Why are true Christians called ambassadors for Christ?
First of all, what is an ambassador?
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines an ambassador as follows: “The highest-ranking person who represents his or her own government while living in another country.” Another definition is “an accredited diplomat sent by a state as its permanent representative in a foreign country.” In another way, an ambassador can be “a representative or promoter of a specified activity.”
Let us look at some of the requirements of a diplomatic ambassador who is domiciled in a foreign country, as they are sometimes listed, and compare them to the requirements of Spirit-begotten members of the Family of God. We understand, of course, that in far-too-many cases, these requirements for an ambassador in a foreign country are not present or manifested by him or her, but these are the requirements an ambassador should have, and which we as Christians must have or develop.
In 2 Corinthians 5:20, we read that we are to be ambassadors for Christ: “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.”
We will see that there are many comparisons with the job function and responsibilities of a career ambassador and that of a Christian who is an ambassador for Christ.
- To be selected in the first place, an ambassador must possess politeness, courtesy, hospitality and other skills that will help him in the execution of his important duties.
A Christian must also possess these qualities in order to be the example that he should be. In Matthew 5:16, we read “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
1 Timothy 3:1-7 speaks about such qualities and while this is about the qualifications of an Elder, the same qualities are just as relevant to members who haven’t been ordained: “This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop he desires a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”
In Colossians 3:13, discussing the character of the new man, we read “bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”
- An Ambassador is a representative in a foreign land for his own country.
An ambassador is not to reflect the will of his people at home, nor of the people where he resides, but he reflects his government’s stance.
We are not to reflect the will of the people or governments and other high ranking officials in society, but to practice the Way and Will of God at the core of our lives. We read in John 18:36: “Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.’”
When Jesus was praying for His disciples just before His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, He said: “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” They were representatives of the coming Kingdom of God in the world which is a foreign environment run by Satan, “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). We read in Colossians 1:13: “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.”
John 17:16 Jesus prayed for His disciples then and by extension to His disciples down through the ages, when He said: “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” While we are in this society, its way of conducting itself is far removed from God’s Way and, therefore, we must reject the way of the society which we live in.
- An ambassador is trustworthy and sets an example for his country by his demeanour, personality, skills and training.
True Christians have been called by God and given a task to do. In 1 Thessalonians 2:4, we read: “But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.”
Matthew 10:16 says: “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” We should be trustworthy with the Word of God and with our dealings with other people. In a world where there is little trust and much compromise, it is important that we have and display this quality. In Proverbs 11:13, we read: “A talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.” In other words, those who have a faithful spirit are trustworthy.
In Colossians 4:5-6 we read further instructions as to how we are to comfort ourselves: “Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”
- An ambassador must have diplomatic skills, including not being offended or causing offence.
In 1 Corinthians 13:5, which is a chapter devoted to Christian love, we read: “(Love) does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil.” This quality of not being offensive is spoken about in 2 Corinthians 6:3: “We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed.”
Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 states: “Do not take to heart everything people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. For many times, also, your own heart has known that even you have cursed others.”
We live in a time when many are easily offended; in fact, some seem to be just waiting to be offended which is a trait that a Christian must not succumb to, as Philippians 1:9-11 explains: “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”
We know what it will be like at the end of the age: “…then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another” (Matthew 24:10), and so we have been warned!
- An ambassador must be humble, acting as a servant and spokesperson, articulating his country’s position in any given situation.
As an ambassador articulating his own country’s stance, Christians must do likewise. We read in Acts 1:8: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Today, the Church of God has a commission to preach the gospel as it was prophesied to occur in Matthew 24:14: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”
In 2 Timothy 2:15, the apostle Paul writes: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” A few verses on in 2 Timothy 2:24-26, we read “And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.” The qualities required of Christians are clearly set out here.
- An ambassador does not give his own opinions, but that of his native country.
Before conversion, we may have had many ideas that were false and not in line with our subsequent calling. In 1 Peter 3:15, we read that we must now speak of the things of God; not, what our opinion is on any given matter: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.”
Even Jesus Christ said that it was the Father who did the works in and through Jesus, as we read in John 14:10: “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.” There were no personal opinions spilling over into Christ’s speech.
In Ephesians 6:20, we read: “…for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” Paul spoke boldly as we see in many passages of Scripture and it was always about the Way of God. As we know, “the Way,” meaning the Christian Way of Life, is spoken of in Acts 19:9; 19:23; 22:4; 24:14 and 24:22.
- An ambassador doesn’t vote in the country he lives in.
The subject of voting has been covered many times, and quoting very briefly from our Q&A on this matter will clearly show that as an ambassador does not vote in the country in which he represents his own nation, we, likewise, are not to vote for reasons as explained below. This Q&A can be accessed on our website as follows: http://www.eternalgod.org/why-we-must-not-vote-in-governmental-elections/:
“To be blunt, voting in governmental, national and presidential elections violates God’s plan for true Christians and constitutes a grave sin. It manifests the absence of faith in God; reveals a complete lack of understanding as to what the role of a true Christian is today; and shows utter ignorance as to who is ruling this world…
“We believe that a Christian’s duty to God is of a superior and higher nature than our duty arising from any human relationship (Acts 4:18-20; 5:27-29). We therefore, following Biblical commands and principles, do not participate in voting for national elections or jury duty, and we do not join the military…
“The Bible is very clear: We are SINNING if we judge in jury duty services or vote in national elections, while forgetting our true responsibility of being AMBASSADORS for Christ and the coming Kingdom of God. Once God rules on earth, there will be NO MORE VOTING in political campaigns. For true Christians, there must be no voting today.”
As one commentator wisely wrote: “Our chief influence in the world is to be through prayer, not the ballot box.”
- An ambassador is not involved in the politics of the country he lives in.
In Philippians 3:20, we read: “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Like ambassadors of a foreign country, we cannot get involved in political affairs, nor should we want to, as this could easily be a distraction from our goal of becoming a born-again member of the Family of God.
We read in John 15:18-19: “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” Jesus Christ was telling His disciples that they (and we today) are not of this world (society) and don’t get involved in its affairs.
Two more Scriptures are worth mentioning in respect of us not getting involved in this world and its politics.
1 John 2:15-17 says: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”
2 Timothy 2:24-26 reads: “And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”
One commentator wrote: “The political world is openly antagonistic to Christian principles and is riddled with humanist thinking. There are no Scriptures to indicate that the Christian should attempt to influence things for good through political processes and activities.”
Let us finish by quoting from Mr. Herbert W Armstrong’s article “How Would Jesus Vote for President?,” which was published in the October-November 1984 issue of the “Good News” magazine, beginning on page 3 (This is also quoted more fully in our free booklet, “Should You Fight in War?):
“This is not a world of God’s making. This is SATAN’S world! Satan is the invisible god of this world. He is the author of its organization, its basic philosophies, its systems of government, business, society – yes, and RELIGIONS! This thing we boast of as CIVILIZATION is, in actual fact, Satan’s handiwork, not God’s! Strange as it may seem, that is true! All nations – not just the heathen powers, but all nations, including ours – are DECEIVED, swayed, led, by Satan (Revelation 12:9, 18:3, 20:2-3). The Bible speaks of this world as `this present EVIL WORLD’ (Galatians 1:4, AV) … No, Jesus did not enter into THIS WORLD’S politics! He called His disciples out of this present evil world – out of all its customs and philosophies and ways – to live a life of SEPARATION from the world…
“Thus Jesus’ disciples live in this present evil world as though they were foreigners, here merely as the guests of the nation where they reside, as AMBASSADORS for Christ and His coming Kingdom, not of any of this world’s governments … [Foreign ambassadors do not involve themselves in] making their state [where they live] a better state, or voting, or entering their army or fighting for their cause … [T]he true Christian is one who follows Christ, and Christ did not vote! Jesus did not try to reform Caesar … He preached the doctrine of a radically different world to come … This is Satan’s world and Jesus Christ did not come to reform Satan or improve Satan’s handiwork, but to save His followers from Satan and his system. Since God’s Kingdom is not literally set up as yet, the true Christian’s citizenship is now reserved in heaven (I Peter 1:4, Ephesians 2:19) …”
We are ambassadors for Christ in the truest and fullest sense of the words. Let us behave as such in order to become immortal God beings in His very Family.
Lead Writer: Brian Gale (United Kingdom)