“God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:20, RSV).
What good news! God himself took care of the sin problem. Sin separated us from God, but God, in Christ Jesus, made a way for us to be reconciled to him. The Message Bible puts it this way: “…anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives…” (2 Cor.5:17-20, MSG).
When we have met Christ, and by his grace through faith become part of his family, we are given the privilege of working in the family business. We have been appointed Ambassadors, (representatives) of Christ Jesus.
An ambassador is a person who represents one who is in authority over him or her. It is quite an honor. As Christians, we represent God who is the supreme authority over all the universe. He wants us to tell everyone that he loves them. Christ died in order that all would have a chance at forgiveness.
What do ambassadors do? Besides representing their President or King, they protect and promote his interests. God is interested in people. He wants us to be kind, merciful, forgiving to others and to seek justice for all.
A good ambassador will try to help a citizen who has legal trouble, and make sure he is treated justly. He can’t overlook wrongdoing, but works to bring about justice. Likewise, Christians do not overlook sin, but should treat the sinners with justice and mercy, and hopefully will introduce the sinner to the best advocate, Jesus Christ.
An ambassador welcomes visitors and organizes visits. (This could be likened to pastors and other church leaders arranging for the congregation to get together frequently. But even lay people can practice hospitality.) Speeches are also part of ambassadors’ duties. They give these to strengthen relationships between people or countries. They must be sensitive to peoples’ needs, have fluency in the language of the country to which they are sent, and be committed to the job and to the superior. A Christian can give testimonies or simply find opportunities to talk to people in a caring manner, which might give an opening to talk about their need for Jesus. It helps a lot if we speak their language. Funding ministries is another way we can serve.
As most of us know, there are risks involved in being an ambassador. Just like several U.S Ambassadors have been killed in office. so, also, have many thousands of Christians died as martyrs because they are ambassadors for God. From the time of the first Apostles, however, many consider it an honor to suffer for the name of Jesus Christ.(See Acts 5:41, Philippians 1:29,) Following in Jesus’ steps includes suffering of some sort.)
Why are martyrs called “the seed of the church?” Remember Jesus said, “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:24-25, RSV). If we die to self, giving up our selfish comfort in order to do God’s will, we can be fruitful ambassadors for Christ. Giving up selfishness may mean continuing in a job or service that is difficult or painful just because we want to show love and loyalty to Christ. We may not see the fruit in our earthly life, but God will give the increase.
—Judith Vander Wege, 6-16.2017
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