We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. (2 Cor. 5:20)
It is written, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.” Why? Because if those Jesus has purchased with His own blood have nothing good to say about Him, then the rocks will cry out in praise. God desires a testimony, and He is asking us to be His living witnesses.
God’s main assignment to every believer is to go into the world as His witness. Jesus’ final exhortation before He ascended was, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8 KJV).
As God’s ambassadors, we have to work our way outward. We start from where we are and press outward to wherever He wants us to be. To do this, we must be available to Him. The Lord will test us to see whether we are willing, because He has no use for an unwilling servant. Those of us who have every spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph. 1:3) must be ready to give an answer for the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15) to anyone who asks. We should do it with grace, seasoned with salt (Col. 4:5,6).
Paul gets down to the heart of the matter in 2 Corinthians 5 (vv. 11,14,17–21) when he shares that we have both a ministry and a word of reconciliation. God is in the reconciliation business, and He wants us to be involved. In this section of scripture, we find that both the terror and the love of Christ should constrain us to persuade people for His truth. It is here that God reveals that we act as though we were ambassadors for Christ, as if God were making His appeal through us for others to be reconciled to God.
We know from our own lives the benefits of doing this, but it cannot be forced or imposed on others. In order for people to grasp it, they must hear, see, and understand this great news for themselves. This means seeing it, hearing it, and watching it lived out in us. We are God’s representatives to a lost world. Our behavior and how we carry ourselves reflect on the person we represent—God. So our actions are important, and more people are watching and scrutinizing us than we might think.
Many readers can attest to the fact that, over the years, they have found out that people were watching them, even when they did not know anyone was paying attention, or even that anyone was there at all. Our actions can make a big difference, positively or negatively, in someone’s perception of God. One famous evangelist once said that the world has yet to see what God can do through one man who was wholly yielded to Him. An Old Testament scripture puts it this way: “The eyes of the Lord roam to and fro looking for those whose hearts are perfect toward Him” (2 Chron. 16:9). God is looking for people to witness to the truth, people willing to sacrifice.
Most Christians are familiar with the term “martyr.” Translated, it literally means, “witness.” We normally think of a martyr as someone who lays down his or her life for the gospel, but God is also interested in living martyrs. Living martyrs are those who are willing to lay down their own needs, desires, and goals in order to accomplish His purposes, even at great personal cost.
Believe me, dear saint of the Most High God, this kind of sacrifice hurts. It is very difficult to lay down the things that are close to us in order to serve the things of God. By definition, sacrifice costs us something. What are you willing to give up in order to serve God?
Corrie Ten Boom was an example of a living martyr. Her family, providentially placed in German-occupied Holland during World War II, was strategically hiding Jews to deliver them from the Nazis’ persecution. The risk was great, but their sense of responsibility was greater. This family made a great sacrifice. They were caught, and the whole family was split up and put into concentration camps. Corrie ended up with her sister, who grew ill and died in the camp. But before she died, Corrie’s sister ministered to and strengthened Corrie to enable her to represent the Lord, even in the midst of suffering.
By God’s grace, Corrie rose to the occasion and was mightily used by God. She learned to be a living martyr, which may be even more difficult than being a martyr who goes to the death. Either way, whether we live or die, we are committed to being witnesses for God. There are many believers today, especially in the Middle and Near East, who are killed for their faith. There are also many believers who are sick in the body, but still lift up the name of the Lord and give Him glory. When we can praise the Lord’s goodness, mercy, and love, even in the midst of suffering, there is no more powerful testimony.
So it is of the utmost importance that we commit ourselves to this spiritual identity of being ambassadors for Christ.