“Therefore, we 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 Corinthians 5:20
Paul & Timothy identify themselves as “ambassadors for Christ”; the Greek word used for “ambassador” is also used for an old man or an elder (in age, perhaps maturity, etc.). One would expect an older person to appeal to or beg a younger person, but you would also expect that of an ambassador. Think of it: A king seeks to make peace with a straying or rebellious people, but how? He would send an ambassador to proclaim his intentions, offer his peace, and, yes, to urge the people to be reconciled to the king. This is how Paul & Timothy describe themselves and their mission; they are ambassadors for Christ, begging the Corinthians (as though it were the King Himself) to be reconciled to God on Christ’s behalf.
It is interesting that this passage is found in the middle of Paul & Timothy’s second letter (some believe it is actually the fourth letter mentioned in Scripture) to the Corinthians. Why is it interesting? It is interesting that Paul & Timothy are using this language to appeal to people who are supposedly (or are) already in a relationship with God through Christ. It would perhaps make more sense in our perspective to address heathen pagans with such a message of reconciliation; yet, the greater context of the section is calling the Corinthian church to a deeper level of intimacy, holiness, and single-minded devotion to Christ.
As you journey farther into this letter, you see that the attention of the Corinthian church is split; instead of whole-hearted surrender to and unity with Christ (that ought to/does mark the life of a believer), they were trying to live in an idolatrous position – sharing their devotion to Christ with other things/themselves. This is perhaps the reason why Paul & Timothy here are calling the Corinthians to be reconciled to God; anytime anything gets in the middle of our relationship with God, we are far off from Him and in need of reconciliation. PRAISE THE LORD that He is gracious towards us and jealous of His relationship with us!
Are you in need of reconciliation? Listen! God desires you and your love and has done (and will do) everything necessary for complete and intimate reconciliation. Will you and I draw near to Him? Or will we allow ourselves and our desires to compete with His love? As an ambassador for Christ, and as though God Himself were pleading with you, I beg you on behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God!