The Ministry of Reconciliation
I’ve never held an official title as an ambassador. I have been a part of enough organizations to know that I am unofficially representing the organization or church or family by way of membership, but there’s never been an official designation. But this is not the case for us as Christians. As Christians, we are officially ambassadors for Christ. We have been given a treasure, and we are called as ambassadors to share it, display it, keep it, and walk in it. The Word of God tells us that we have been reconciled to God and therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, “God making his appeal through us” (2 Cor. 5:20). But before we can truly do our work as ambassadors, we must understand why we have been called to this.
I became a Christian at the age of twenty-two. Becoming a Christian at an older age provided great opportunity to fall into grievous sin as I grew up. So when I understood the gospel, there were no sweeter words that could have been shared with me than the truth that I was a new creation. Anyone who places their trust and faith in the Lord is a new creation (v. 17). The old has passed away. That’s great news to a sinner like me—and that’s great news for a sinner like you. And to know that this is all from God, that He has made us new through and by the sacrificial blood of Jesus, is truly amazing grace (v. 19). Oh what love is this: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (v. 21). This exchange is nothing short of astonishing.
And so, because of our understanding of the gospel, we are controlled by the love of Christ (v. 14). The love of Christ motivates us to be ambassadors. The love of Christ motivates us to share in this ministry of reconciliation (v. 18). It is the love of Christ that moves us to regard others not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit (v. 16).
Everything about the way we live changes when we grasp the ministry of reconciliation and the implications of our faith and role as ambassadors. At least, it should. We know that we live in a fallen world, and we know that we continue to battle with the flesh. We are tempted to shrink back in fear rather than share the gospel. We are tempted to harbor bitterness toward other Christians rather than view them as Jesus does. At times, we are downright lousy ambassadors. But thanks be to God that the ministry of reconciliation applies to us far beyond our initial conversion. We are reconciled to God, fellow heirs with Christ, and therefore we call out for mercy and help. We cannot and should not attempt this walk and calling in our own strength. Our boast is in Christ, as is the faith, grace, and strength to do what He asks of us. We are ambassadors, but not out of begrudging duty. Rather, we are motivated by love and the fear of the Lord (v. 11).