We are all defined by something or someone. Maybe we define ourselves by our job or maybe by our family name. However we define ourselves, this definition often determines much of our lives. Therefore, one of the most important questions anyone can ask us is “Who are you?”
One of the beautiful things about the Christian faith is that we are not just called out of something but into something. The old is not just gone but the new has come. Check out how Paul of Tarsus puts this in 2 Corinthians 5:
From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 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. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Do you see that key idea coming through in this passage? There is a newness to life and identity that marks the follower of Jesus. She is in Christ and not simply called out of the world. Most of the world religions call their adherents “out-of” whereas Christianity calls people “in-to”. This means that we must begin to get our minds around who we are as followers of Jesus. Paul gives us a glimpse. He says, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ”, don’t miss that. As a follower of Jesus you have a role and responsibility in this world. You are Jesus’ representative. An ambassador speaks on behalf of another with authority. Your words and life matter because you are an ambassador for Jesus and you speak and live with his authority.
Here are some questions to help you evaluate and ponder this reality a bit:
- Read through Matthew 9:9-13. What does Jesus say about people? Are you living out the reality of the physician in a broken world? In other words, who do you spend time with? Are you ever around people who don’t know Jesus or are you always surrounded by Christians?
- How often do you pray for people? Not just “I will pray for you” but you really pray for people?
- When was the last time you talked with someone about Jesus?
- When you see “sinners” what is your heart attitude about them? Do you think their stupid, annoying, mean, evil, just “bad people” or do you think of them with empathy and compassion?