“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.”
See 2 Corinthians 5:20
The plane just touched down in a foreign country, glancing out your window, the airport looks odd. It’s not what you are used to, but you expected this. Your first trip to represent your country’s leader has brought you to a culture outside of the norm.
As the roar of the engines cause the vessel to stop, you look down at your notes. A finely crafted bullet-point your leader has personally typed up, you’ve studied the whole way. You know exactly what he wants you to discuss with the people of this foreign nation. But all of the sudden, you crumple the pages, rip them up, and shove them in the trash as the flight attendant walks by for a final garbage pick-up.
“I’m doing this my own way. I’m saying what I want to say, and I don’t care what my leader wants. This country will hear my opinions, get my policy ideas, and I will express my own beliefs!”
What just happened?…Unfortunately, you decided to no longer represent what your dignitary and home country stands for. Even though the place you are visiting thinks you are, you’re not.
This happens to us “Christian representatives” every day. We’ve been included in the gospel, assigned a spot in God’s Cabinet, but yet we often go rogue in our actions and attitudes. Now, do our incorrect choices, words, and body-language make us not a member of God’s country? No. Nothing can change that. But sadly, the people of this world see us misrepresenting God when we act out incorrect ideas.
Paul said we are Christ’s ambassadors, that He is making His appeal through us! And what is it exactly He is trying to appeal? RECONCILIATION! HE WANTS US TO BE RECONCILED WITH GOD! (See 2 Corinthians 5:20).
Reconcile is defined as: restore friendly relations between; cause to coexist in harmony; make or show to be compatible.
It means, kiss and make up! It means, you are back in the black! It means, bury the hatchet! Declare a truce! It means become one with! This is what we are called to represent as Christ’s ambassadors!
We’ve touched down on planet earth and our main objective is to let the world know everyone has the opportunity to be completely reconciled with God! How?! Through faith in Jesus Christ!
This is the only type of representation we are truly qualified to express! Paul calls it the ministry of reconciliation! He informs the Christians in Corinth–some of the worst behaved people, ever–about the ministry they are all qualified to now preach:
“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18)
Here Paul is, writing to the Corinthian Christians–a group of believers who would make today’s porn industry look PG–telling them that they have a ministry of reconciliation?! HOW CAN THIS BE?! It’s because Paul knew they were already reconciled with God through their faith in Christ! So now they had the same ministry as he did!
A self-absorbed person will read this and yell, “Matt! Stop lying! We gotta repent! We gotta make ourselves living sacrifices!”
Friend, I would agree with you. But we must define repent, and we must understand what “living sacrifices” truly means. First, in regard to repentance, let’s establish a biblical fact: all that is required to become reconciled with God is repentance of unbelief in Jesus’ forgiveness.
The book of Hebrews was written primarily to the unbelieving Jews. They were Mosaic Law-abiding citizens. They didn’t have the problems of obvious carnal sins–like those dirty Corinthians, Ephesians, Galatians, and other Gentiles–so the author doesn’t even bother talking about such stuff. However, they still had a major sin issue. They rejected the idea of Jesus being the Messiah. They taste-tested the gospel and said, “No, thank you. I’ll choose Law and animal blood, not grace and Jesus’ blood.”
They were very well-behaved but they lacked one thing, Jesus. The first ten chapters of Hebrews speaks of only one sin, the unforgivable sin: unbelief.
Once we believe Jesus is the Messiah, that He’s forgiven us for free, we’ve repented. We’ve changed our mind about Jesus. Afterwards, repentance of incorrect actions and attitudes happen organically as Christ in us teaches us who we are in our spirits–holy saints. But make no mistake, repentance of incorrect actions and attitudes didn’t save us in the first place. Jesus did, and we let Him through our faith (see Ephesians 2:8-9).
As for making ourselves living sacrifices, I completely agree with that too. Paul even tells us to do this very thing! (See Romans 12:1). However, we must understand that we are to be living sacrifices–not dead ones. We are not killing ourselves off! Sure, our minds are being renewed day by day, but our old spirits have already been killed off from the moment we first believed! When this happened, we got a new spirit–a perfect spirit–which is connected to Christ for good! (See Romans 6:6-7, Galatians 2:20, 2 Corinthians 5:17, 1 Corinthians 6:19, Colossians 3:3, 2 Timothy 2:13, Hebrews 7:25).
We are not martyrs! We are living holy saints! WE ARE ALIVE! So when we represent God in our actions and attitudes, all we need to do is be ourselves! We can be confident! We can look people in the eye and let them know what God will do for them for free! What will He do?
HE WILL RECONCILE EVERYONE TO HIMSELF THROUGH THEIR FAITH IN JESUS! (See Colossians 1:20-22, 2 Corinthians 5:19).
So today, my friends, know this: You are an ambassador for God, if you believe you are. What Jesus did at the Cross gives you this right! The foundation of your representation is reconciliation. Reconciliation is expressed easily through two things: belief and love. Belief and love are the two requirements to be reconciled with God through Christ. First, believe this truth of His forgiveness for your own sin. Second, embrace the love of the Father through your belief in Jesus Christ. Afterwards, you too have become an ambassador! Welcome!
A prayer for you: Heavenly Father, thank you for teaching me the one true ministry, reconciliation. For so long, I was distracted by stuff that doesn’t matter–and sometimes I still am. But even still, you gently guide me back toward what matters the most, belief and love. I want to thank you for your patience with me as I continue to learn more about representing you properly. I love you, and I’m so happy to be able to do this. Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. So many of them have been distracted by the lies of the enemy and ill-informed Christians. They think they need to force the world to change, and they don’t. That very sentence causes strife in their mind, but that’s because you want them to be purged of such frustrations. There is no pressure on them to be your ambassador, as they simply live life they’ll do it effortlessly–even when it’s difficult. Put their minds at ease by letting them know all they have to do is be themselves. As they do so, you take care of everything! Give them peace today! Give them confidence! Teach them more and more about just HOW reconciled they are with you, because of the Cross! COMPLETELY! As they go deeper into the knowledge of this truth, the easier it will be for them to tell others about it. Sometimes, they’ll even have to use words. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen!
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 3. Get your copy here!