I was driving recently and saw a child accidently kick a ball over a school fence. The ball bounced onto the busy road which ran alongside the school, and rolled further and further down the road. The look on the child’s face indicated that he was contemplating on whether he ought to run out of the open gate in order not to lose it. The car immediately in front noticed the danger, indicated and pulled into the left lane. A passenger got out, and threw the ball back over the fence.
In short, the passenger in the vehicle ahead of me prevented a disastrous outcome. In some ways, this is an analogy of what Christians are called to do. Specifically, we are called to reflect Christ by warning people of the inevitable consequence of their sins if they are not found in Christ.
In 2 Corinthians 5:16-21, Paul calls this a ministry of reconciliation, and uses the strong descriptor of “ambassador” to describe the role that Christians are to play in people’s lives. We are to represent Christ in all that we say, do, and think – and more so, we are charged with an important message to tell to others: “We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” (2 Cor 5:20).
Rightly, we are to share the glorious grace of the Gospel — that our sins can be forgiven through trusting on Jesus Christ — but we must also to tell why it is such good news to begin with. Otherwise, we make the Gospel anemic, and don’t reveal just how good it is. After all, we can only understand why it is so good, when we realise just how bad people are in the sight of God.
So as ambassadors of Christ, we are called to convey this message of reconciliation, and to implore individuals to receive it, so that they can be reconciled to God through Christ. But the only way we can effectively do this, is if we actually speak to people. This may sound straightforward, but in reality it can be a really hard thing to do.
But it’s also the most loving thing you can do. Just as that passenger got out of that the vehicle to fetch the ball before that child made a disastrous decision; likewise, we should speak to those in our lives who may be on a similar path. Not only intervening and imploring them to stop, but showing them how their current direction is harmful to their own well-being, and pointing them to the best situation they could ever be in: being reconciled to God.
An ambassador who doesn’t act and speak for his nation’s cause or interests is an ineffective ambassador. We should be insistent ambassadors – and if we truly believe in the eternal condemnation of those outside of Christ – then we can never take such responsibility lightly.
A quote which always reminds me of this importance is by Charles Spurgeon: “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.” Truly, let them leap over our dead bodies.