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." (NIV).
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Paul is referring to the type of procession or parade that Roman generals held when they returned to Rome after successful military operations against Rome's enemies. These triumphs were held as a public display of the general's own military skill and might, and of the power of the Roman state. In addition to the participation of the general's army, they also typically included a procession of the foreign captives whom the general had taken prisoner during those operations. Paul is figuratively comparing this to the manner in which the resurrected Christ provides evidence of the victory that He has won over sin and death by leading those whom He has redeemed in a similar procession. Paul describes those individuals as captives (as in a Roman triumph), but in this case they are willng captives who have been freed from their former enslavement to sin, and who now have the purpose (as Paul said) of glorifying Christ for His actions, and spreading the knowledge of Him to others.
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