Ambassadors For Christ
II Corinthians 5:20 states, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”
This verse holds such tremendous insight into what God has called every child of God to be and do. We are ambassadors for Christ!
To be an ambassador in the ancient Greek and Roman world, as in modern times, involved three things:
1. Commissioning for a special assignment
2. Representing the sender
3. Exercising the authority of the sender
An ambassador was a messenger and a representative of the one who sent him. The root Greek word is presbeuo. In the ancient world, presbeuo was not normally used in a religious sense because Greek mythology did not teach that people could be ambassadors of the Greek gods. Presbeuo was normally used to describe the emperor’s emissaries, generals, or governors. Here, the Holy Spirit led Paul to refer to believers as ambassadors for Christ, the Saviour and King. There is not a higher calling on this earth.
An ambassador does not speak to please his audience, but the king who sent him. An ambassador does not speak on his own authority; his opinions or demands mean little. He simply says what he has been commissioned to say. But an ambassador is more than a messenger, he is also a representative. The honor of the king’s character, kingdom, and people are in the ambassador’s hands.
“As though God did beseech you by us” adds to the high calling of an ambassador for Christ. These words can be translated, “God Himself is pleading with you through us.” When we pause and think about these words, the Holy Spirit will pound away at our pride or apathy. God has chosen us—as weak, stubborn, and selfish as we are—to speak for Him, to be His mouthpiece. He could use the angels that obey His every command. He could cause the earth to speak His message, and the earth would do exactly as He says. But he has chosen His people to be His messengers and representatives, knowing full well that we will not always speak what He has said correctly or be true representatives of Him.
The fact that we are unworthy ambassadors should cause us to depend on Him solely as our source of life and power. As ambassadors, God is pleading with the world to be reconciled with God. The words beseech or plead mean to come alongside of another and call them to action. In this case, it is God’s people who have been reconciled to God, coming alongside the unsaved (not above them with a holier-than-thou attitude), and speaking and representing God’s message of reconciliation through the blood of Christ.
In II Corinthians 5:19, it states that God has “committed unto us the word (message) of reconciliation.” The Greek root word for reconciliation is katallage. Literally, it means to exchange one thing for another, like the exchange of coins for others of equal value. The Greeks spoke of people or groups in opposition with each other as being “reconciled.” It meant the hostility was over and now there was friendship. In the Greek and Roman world, it was rarely used in a religious sense because the Greek gods lacked personal relationships with their worshippers, but that is not the case with the one true God. Reconciliation implies that there is enmity and hostility between God and man. Reconciliation brings an end to that enmity, and brings man into a living, loving relationship with God. What is the message committed to us, His ambassadors, to speak to a lost world? The message is that God has taken the initiative to end our hostility toward Him by charging our sins to the account of Christ, making peace with us through the blood of His cross. In short, that is the gospel, the good news.
Paul wrote, “We pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.” In other words, “We urge you on Christ’s behalf, as His ambassadors, be reconciled to God.” The words “be reconciled” is a verb that is an imperative—a command—in the passive voice. The passive voice means that mankind is not the initiator of reconciliation with God, he is the recipient. In other words, “Allow yourself (that’s a command) to be reconciled to God.” Charles Spurgeon said it this way: “Yield yourselves to Him…drawing you with cords of love because He was given for you…Submit yourselves. Yield to the grasp of those hands which were nailed to the cross for you.”
We are messengers and representatives of the Saviour and King, Jesus Christ. Lord, help us to speak and represent You as You have called us to. We ask for the power of Your Spirit. Help us to depend on Jesus and His finished work on the cross, as we speak and live it before others. Thank you for reconciling us to You through the blood of Christ. Amen.