As Paul seeks to help the church in Corinth, he makes this statement, “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God” (2nd Corinthians 5:20). Precisely what is an ambassador? Well, the verse gives us some insight, but let’s consider a definition first: a person who acts as a representative or promoter of a specified activity. Have you ever thought of yourself as a representative of Christ? Let’s look further into this idea to help understand what it should mean to us.
If there could be a statement that grabs your attention in the scriptures, this is one. What do you think about this idea that this task is like “God were pleading through us”? The NIV says, “as though God were making his appeal through us.” Once again, I like how the NCV makes it personal, saying, “It is as if God is calling to you through us.” You can hear the words of the great commission given by Jesus, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” (Matthew 28:19). The words “go therefore and make disciples” is all part of our readiness to “be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). It is what the early church did amid adversity as they “went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). As the apostle, Paul exhorts the church in Ephesus to “put on the whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:11). He also encourages them to pray for him, “that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:19-20). So, we can see that being an ambassador carries this idea of a unique and critical message. What is that message?
The message is simple, “…be reconciled to God” (2nd Corinthians 5:20). God has done what is necessary, for He “made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us” (2nd Corinthians 5:21). Reconciliation is obtainable “through the death of His Son” (Romans 5:10). What God has done for sinful man is what Paul calls “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8). He would go on to say about us, “that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 3:10). Sinful man has the chance to “become the righteousness of God in Him” (2nd Corinthians 5:21). God calls us to proclaim this message. That is what we do because of what He has done for us.
Proclaiming the gospel to the world is what it means to be ambassadors for Christ. Changed by the message of hope and convicted of its reality, we encourage others to “be reconciled to God.” Our roles may differ somewhat, for some will plant, and others may water, knowing that God brings forth the harvest (1st Corinthians 3:6). Nonetheless, our work as ambassadors is crucial. Many around, even those with smiles on the faces, are not reconciled to God. It may be that we are their chance to hear about the hope we have in Christ. Are you up for it?