“So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” —2 Corinthians 5:20
Our country is in the midst of a transition from one presidential administration to another. When a new administration comes in, the new president generally replaces the country’s ambassadors in embassies around the world. Even if an ambassador has done a perfectly fine job under the preceding administration, he or she is usually replaced. And this makes a lot of sense, because, in addition to representing the United States as a whole in a foreign capital (an ambassador’s most important responsibility), an ambassador also must be seen more specifically to speak for the president her or she serves. If a foreign government doubts that an ambassador truly represents the views and priorities of the current president, there’s little point in having him or her hold conversations on significant issues with that foreign government. The ambassador must represent the country and the administration he or she serves in order to serve effectively.
In today’s verse, the apostle Paul reminded the Christian community in Corinth that they were ambassadors for Christ. They belonged to the kingdom of God and represented God as they engaged with people who didn’t yet embrace the merciful love of Jesus. In fact, God was making his appeal to those people directly through these ambassadors.
When we remember that this same idea applies to us—that God is making his appeal to our neighbors and family and friends and coworkers and communities through us—the words ought to stick in our throats a bit. It’s an awesome responsibility.
And because this is such significant work, our relationships with God must be in order. An ambassador must be able to represent an administration and country he or she serves. This is why we (generally) don’t have ambassadors who are fugitives from the law or known traitors. Our natural state as human beings is rebellion against God’s reign, but in Christ we are invited to embrace that God has set things right, has rehabilitated us, has reconciled us to God’s kingdom. We must choose to embrace that reconciliation, to thank God for his grace, and to commit ourselves to his Lordship. It is only then—when we are well and truly reconciled not just in reality but in our own hearts—that we can serve as loyal ambassadors of the one true King.