Because Jesus gained victory over sin and evil, we can have victory too. When He gave His life for us on the cross in payment for our sins, He made a public spectacle of evil (Colossians 2:11-15). He then, in His Spirit (between the time of His death and resurrection) went down to the demon spirits bound in the abyss and proclaimed His triumph over them, declaring to them that He had won over all evil. (1 Peter 3:19. These demons, according to MacArthur, are the fallen angels during the time of Noah, which God had locked up because of their wickedness against the human race.)
In 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 we have a more vivid picture of Christ in triumph. According to MacArthur’s Bible notes, Paul is drawing from the imagery of the exalted Roman ceremony called the Triumph, in which a victorious general was paraded through the streets of Rome. But here, our general, Jesus Christ includes us in His victory. We all ride on horses with Him to show off His victory, which now is also our victory.
In our life we celebrate His victory and we smell of His fragrance. To other believers our fragrance is an aroma of life and of victory—victory over sin and death. To unbelievers, to those who are perishing, our aroma to them is an aroma of death. In other words, when they see us and are near us they are put to shame and are reminded of their sin and lostness. Just as Christ triumphs over evil, we being in Christ triumph over evil too, and really, over anyone who is lost—because they in effect represent evil. For all who are not of Christ are of the devil. Yes we triumph in Christ and we have a glorious future.
Let us pray always that others who are dead in Christ will repent of their sin, and therefore, be able to join in our glorious procession. Onward we go with Christ in victory. And as we go we cry out to the world, “Join us; be victorious with us; see how good God is to us and will be to you.”
Many afflictions and temptations plague us as we go, but Christ our captain delivers us from them all (Ps. 34:19).