Sometimes I struggle to connect God's dots in the Bible. Too often, I read the Bible according to the chapter and verse breaks that have been instituted by human hands down through the ages the Bible has been translated. I forget that's not how God sees His manuscript. So, while I am slowly making my way through 2 Corinthians, I am beginning to see a panoramic view of a concept God wants me to understand about my role here on earth -- a view not restricted by Chapter limitations. So let me expound...
In 2 Corinthians, Chapter 5, I came across the verses that tell us we are a new creation when we accept Christ as our Savior and join our lives with His. And it all centers around "reconciliation". That's a word that gets thrown around a lot in Christianity, so I wanted to make sure that I understood what it means, since a verse or two later, the Bible tells us we have been given a "ministry of reconciliation" to others. Don't you think it's important we know what that entails?
According to the Greek, this "reconciliation" denotes an adjustment or change by man that brings him back into a restoration of favor with God. In other words, we sinners repent and put our trust in the substitutionary death of Christ. Notice that I said reconciliation denotes a change by man, instead of in man. God doesn't make the change happen in us, but we change and are reconciled, or made "at one", with God. Reconciliation stresses the process of being restored. Therefore, having been given a ministry of reconciliation to others, we are to go forth and share with other sinners that they are alienated from God [by their sin] and what it means to be restored to favor with Him, and all the benefits associated with this process.
So we are ambassadors for
Christ, as though God were making His appeal through us; we [as
Christ’s representatives] plead with you on behalf of Christ to be
reconciled to God. If we are faithful and obedient to please God, our reconciliation will lead to an ambassadorship!
But, I want you to step back with me, and get a wider picture of how God is working through us. Just a couple of chapters prior to this -- in 2 Corinthians 3, to be exact -- we read that we are being transformed from "glory to glory". How does that work? And what does that mean? It all has to do with the work of the Holy Spirit in us! As we make the decision to become reconciled with God through our confession and repentance, we receive the Holy Spirit who begins the process of our restoration, and with that comes a freedom from sin and death. It's as if a dirty veil has been removed from before our eyes; a veil that hid the face of God and His glory from us. Once that veil has been removed from our face, we behold God's glory, and the Holy Spirit begins to transform us into the image of Christ and does the work in us that makes us worthy to be His ambassador/representative.
Scripture tells us that we will move from one level of glory to an even brighter level. Again, what does that look like? As we are transformed into the image of Christ, we begin representing the character and ways of God [just as Jesus did]. And it is the Holy Spirit that is working in us and through us to accomplish these levels of glory [just as He did in Jesus]. The New Living Translation expresses it best: And the Lord—who is the [Holy]Spirit—makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image.
Finally, what should it look like as we engage in our ministry of reconciliation as ambassadors of Christ? Again, the Passion Translation does a good job of expressing how the aspects of our ministry to the world should appear. We should be spreading the Good News of the triumph of Christ and the Kingdom of God over every power of the Kingdom of Darkness. We should be carriers of the fragrant aroma of Christ everywhere we go. We should refuse to water down or compromise the Word of God. We should be living letters written by Christ, not with ink, but by the Spirit of the Living God; living words to be written on tender hearts. We should stress that our ministries are not based on our own clever abilities, but by God's empowering presence in us. We should be imparting Life to those we come in contact with -- sharing Living Water and the Bread of Life. Every ounce of our ministry should flow from the Holy Spirit, and not ourselves. We should impart righteousness to those we minister to. Our ministry should embody a greater glory than religious or man-made laws, resulting in the transformation of lives that reflect Christ in the world.
It's all tied together; connected by dots ... reconciliation leads to an ambassadorship, which results in ever-increasing works that mirror the character and ways of God. It's a picture of being progressively transformed by the Holy Spirit to becoming a mirror image of Christ -- one glory level at a time. In the end, we can stand before the Lord and share in the reaping of the harvest of souls. And because of that, I take my ambassadorship serioiusly! What a glorious day that will be!
Philippians 1:6 [I pray with great faith for you], because I’m fully convinced that the One who began this glorious work in you will faithfully continue the process of maturing you and will put his finishing touches to it until the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ!