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September 12, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.”—2 Corinthians 5:20
We are called to be Christ’s ambassadors on earth.
What does that mean? What’s an ambassador? Here’s what the dictionary says it is. The word ambassador means: An official representative. We all pretty much know that. When we hear that, we think of the government. I think of the United Nations, of an embassy. I think of people from all these different countries and parts of the world coming together to represent their country, to make sure that their leader and their people are being represented the right way.
Being an ambassador is a huge responsibility. There is a ton of expectation that comes along with it. But there’s also a huge demonstration of trust and belief in it, too. Imagine if the president of the United States said to you, “Hey, I’m going to send you to this meeting where every country in the world is going to be there, and you need to show them why our country is great, you need to be this example of hope, freedom, and opportunity, this example of truth and justice.
It’s a huge responsibility, right? But the very fact that he’s asking you shows that he trusts you, out of everyone in the country, to be able and equipped to do the job. He believes in you that you can represent him and our country the best way possible.
Being an ambassador is being an official representative. So being Christ’s ambassador means being an official representative of heaven and its King, the Lord God. But there’s a second definition, and that’s the one I really found interesting and profound for us. It says an ambassador is a person who can deal with people in a sensitive and effective way.
Now, when you combine those two, you really see what Paul was talking about in 2 Corinthians. He said, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.”
The part that I find so powerful and interesting is that it says that we’re His representatives, as if God Himself, as if the Lord was in the flesh, representing Himself.
We’re called to represent Jesus the same way He did actually represent Himself when He walked among us. We’re called to represent Jesus the way Jesus represents us before His Father. Think about that for a second. We are called to represent Christ to the people in this world the way the Christ represents us before the Father.
Romans 8:33–34 says, “Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.”
Jesus is sitting next to the Father representing us like a lawyer represents a client. He is making a case for us, using His holiness and His righteousness, saying we are His, and He’s paid for our debt.
And just like Jesus represents us to the Father, just like Jesus represented Himself to us when He was on earth, that’s how we need to represent Him to the people in our world, to our friends, our neighbors, our teachers, our classmates, the waiter or waitress at the restaurant, the customer service rep from Direct TV when we call to complain, the homeless man asking for money, the person who is mean to us, the bully, the gay person who hates Christians . . . we are called to represent Jesus to that person with love, compassion, grace, peace, forgiveness, kindness, gentleness, and truth.
The problem so often is that Christians don’t endeavor to be His ambassadors. Instead, we feel it’s our job to be the world’s doctors, diagnosing everyone’s problems and pointing them out to them. We make it a habit to tell nonbelievers why their wrong, why they need to change, that they’re going to hell. But that’s not our job! Our job is to point people to Jesus, because guess what? We may act like the doctor, but we have no real power to fix their problem, to heal their ailment (their sinfulness), only Jesus can! We should do everything we can to point people to Him, with our actions, with our attitude, with our words, in our interactions. We should treat them as He would, with compassion, grace, and love. Don’t try to fix them from the outside in, point them to Jesus, who can restore and renew them from the inside out.
Listen, the sad, horrible fact is that nonbelievers are going to hell. This thought keeps me up at night sometimes, and it should. It makes me sick to my stomach. And God has commissioned me to show them the love of Christ, so that they may come to know Him and be saved. This can only be accomplished through love!
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.