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From Trials to Triumph

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    Paul's Joy at Their Reconversion

    Paul ascribed to God all the praise for their reconversion and transformation of heart and life: “Thanks be to God,” he exclaimed, “who in Christ always leads us in triumph, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” A general victorious in war brought with him on his return a train of captives. Incense bearers were appointed, and as the army marched triumphantly home, the fragrant odor was to the captives appointed to die, an aroma of death, showing that they were nearing the time of their execution; but to the prisoners whose lives were to be spared, it was an aroma of life—it showed that their freedom was near.TT 172.3

    Paul now felt that Satan was not to triumph in Corinth. He and his fellow laborers would celebrate their victory by going forth with new zeal to diffuse, like incense, the fragrance of the gospel throughout the world. To those who should accept Christ, the message would be an aroma of life, but to those who should persist in unbelief, an aroma of death.TT 172.4

    Realizing the overwhelming magnitude of the work, Paul exclaimed, “Who is sufficient for these things?” Who is able to preach Christ in such a way that His enemies shall have no just cause to despise the messenger or the message? Faithfulness in preaching the Word, united with a pure, consistent life, can alone make the efforts of ministers acceptable to God.TT 173.1

    There were those who had charged Paul with self-commendation in writing his former letter. “Are we beginning to commend ourselves again?” he inquired; “or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you?” Believers moving to a new place often carried letters of commendation from the church, but the founders of these churches had no need of such commendation. The Corinthian believers, led from the worship of idols to the gospel, were themselves all the recommendation Paul needed. The reformation in their lives bore eloquent testimony to his labor and authority as a minister of Christ.TT 173.2

    “You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on your hearts, to be known and read by all men; and you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”TT 173.3

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