(NLT) But thank God! He has made us His captives and continues to lead us along in Christ's triumphal procession.
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always causeth us to triumph in Christ; not only had done so, but continued to do so: some versions ascribe this act of triumph to God, as his act, reading the passage thus, "now thanks be unto God, who triumphs over us", or "by us in Christ"; who has conquered us by his grace, and made use of us as instruments for the conversion of sinners; and so first triumphed over us, having subdued us to himself, and then over others by us, in whose hearts the arrows of his word have been sharp and powerful: so the word is used for the person's own act of triumph spoken of, 2 Cor 2:15, but here it signifies, as words do in the Hebrew conjugation "Hiphil", which most commonly denotes an effect upon another, or which is caused and produced in another, and is rightly rendered, "which causeth us to triumph"; and refers not to the triumph of faith, common with the apostles to other believers; though this is in Christ, in his righteousness, death, resurrection, ascension, session at God's right hand, and intercession; and is what God causes, and to whom thanks is to be given for it: but this is a triumph peculiar to ministers of the Gospel, who are made to triumph over men and devils, over the world, the reproaches, persecutions, smiles, and flatteries of it; over wicked men, by silencing them, stopping the mouths of gainsayers, refuting false teachers, and preserving the Gospel pure, in spite of all opposition; and by being made useful to the turning of many souls from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God: and this is.
Jamieson Faussett & Brown:
causeth us to triumph — The Greek, is rather, as in Col 2:15, “triumphs over us”: “leadeth us in triumph.” Paul regarded himself as a signal trophy of God’s victorious power in Christ. His Almighty Conqueror was leading him about, through all the cities of the Greek and Roman world, as an illustrious example of His power at once to subdue and to save. The foe of Christ was now the servant of Christ. As to be led in triumph by man is the most miserable, so to be led in triumph by God is the most glorious, lot that can befall any [Trench]. Our only true triumphs are God’s triumphs over us. His defeats of us are our only true victories [Alford]. The image is taken from the triumphal procession of a victorious general. The additional idea is perhaps included, which distinguishes God’s triumph from that of a human general, that the captive is brought into willing obedience (2 Cor 10:5) to Christ, and so joins in the triumph: God “leads him in triumph” as one not merely triumphed over, but also as one triumphing over God’s foes with God (which last will apply to the apostle’s triumphant missionary progress under the leading of God). So Bengel: “Who shows us in triumph, not [merely] as conquered, but as the ministers of His victory. Not only the victory, but the open ‘showing’ of the victory is marked: for there follows, Who maketh manifest.”
A triumph, among the Romans, to which the apostle here alludes, was a public and solemn honor conferred by them on a victorious general, by allowing him a magnificent procession through the city.
This was not granted by the senate unless the general had gained a very signal and decisive victory; conquered a province, etc. On such occasions the general was usually clad in a rich purple robe, interwoven with figures of gold, setting forth the grandeur of his achievements; his buskins were beset with pearls, and he wore a crown, which at first was of laurel, but was afterwards of pure gold. In one hand he had a branch of laurel, the emblem of victory; and in the other, his truncheon. He was carried in a magnificent chariot, adorned with ivory and plates of gold, and usually drawn by two white horses. (Other animals were also used: when Pompey triumphed over Africa, his chariot was drawn by elephants; that of Mark Antony, by lions; that of Heliogabalus, by tigers; and that of Aurelius, by deer.) His children either sat at his feet in the chariot, or rode on the chariot horses. To keep him humble amidst these great honors a slave stood at his back, casting out incessant railings, and reproaches; and carefully enumerating all his vices, etc. Musicians led up the procession, and played triumphal pieces in praise of the general; and these were followed by young men, who led the victims which were to be sacrificed on the occasion, with their horns gilded, and their heads and necks adorned with ribbons and garlands. Next followed carts loaded with the spoils taken from the enemy, with their horses, chariots, etc. These were followed by the kings, princes, or generals taken in the war, loaded with chains. Immediately after these came the triumphal chariot, before which, as it passed, the people strewed flowers, and shouted Io, triumphe!
The triumphal chariot was followed by the senate; and the procession was closed by the priests and their attendants, with the different sacrificial utensils, and a white ox, which was to be the chief victim. They then passed through the triumphal arch, along the via sacra to the capitol, where the victims were slain.
During this time all the temples were opened, and every altar smoked with offerings and incense.
The people at Corinth were sufficiently acquainted with the nature of a triumph: about two hundred years before this, Lucius Mummius, the Roman consul, had conquered all Achaia, destroyed Corinth, Thebes, and Chalcis; and, by order of the senate, had a grand triumph, and was surnamed Achaicus. St. Paul had now a triumph (but of a widely different kind) over the same people; his triumph was in Christ, and to Christ he gives all the glory; his sacrifice was that of thanksgiving to his Lord; and the incense offered on the occasion caused the savour of the knowledge of Christ to be manifested in every place. As the smoke of the victims and incense offered on such an occasion would fill the whole city with their perfume, so the odour of the name and doctrine of Christ filled the whole of Corinth and the neighboring regions; and the apostles appeared as triumphing in and through Christ, over devils, idols, superstition, ignorance, and vice, wherever they came.
To triumph in Christ. - To triumph through the aid of Christ, or in promoting the cause of Christ. Paul had no joy which was not connected with Christ, and he had no success which he did not trace to him. The word which is rendered here as “triumph” (θριαμβευοντι thriambeuonti from θριαμβέυω thriambeuō) occurs in no other place in the New Testament, except in Col 2:15. It is rendered there as “triumphing over them in it,” that is, triumphing over the principalities and powers which he had spoiled, or plundered; and it there means that Christ led them in triumph after the manner of a conqueror. The word is used here in a causative sense - the sense of the Hebrew Hiphil conjugation. It properly refers to a triumph; or a triumphal procession. Originally the word θριαμβος thriambos meant a hymn which was sung in honor of Bacchus; then the tumultuous and noisy procession which constituted the worship of the god of wine; and then any procession of a similar kind. - Passow. It was particularly applied among both the Greeks and the Romans to a public and solemn honor conferred on a victorious general on a return from a successful war in which he was allowed a magnificent entrance into the capital.
In these triumphs, the victorious commander was usually preceded or attended by the spoils of war; by the most valuable and magnificent articles which he had captured; and by the princes, nobles, generals, or people whom he had subdued. The victor was drawn in a magnificent chariot, usually by two white horses. Other animals were sometimes used. “When Pompey triumphed over Africa, his chariot was drawn by elephants; that of Mark Antony was drawn by lions; that of Heliogabalus pulled by tigers; and that of Aurelius drawn by deer” - Clark. The people of Corinth were not unacquainted with the nature of a triumph. About 147 years before Christ, Lucius Mummius, the Roman consul, had conquered all Achaia, and had destroyed Corinth, Thebes, and Colchis, and by order of the Roman Senate was favored with a triumph, and was surnamed Achaicus. Tyndale renders this place: “Thanks be unto God which always giveth us the victory in Christ.” Paul refers here to a victory which he had, and a triumph with which he was favored by the Redeemer. It was a victory over the enemies of the gospel; it was success in advancing the interests of the kingdom of Christ; and he rejoiced in that victory, and in that success, with more solid and substantial joy than a Roman victor ever felt on returning from his conquests over nations, even when attended with the richest spoils of victory, and by humbled princes and kings in chains, and when the assembled thousands shouted Io triumphe!
The point is you smelt this procession long before you could see it. The conclusion to draw from all of this is that we are the ones being led as Christ’s slaves in this procession. He is the conqueror and we are His slaves. But it is also possible to rejoice in that because He is the perfect master and Lord. But if nothing else it sets it in context doesn’t it. We can’t have any grandiose thoughts of triumph outside of Him. It is Christ’s triumphant procession, not ours.
You Are Either The Master Of Your Thoughts Or The Victim Of Your Attitude. Robb Thompson
God wastes nothing. In His hands even your worst experience can be a great testimony. Jeffrey Rachmat
A man of character will make himself worthy of any position he is given. Mahatma Gandhi