Question: "What does it mean to be an ambassador for Christ?"
Answer: In a letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul discusses the ministry of reconciliation, and he uses the term “ambassadors” for Christ: “All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us” (2 Corinthians 5:18-20, emphasis added).
Generally speaking, an ambassador is a respected official acting as a representative of a nation. Sent to a foreign land, the ambassador’s role is to reflect the official position of the sovereign body that gave him authority. Writing to the Corinthians, Paul likens his own calling to that of an ambassador, and he urges all Christians to consider themselves ambassadors for Christ. The gospel of reconciliation was always at the heart of Paul’s preaching: “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel” (1 Corinthians 1:17).
Our reconciliation with God is possible only because Christ went to the cross and received the punishment due for our sin. When our Savior cried out, “It is finished,” the barrier between sinful man and Holy God was removed, making all those who trust in Him “holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation” (Colossians 1:22). Our reconciliation is based on the salvation Jesus provides, and it is accepted by faith (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9).
Christians are God’s ambassadors in that they have been “approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel” (1 Thessalonians 2:4). As we go through this world, we represent another Kingdom (John 18:36), and it is our responsibility to reflect the “official position” of heaven. We are in this world, but not of it (John 17:16). God’s ambassadors are to be “as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). Empowered by the Holy Spirit, we must take the message of our King to the “ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8), imploring men and women everywhere to be reconciled to God.