings, princes, and generals that were taken captive. After these came the triumphal chariot before which people strewed flowers and shouted triumphant cries. Following this came the senate, priests, and the rest of the parade.

‘Savour’ [Greek: osme] aroma (2Cor. 2:14, 16; John 12:3; Eph. 5:2; Php. 4:18). Such a triumph in Christ as described here makes manifest the aroma of His saving knowledge by triumphant ministers wherever they serve.

‘Sweet savour’ [Greek: euodia] sweet perfume (2Cor. 2:15; Eph. 5:2; Php. 4:18). Not the same word in 2Corinthians 2:14. Righteous Christians are a sweet perfume unto God through Christ in all that are saved and unsaved. To the saved, they are an aroma of life unto life. To the unsaved, they are an aroma of death unto death. This is another way of saying, whoever receives the gospel will be saved and whoever rejects it will be lost. The gospel saves saints and damns sinners.

‘And who is sufficient for these things?’ Are the false apostles that lead you astray able to do these things?

‘Corrupt’ [Greek: kapeleuo] adulterate. The idea here is that the false apostles who were disturbing the Corinthians (2Cor. 11:13-15) were mixing the Word of God with their own inventions and were explaining it away to accommodate their hearers to get gain. Much of the Word of God is being adulterated today in many parts of Christendom (2Tim. 4:1-4). ‘Sincerity’ here refers to keeping the Word of God pure, and to delivering it in its purity to mankind.

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