As ambassadors for Christ

2 Corinthians 5--20

The Verse of the Day for January 13, 2016 provides a portrait of believers who are designated as “Ambassadors for Christ,” a telling metaphor that speaks of our responsibility to mediate terms of agreement between two opposing forces. In the same way that we have been reconnected to God through Jesus Christ, we are to stand in the place of Christ, the original reconciler or mediator between God and humanity. The issue of reconciliation or being reconciled is also brought out in Romans 5:10, expressed this way in the Amplified Bible:

10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, it is much more certain, having been reconciled, that we will be saved [from the consequences of sin] by His life [that is, we will be saved because Christ lives today].

To more fully comprehend our rights, privileges, and responsibilities as Ambassadors for Christ, let us examine the familiar passage from 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 which speaks of our being reconciled that we might reconcile others to God:

17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

In this celebrated passage the words “reconcile” or “reconciliation” appear five times, the number of grace. The verb means to change or exchange something. The basic meaning of the noun is “a change on the part of one party only, induced by some action on the part of another.” notes:

Paul is the only New Testament writer to use the noun katallage (reconciliation) and verb katallasso (to reconcile). The basic idea is to change or make otherwise. In Paul’s writings, God is always the reconciler. Those in need of reconciliation are hostile human beings (2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Romans 5:10-11). God, who initiates the relationship, changes a relationship of enmity to one of friendship.

William F. Beck translated 2 Corinthians 5:18 in the following way: “But God has done it all. When we were His enemies, through Christ He made us His friends and gave us the work of making friends of enemies.”

Once we have been reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, we then stand in his place, and reconcile others, in light of the truth that God has committed to every born-again believer the ministry of reconciliation. The reconciled become the reconcilers, and so the exchange goes on. Our designation as “ambassadors for Christ” inspired this poem:

As Ambassadors

31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first
and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him
who comes against him with twenty thousand?

32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation
and asks conditions of peace.

Luke 14:31-32

As Christ, the Lord, implores and calls each soul to be reconciled,
So we beseech you in mercy and stand in his stead,
That mankind might reconnect–no longer exiled.
Just as a great king will send an entourage ahead
Of his army and offer terms of agreement,
Expressing his desire to redeem and restore
With a covenant that shall forever cement
And make known his will, even in times of war,
We see that behind every plan unfolds a process,
Conceived in wisdom long before the world began.
From God’s gracious right hand that shall forever bless
Flows loving favor, expressing His divine plan.
The day is forthcoming when all conflict shall cease,
As ambassadors offer final conditions of peace.

Susan Ashton with Margaret Becker and Christine Dente offer “A Song of Reconciliation” to close this blog entry.

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