Take a minute and think about the role of an ambassador. What comes to mind? What is your assignment, your job? Ambassadors speak on behalf of others. When Nikki Haley walks into the United Nations, she speaks on behalf of the United States government and therefore the United States people. She carries our message.
That is a fitting picture of the task or assignment of the Christian. Paul says, “we are ambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor 5:20). Therefore, we are called to speak on behalf of King Jesus. We carry the message of the King of kings and Lord of lords.
And what exactly is the message we carry? Though we could answer that in various ways, in 2 Corinthians 5 it is the message that God has made a way for every person on the planet to be reconciled to him. We’ve been given the message of reconciliation. That is, we urge those around us to be reconciled to God through faith in Christ.
The Ministry of Reconciliation: Ambassadors for Christ
Notice what Paul says immediately after he talks about being reconciled. He says that God “gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:18–19).
In other words, we were reconciled and now we have been given the ministry of reconciliation. Something happened to us (God reconciled us to himself) and then something was given to us (the ministry of reconciliation). Having been given this ministry of reconciliation, “we are ambassadors for Christ.” Paul explains this ambassadorial role by saying “God [is] making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor 5:20).
So, to have the ministry of reconciliation is to speak on behalf of Jesus. And the message we speak, the message we relay to the world around us, is the message that God has made a way for sinners to be restored (i.e. reconciled) to their heavenly Father.
And this is not something we do dispassionately. Notice the strength of the wording. We don’t offer suggestions. We don’t merely tell lost people they should consider believing in Jesus. Instead, we beg and plead and “implore” them to believe.
This makes sense, given our beliefs about eternal destinies. If we believe in everlasting joy and everlasting sorrow, in heaven and hell respectively, then we undertake our role as ambassadors with passion and vigor. We are eager to see those around us saved from hell and reconciled to God for their eternal joy.
In light of these things, we should examine ourselves (cf. 2 Cor 13:5). Though introspection can turn into paralysis-inducing navel-gazing, it is right to step back and take stock of our Christian lives. Therefore, ask yourself some questions.
- Are you building relationships with people who do not know Jesus?
- Are you speaking on behalf of King Jesus in your spheres of influence (e.g. home, work, social groups)?
- Are you praying for opportunities to tell your friends and family members about Jesus?
- Are you encouraging others to take up the role of an ambassador?
Recently Billy Graham went home to the Lord. He gave his life to preaching the good news. He spoke on behalf of King Jesus to millions of people around the world and over the course of decades. He came to the end of his life having faithfully carried the message of the King.
Now, however, this world is not his home. He sees Jesus face to face. Yet, the mission is not complete. Jesus has not returned. Therefore, the ministry of reconciliation remains and we are still called to exercise our role as ambassadors for Christ.
I know I’ve too often preached about evangelism without practicing what I’ve preached. Thankfully, God’s mercies are new every day. Today is another day with fresh opportunities to live faithfully as an ambassador of my (our) King.
Would you join me?
Let’s take up this ambassadorial role until Christ returns or calls us home.