Our duty, our responsibility, our joy.
I recently read through the book of 1 Corinthians and so I decided I would read 2 Corinthians as well. I must say, the Bible is awesome. The more you read – the more you want to read. Additionally, the more and more I read and study the Apostle Paul and his writings the more I appreciate him and what he had to say. If there is anyone aside from Christ that Christians should aspire to be like, I am convinced that it is Paul. He is a beast. I realize there are other amazing Christians throughout history that God has mightily used but I just really like Paul. I am eager to meet him when I get to heaven.
My favorite verses in the whole Bible are in 2 Corinthians 5:14-21:
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and 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. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore 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.
Those verses are so full. There are so many wonderful themes flowing through them (isn’t the Bible rich?). But among other things, I was struck by how Paul outlines our duty, responsibility and joy of being ambassadors for Christ. Read verses 18-19 a few times and meditate on them. Through Christ we are reconciled to God and through Christ, God gives us the ministry of reconciliation. He entrusts to us the message of reconciliation! The message that sinners can be reconciled to God is entrusted to YOU.
As verse 20 says, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.” To me this is incredible. God didn’t send angels to be his ambassadors and make his appeals. He doesn’t choose certain very experienced, highly qualified Christians to work on his behalf. He didn’t select a few very polished speakers to represent him. No! “We”, you and me, ordinary Christians – we are Christ’s ambassadors! God is making his appeals through us! To me that is amazing. And very sobering.
American ambassadors to foreign countries have to be very careful of how they conduct themselves because they represent America. So too, we must be so very careful of how we act before the watching world because we are ambassadors representing Jesus Christ! In Matthew 5:16, our Lord says, “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”, and Peter exhorts us in 1 Peter 2:12 to, “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”
We are ambassadors of the living God. It is our duty, our responsibility and our joy. May God give us grace.