Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Paging the Ambassador

I was reading the other day in 2 Corinthians, and verse 20 in chapter 5 really caught my eye and got me thinking.  It reads:  "Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God." (NKJV).  The New Living Translation reads even better:  "So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, 'Come back to God!'”

So what exactly is an ambassador?  I looked it up at the Merriam-Webster Dictionary website and definition 2 A fits the above verse perfectly.  The definition is:  "an authorized representative or messenger."  Only a Christian can be an ambassador for Christ.  A non-believer in Christ does not qualify.

Definition number 1 listed for ambassador on the Merriam-Webster listing gives the definition of an ambassador in civil or governmental terms:  "an official envoy; especially : a diplomatic agent of the highest rank accredited to a foreign government or sovereign as the resident representative of his or her own government or sovereign or appointed for a special and often temporary diplomatic assignment."  The difference in our ambassadorship for Christ is that our diplomatic assignment is permanent, unless we backslide and move away from Christ.

Philippians 3:20 states that our citizenship is in Heaven.  "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. ." We are ambassadors of heaven, and the King we represent is Jesus.  So both Merriam-Webster definitions of "ambassador" fit. 

So how do we become good ambassadors?  Let's look at some Scriptures.  Colossians 3:12-17 (NLT) says:  "Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father." (emphasis added)

By putting on Christ in our daily actions and words, we are His ambassadors - or representatives - in the world.  Colossians 4:5-6 further states:  "Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone."  We are called to be ambassadors of Christ to not only our fellow Christians, but unbelievers as well.  It is said that we are often the only Jesus that some folks see.  So take a look at your attitude and demeanor and purpose to show to the world and to fellow Christians that you are an ambassador of Christ.