√ Re·new·al: the replacing or repair of something that is worn out, run-down, or broken
6 The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. 7 Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.
14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? 17 Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.
¶ Being a “captive in Christ’s triumphal procession” is a picture that includes the main themes of renewal: punishment, forgiveness and comfort. The “captive” idea is familiar to me. I have been guilty, forgiven and comforted. I am included in that triumphal procession because of that.
That’s a different image than one might expect at first glance. Inclusion is not an indicator of status but an indicator of punishment deferred. Christ has eliminated the contrast between himself and the captive. He has included himself all aspects of captivity; the punishment, the forgiveness, the comfort and thanks be to God, the triumph.
I read Paul’s phrase “we do not peddle the word of God for profit” and was reminded that my words are the words of a captive. I do not “pedal” my words FOR Jesus but BEFORE him and before you other “captives in Christ’s triumphal procession.” Thanks be to God!