I found a very helpful short bible study by Darrell L. Guder at the PCUSA’s website. The study is called “Ambassadors for Christ” and its based upon 2 Corinthians 5.17-21. Guder is one of the most important missiologist in the church today. Anything he pens is worth reading and re-reading, period. Here’s a quote to get you interested in the study;
Seen through the lenses of the gospel, the world is desperately in need of reconciliation. Certainly we would confirm that diagnosis—the news reported in any daily paper would document humanity’s need to be reconciled. But the human diagnosis will not identify the problem as our need to be reconciled with God. We focus upon the brutal divisions that make nations, tribes, religions, and cultures into each other’s deadly enemies. We struggle to find human resources to bring about the reconciliation for which we all long. The gospel defines creation’s distress as the result of our separation from God. It is not merely a matter of human resources but of divine intervention. So, the gospel announces that God has intervened. Our separation from God and each other has been overcome, the chasm bridged, the opposing factions brought together. Our message starts with the assurance that in Christ there already is a new creation. The work of reconciliation was accomplished at Calvary, Easter, and Ascension Day. Thus, our calling to the role of ambassadors is a consequence of what God has already done. As ambassadors, we are called into royal service, to bear this wonderful message to the world: your distress has been resolved, your rebellion overcome, your separation ended. Nothing more needs to be done before the reconciliation can take place—except that we should accept and receive the gift of forgiveness and healing that seal our reconciliation. The unlikely ambassadors who make up the church of Jesus Christ are sent out to the world to make plain that God has transformed our plight on the cross of Jesus. We are to invite the world to receive what is already available and to claim what is already true. Of course, this means that the church itself must live out this wonderful reconciliation in every dimension of its life. So the call to be reconciled is still addressed to the church as well, so that we can embark upon the embassy to the world that is our calling: “Be reconciled to God” (5:20).
Click here to download the study in PDF form: Ambassadors for Christ.
(Photographic art by pbo31, piece entitled “Ambassador Hotel”)