Victory in Jesus

Bible Book: 2 Corinthians  2 : 14
Subject: Success; Victory; Christian Living; Triumphant Church; Jesus Leading Us

Victory in Jesus

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor,

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.”

Paul is here using an analogy of the triumphant march of a victorious Roman commander in the streets of Rome with the triumphant march of believers behind our Commander, Jesus Christ. The triumphant march was a familiar experience for the people in the Roman world during Paul’s lifetime. In the days of the great Roman Empire it was the goal of every Roman General to experience a triumphant march in Rome. This was only possible when a commander led an expedition which met three guidelines.

  • First, the commander had to lead his soldiers to a victory which extended the land possessions of the Empire.
  • Second, he had to kill or capture at least 5,000 of the enemy.
  • Thirdly, he had to be the commander who actually led the battle. If he met these conditions he was given the triumphant march through the streets of Rome.

The triumphant march was something a General would in all probability experience only once, if even once, in a lifetime.

  • As the march occurred, the people lined the streets in Rome by the thousands.
  • Then came the senators and officials of the city marching down the street toward the capitol. Following came the spoils of war. An example of the spoils of war can be seen in the Golden Lampstand taken from the Temple in Jerusalem by Titus in 70 AD, which was carried down the streets of Rome during his triumphant march. Next came trumpets and music.
  • Then came the captured soldiers and citizens of the foreign, conquered land.
  • Then came the priests bearing censors with incense burning and rising above the crowd. Naturally the smell of the incense was a smell of victory to the winners and a smell of death to the conquered.
  • Then came the General himself in a chariot pulled by a team of white stallions.
  • Behind him marched his decorated soldiers shouting “Io Triumphe” (The cry of Triumph).
  • The people cheered wildly as the entourage passed by in glorious splendor.

Paul said that the Christian life was something like a triumphant march. What? Did he really mean this? Does the Christian life seem to you to be a triumphant procession? I doubt it, for most Christians experience toil and trial and do not for a moment view their life as some triumphant celebration. The Christian life can seem like one problem after another, and a full-throated rejection by the world. So how could Paul write this or describe the Christian life in this manner?

Of all people Paul knew the sorrows, trials and hardships of the Christian life. He was often beaten, shipwrecked, stoned, imprisoned, berated, snake bit, and ridiculed. Yet, Paul called the Christian life a triumphant procession. Let me share with you three reasons why Paul said and believed this to be true.

I. Jesus Leads Us

Paul looked at the Christian life as a victory because Jesus is the great conqueror of all enemies. The Christian can sing:

“He leadeth me, O blessed thought,

O words with heavenly comfort fraught,

Whatever I do, Wherever I be,

Still tis God’s hand that leadeth me”.

Paul would have every Christian reaffirm this truth - Christ is leading us.

Think of what it means to be led by the One who overcame sin and death.

A. The Distinction in His Leadership

Paul had not always followed Jesus, but in fact had fought on the other side for a while. 1 Corinthians 15:9-10 states, “For I am least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am...”. But then, this is true for all of us. We were all enemies of God at one time, and we were all aliens and foreigners at some point in the past. Like Paul, we decided to follow Jesus when God called us to Him. He then became our Savior, Commander, Companion, and Friend. We put our hands to the plow and determined not to look back.

Perhaps someone here today has never done that. You have never followed Jesus. You have never repented of your sins and received Him into your life to be your Savior. You can follow him. In fact, you must follow Him if you expect to smell the sweet incense of victory instead of the horrible odor of death. He will be the Captain of Salvation or He will be your judge at the Great White Throne Judgment.

Someone has said that a honeybee reserves the honey for the owner and the sting for all others. Be assured that Christ reserves the blessings of Heaven for His own and the sting of judgment for all others. He loves you and today he offers you the chance to follow Him.

Many reject the idea of judgment these days, and some preach without ever mentioning it. Yet judgment is coming. The victory march will take place. Either sin or the Savior will be the victor. Every Christian has bowed before the One who overcame in life and death, and is already in the victory march toward eternity with the Winner.

Notice something else about following Jesus …

B. The Delight in His Leadership

What a joy it is to follow Him as He leads us in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Have you ever been in a strange city and sought directions from a local person? The directions go something like this: “You go down here two blocks - no, wait, make that three blocks; turn right at the light - no, wait, make that a left; then go across the railroad tracks to the big brown building on the right, go left one block, get on the clover leaf to the right and off on the left, go the far left lane, bare left till you see a hamburger joint - turn right, - no, wait, make that a left and you got it made buster!” You think to yourself, “What in the world did he say?” You don’t want to look stupid so you get in the car and drive for a while till you can ask someone else for directions. Or, if you trust your GPS or navigation system, you can just follow those directions. Good luck with that, for half the streets in the city will be under construction and you’ll have to detour till you’re back to the guy who first gave you those indiscernible directions to start with.

With Jesus we have one who directs us tenderly and correctly each step of the way. We merely follow Him, for He is never lost and He will never allow us to be lost once we trust Him. It is a delight to follow Jesus. He knows every curve, every street that is dangerous, every and every pothole along the way.

Note one more thing about the Lord’s leadership …

C. The Demand In His Leadership

If we follow Him, we must take up our cross daily. That means to die to self every day. We see this in Galatians 2:20.

When I was a boy, I was at Daytona Beach with my dad, mom and brother. Dad and I went out into the ocean, when suddenly an undertow ripped both of us off our feet. In a matter of moments we were out too far and the pulling of the water was taking us further away. My dad yelled at me, “Follow me. Swim, Michael, swim!” He kept looking back and encouraged me. After what seemed like forever, we arrived at the shore. We were exhausted. Dad said, “Son, I was watching you all the time. I didn’t try to reach you or grab you, for I feared we would both go under. I was going to lead you back and only grab you if I had to.”

Jesus is leading us. He calls to us every day to follow Him. He said to His first disciples, “Follow Me!” Those are His words to us this very day.

As we follow Him, we are led to victory – to a triumphant march with Him.

Now, we have seen that Jesus lead us. But, I want you to note that …

II. Jesus Always Leads Us

We may be prone to complain that it seems at times that He is not with us. Paul could well have said something like that. Paul went from one trial to another, but he never became discouraged. Why? Paul knew that the Lord was leading him all the way. Jesus always leads us, even when it seems that He has forgotten us.

Oh yes, there are times when it seems that we are all alone. But he is there. His unseen hand is guiding us through the storms and valleys of this life. It is important for us to recognize His leadership in all the paths we must take.

A. In our Success

It is amazing how we often want to take credit for our successes but want to question God when things don’t go the way we want them to. Actually, in all our successes we must acknowledge that God has been with us and we are to give Him the glory. In the Roman triumphant march, the soldiers marched behind the victorious general, not in front of him. That is our calling in Christ.

B. In our Struggles

God does not cause all of our struggles, but he certainly will use them all if we allow him to. See Romans 8:28.

Someone once said, “I never realized that Jesus was all I needed till the time came that Jesus was all I had.”

When we are left without human resources we often discover that He was there all the time.

I read some years ago about a nervous lady who got on a bus in the city. She had to stand because the bus was full of passengers. She had a suitcase in her hand and she held the heavy thing in her hands. The driver looked in the mirror at the lady holding the suitcase and said, “Ma’am, you can’t sit that suitcase down – let the bus carry it.” There are times when we are trying to carry the load that the Lord has asked us to allow Him to carry. In our struggles, we must trust the One who was capable of carrying the cross up Calvary’s hill and to bear our sins in His own body.

C. In our Sorrow

Every Christian must learn to trust the Lord in times of sorrow. He has not left you alone and He never will. Even in the valley of the shadow of death, He is with you. In His presence you cannot be defeated by anything one or anything – not ultimately. Read Romans 8:38.

Jesus leads us and He always leads us. But note one more thing we can add to this statement …

III. Jesus Always Leads Us In Triumphant Procession

In Jesus you are a winner and not a loser. Jesus will see to it that you are victorious.

A woman in a church was talking with a poor widow lady on one occasion. She said to the widow, “I don’t understand it. You seem to have such peace. Even with your troubles, you have such joy. I do things for God but I don’t seem to have what you have.” The widow lady replied, “Maybe it is because your religion is a ‘do’ religion and mine is a ‘done’ religion.” The first lady asked, “Whatever do you mean?” The woman who had recently lost her husband in death replied, “I am living my Christian life based on what Christ has done and you may be living yours on what you think you can do.”

My dear people, we must have a Christian walk based on what Christ has done and not on what we can do. Sure, we must “do” the things we ought to do, but we can only do them because of what Christ has done for us. Our joy is found in getting up each day to walk in the triumphant march with Jesus.

  • We follow the One who walked without sin in this world.
  • We follow the One who had all power but never used it for His own sake.
  • We follow the One who died willingly on the cross for us.
  • We follow the One who got up out of the grave and held in His hands the keys to death, hell and the grave.
  • We follow the One who is Lord of the Church.
  • We follow the One who is coming back for us one day, the One who will take us to be with Him.

We are marching in a triumphant column behind our Lord – let us never waver – never be ashamed – never give the enemy a foothold – never give up till He comes to take us up to our home with Him


Are you still DEAD in your sins? Jesus died for you. Turn to him in repentance and faith – join the triumphant march.

Are you DOUBTING? Come now! Recommit yourself to your triumphant Lord. Don’t let the world convince you that God doesn’t love you. He is here! He is leading. Recommit yourself to follow the Victorious One!

Have you been DIVERTED? Has the wind of the world blown you off the path that is correct? Don’t let sin gain a victory in your life. Recommit your life to the Master today. Come on! Join once again the triumphant march behind your Lord.

Someone here needs DELIVERANCE. Something in this world has a grip on you. A habit, a sinful thought life, a defeated spirit! What is it? Jesus is the victor. There is nothing He cannot help you overcome. Come to Him today and allow Him to deliver you from any chain that binds your life.

Paul said that the sweet fragrance of God’s victory is being expressed everywhere through us. Is that true of you and of me? Do we look like victorious people to the world? We should. We can. We will, if we will renew our lives by following Him as our triumphant King.