What Does Being an Ambassador for Christ Actually Mean?

Christian. Ambassador. Follower of Christ.

We can often say these words without taking the time to think about what they mean. Just like there is lingo that characterizes pop culture, various ethnic cultures, and even generational cultures, there is also a language of the church and Christian culture. Although these terms are an important part of the faith, being that they often describe and represent our beliefs and values, if they are used without continual reminders of their true meaning, then they will lose power and significance.

The Bible only mentions the word “Christian” three times and the word “ambassador” two times. Followers of Jesus were first called “Christians” in the city of Antioch as described in Acts 11:26. This word was coined because it was a clever way for Greeks to describe the followers of Christ in the same way they would call followers of Augustus, Augustinians. What seemed to be rooted in an insult; however, became a great mark of identity in the Church. In Acts 26, as Paul gives his defense to King Agrippa, the King uses the word Christian to describe Paul’s attempt to convert him. In 1 Peter 4:16 (ESV), Peter writes an encouraging statement to those who identify with this title saying, “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.” Despite the negative connotation and baggage that may be attached to the term Christian because of the inevitable impacts of sinful people and an evil world, a true follower of Christ will not be ashamed to embrace, exemplify, and explain what it means to be a Christian.

In order to do this, though, we must ask ourselves, “If Christian means a follower of Jesus, then what does following Jesus look like?” Well, true followers of Jesus are saved by His grace for placing their faith in Him. They know salvation is nothing they could earn on their own, rather it is the free gift of God given to us through His sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection which defeated sin and death on our behalf three days later (Ephesians 2:8–9). True followers love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and then love their neighbors as themselves (Matthew 22:37–39). They love with truth and grace in both word and deed because Jesus loved us in this way first (1 John 3:18, 4:19). True followers seek to obey God because of this great love, and they have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them (John 14:15–17). True followers are made into new creations by the Holy Spirit and, as a result, own the title of “ambassadors” (2 Corinthians 5:15–21).

An ambassador is someone who represents their kingdom in a foreign place. Besides the passage in 2 Corinthians 5 which identifies followers of Christ as ambassadors who implore those around them to believe in Jesus and the gospel, Paul also identifies himself as an ambassador in Ephesians 6:20 saying that he carried out this very mission and ended up in chains for it (Ephesians 6:20). On the most basic level, to be an ambassador for Christ means we take the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:36-40) of loving God and loving others and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19–20) of making disciples seriously. This involves us actually going into our neighborhoods, cities, states, nation, and our world!

“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”—Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV, emphasis added)

This Great Commission is essentially a concise mission statement that Jesus leaves His followers, both present and future, so they may be his ambassadors. It includes four “all” words. Jesus came with all authority, commanded us to make disciples of all nations, told us to teach them all He commanded, with the assurance He would always be with us.

The word “all” used here in the Greek is pas which means, “the whole; everything.” When we look at what Jesus used this word to describe, we get a greater understanding of what this mission truly entails.

  • ALL authority – This means that we no longer have an excuse to not be a part of this commission. Someone with authority will always direct people, and Jesus had all authority which means that His direction and command to us must not be taken lightly. This mission is not optional or saved for those who are specially “called.” This mission is for all of us.
  • ALL nations – This gospel that offers salvation and redemption has no racial or ethnic prejudices. Anyone and everyone can become part of the family of God through accepting Jesus’ gift of salvation. This means we seek to accomplish this mission in all different kinds of places and spaces regardless of the discomfort or difficulty.
  • ALL He has commanded – Becoming a disciple of Christ, a “Christian” as we may refer to it, involves our obedience. This obedience is not selective of what commands are easy or enjoyable; rather, it is all-consuming. Everything Jesus taught, both the nice things and the hard things, must be followed as well!
  • ALWAYS with us – This promise of His constant presence eliminates our fear. We no longer live in bondage to our fear and shame because He goes before us, behind us, and always surrounds us.

Going into our city and truly being a follower and ambassador for Christ means we actually live as the hands and feet of Jesus in every possible way. From volunteering with local shelters or schools, to serving at your local church, to inviting your neighbors over for a meal and fellowship, true Christ followers act on their belief. Like the four all’s the Great Commission shows us, there should be no excuse, favoritism, shortcuts, or fear. True ambassadors get in the story!

About the Author

Samantha Rodriguez

Samy Rodriguez has been serving with the Calvary writing team since 2020 as a senior at Calvary Christian Academy. Before going to study communications, biblical studies, and intercultural studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, she interned with the Calvary Communications Team and was a student leader in HSM (High School Ministry). She is passionate about communicating God’s Word and looks forward to continuing to serve in ministry after college.