Scattered: Day 10
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
2 Corinthians 5:20
Paul has been talking in 2 Corinthians 5 about how the work of Christ on the cross has reconciled us to God. In other words, we were enemies of God, now we have been brought back into relationship with him. But he then goes further – not only are we ourselves reconciled (brought back into relationship) but we are ambassadors on his behalf bringing this message of reconciliation to others.
In ancient Greece ambassadors fulfilled a vital role in representing their nation in relationships with other nations. A crucial role of the ambassador was in time of war or threatened war when an ambassador would be sent from a weaker nation to a stronger one to plea for peace.
Paul seems to be using this concept, but he turns it upside down. As ambassadors for God, we are not representing the weaker party (man) in an appeal to the stronger (God), but God as the stronger party uses us as his ambassadors in an appeal for reconciliation to people who are not in relationship with him.
The role of ambassador was not merely to be a messenger but to present persuasive arguments. There was a sense of urgency and defined purpose. An ambassador would have understood the cost of failure of his mission. He was highly motivated. He wasn’t easily put off. However, he did not come to bully those who were against him. Rather he came as Paul does to “appeal”, “implore” and “plead with.”
Here are some questions that arise from this that I find challenging:
- An ambassador was emotionally invested in the goal of peace between the warring parties. Our evangelism is not a dispassionate task. It’s not mere duty, a programme, or a desire to have more people in church that motivates us but as Paul says in verse 14 it is Christ’s love that compels us.
Q. How motivated in evangelism am I by Christ’s love?
- An ambassador doesn’t just rock up unprepared – he is focused and well prepared.
Q. How well prepared am I to give an account for the hope that is in me?
- We are not on our own – we have the Holy Spirit working alongside us.
Q. How much do I rely on the Holy Spirit in sharing the good news with people?
To conclude – my encouragement is that we should see ourselves as ambassadors for Christ in our communities, our schools and workplaces with the goal of seeing people who are far from God, even as Paul says “enemies of God” become reconciled to God.
Ps Nick Reynolds
Location Pastor, Workington