An ambassador is a diplomatic official of the highest rank sent by one sovereign state to another as its resident representative.  He/She serves as an authorized messenger or representative by transmitting current policy of his/her country to the host country’s government.  In this country ambassadors are appointed by the U. S. President.  They are also the cultural connection between the two countries.  They do not have to know the language of the host country, but that would greatly facilitate the interaction.  Ambassadors live in an Embassy which is usually in the city that houses the government of the host country.  The job is critical and demands quick thinking and good communication, especially during stressful situations.

They are also entrusted with looking after the welfare of U. S. citizens who travel or work in the foreign country.  There are currently 188 U. S. Ambassadors in foreign countries.  They must be very sensitive and tactful to avoid insulting foreign residents and their culture.

Christians are a type of spiritual ambassador.  However, instead of representing a government or President, they are, “Ambassadors for Christ as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2 Cor 5: 20 NAS) Our instructions are not secret, coded documents contained in sealed packets, rather are the pure gospel contained in the New Testament.  Our embassies could be a church building, but might be a hospital, jail, or a park.

As ambassadors for Christ, we must also use polite, tactful yet convincing words to win over outsiders to Him (1 Cor 9: 19) (1 Thes 4: 12).  The Apostle Paul certainly practiced this (in many languages) when talking to Jews and Greeks in the marketplace.  He was able to present the gospel by referencing their objects of worship and then moving on to what all people have in common—the One True God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

In reality Christians have a role greater than any secular Ambassador, Diplomat or President, past, present or future.  In the words of Jesus Christ, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  Rather be afraid of the One who can destroy both body and soul in hell.” (Mt 10: 28)  Also, “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world yet forfeits his soul?  Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul.” (Mat 16: 26) As good ambassadors this is the message we carry to the world on behalf of Christ (2 Cor 5: 20 NAS).

–Jim Bailey