We are foreigners with a message of utmost importance; a message that can save the very lives of the people to whom we have been sent. We are not a comfortable people with a “personal belief” that can stay locked up in our own minds. Rather, we are a delegation of important ambassadors sent to diplomatically engage with a dying world.
“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:18-20).
We have been reconciled to God in order to bring this message of reconciliation to the world. There are three important aspects to what it means to be an ambassador entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation.inflatables
An Ambassador of Christ is a Foreigner
As a Christian we become entirely new creations. “Old things have passed away all has become new” (2 Cor. 5:17). So, as Christians, our nature is fundamentally transformed. We are foreigners whose citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20). Unfortunately foreign diplomats aren’t always well received, right? Just think about how Jesus was treated. When speaking to His disciples He said:
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“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15: 18-19).
Repentance can be confusing. Is it to be simply be sorry for sin? To try harder next time? To never sin again? The Bible is clear on the importance of repentance (Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30). So, it is crucial to know what repentance is and what it looks like.
Essentially, to repent is to turn away from sin and to turn to God and trust in the gospel. It involves the altering of both the inward emotions of the mind and heart and the outward actions of the body. There are many vital elements in repentance, and throughout the Bible we see a clear picture of repentance.
Recognition of Sin
“For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight” (Psalm 51:3-4).
When you realize you are a sinner and you see your need for a Savior, you’ll then come to the point of recognizing your sin. This is to confess your sin to God and ask for forgiveness. To recognize and confess your sin is to do what David did in Psalm 51: admit that you sinned against God and agree with Him that you are guilty. In addition to recognizing your sin, you are to also recognize the remedy for it—the cross of Jesus Christ.
Remorse for Sin
“As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death” (2 Corinthians 7:9-10).
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In repentance, Paul says that godly grief should occur. To have godly grief is to have remorse for sin, which is to show deep sorrow and regret over sinning against God. When this occurs, you will be “grieved into repenting.” And because it is a godly grief—a grief that doesn’t just acknowledge wrongdoing, but also admits crime and offense against God—it produces repentance that leads to salvation, for it leads to a confession of sin and an acceptance of the gospel. Remorse for sin is sour, but it leads to the sweetness of the gospel.
“Till sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet.” – Thomas Watson