"Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God" (II Corinthians 5:20).
We, as emissaries of God, must be about the business of imploring people to "be reconciled to God," for God "hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ" (v. 18) and has a desire to see many others likewise reconciled.
Paul tells us that God "hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation" (v. 18) and "committed unto us the word of reconciliation" (v.19). What is the difference?
In the first case, the word ministry is translated from the Greek word which means service. The right to serve is given to us by God, just as a gift is given. Prior to this passage, we are taught the "ministry" (4:1) which we have is, in reality, a "treasure in earthen vessels" (4:7). We always should remember that God does not need us to do His will, but that in His grace He has chosen to use us in various ways.
In the second case, the teaching is different, for it is the magnificent word (Greek, logos) being dealt with. Christ is referred to as "the word" (John 1:1). The "word of God is quick |alive|" (Hebrews 4:12), and through it we are "born again" (I Peter 1:23). A study of this theme demands that the logos is no less than the eternal word of God--that aspect of the tri-une Godhead which communicates directly to man, whether written or incarnate. Here it is the "word of reconciliation" (II Corinthians 5:19) which is committed to us.
The verb "commit" literally means "to place," and implies a deep and important trust, a wholehearted commitment. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down |same verb| his life for his friends" (John 15:13).
The word has been carefully placed in our trust, to guard, believe, and to apply. The privilege of sharing it with others is a rich and gracious gift. JDM