“GOD was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself.”
The great trouble with men is that they have gone away from God, and have become enemies in their minds by wicked works.
They have gone so far away that they have lost sight of God; their minds have become so confused that they have forgotten him; their eyes have become so blinded that they cannot see him; their hearts have become so perverse that they cannot discern him even though they be standing in his very presence.
“There is none righteous, no not one. There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips. Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood: destruction and misery are in their ways, and the way of peace have they not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
This is the kind of world that God had, and has yet, to deal with. Yet in Jesus Christ he came and dwelt among men to reconcile the world unto himself. He sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He made peace through the blood of his cross that he might reconcile all things unto himself. And you that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable [sic.] and unreprovable in his sight.
Thus to a world steeped in sin, God brought reconciliation: with a world overwhelmed with rebellion he made peace. To the people of this world, God send neither condemnation nor antagonism, but peace and reconciliation only.
In Jesus Christ is this peace and reconciliation given to the world. All who truly receive Christ truly receive this peace and reconciliation. And every one who receives this peace becomes a peacemaker in the world and to the world—he preaches only peace, peace to all, by Jesus Christ. Every one who receives this reconciliation, in it and with it receives also the ministry of reconciliation—he antagonizes nobody, he condemns nobody, he ministers reconciliation to all, he persuades men to be reconciled to God.
“All things are of God who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation. To wit: that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”
“So 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.” Thus every Christian is an ambassador for Christ to the world: he is an ambassador of peace, an ambassador of reconciliation. No Christian is ever an ambassador of condemnation, of legislation, nor of law: every Christian is an ambassador of salvation, not condemnation; of justification, not legislation; of gospel, not the law.
Every Christian preaches peace by Jesus Christ; for he is our peace and Lord of all. To the Christian is committed no ministry but the ministry of reconciliation. To him is committed no word but the word of reconciliation. No Christian has anything to do with governing or managing men: his business is solely to serve the Lord, to beseech other men to be reconciled to God, and to persuade them to serve the Lord.
The bane of Christianity, and the curse of the world, ever since the days of the apostles, has been the consuming desire of professed Christians to “boss” other people and to control and run the world. But God did not send Jesus Christ on any such mission as that, nor has he ever sent any Christian on any such mission. For “as he is, so are we in this world.”
“We have seen and do testify that God sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world.” And he never attempted  to save anybody by superintending the police, by running the politics of cities, by regulating the affairs of the State, nor by any other worldly means or method. He sought to save men only by spreading the knowledge of God and winning men to God. He did it only by ever revealing to men the Fatherly love and care of God for all mankind. When he found himself obliged to tell the scribes, the pharisees, and the lawyers, that they were hypocrites, it was not done in a spirit of denunciation: but rather with sorrow that such was the truth and that he was obliged to state it.
It is eternal life to know God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent. God desires that all men shall have eternal life. And as nothing but the knowledge of God can bring eternal life, the Lord Jesus came into the world to give to men the knowledge of God. This was his sole mission to the world. To this one thing all the faculties and energies of his whole being were devoted.
This is the sole mission of Christians in the world. Men need the knowledge of God to-day as much as when Jesus was in the world. Yet Jesus is not now in the world as he was then. But believers in him are here in his stead. These are sent as was he. And as he is so are we in this world.
Christians are sent, as verily as was Jesus, to be the saviours of the world—not of themselves nor by themselves, but of God and by God. Jesus said of himself, “I can of mine own self do nothing.” He did not come to save men of himself and by himself: he came to save the world by bringing and revealing to men the knowledge of God. So likewise Christians are not sent to save men of themselves nor by themselves, not by any plans or methods of their own; but by bringing to men and holding before the world the knowledge of God.
This is the only mission, the sole purpose of existence of Christians in the world. To this one thing all their faculties and energies are devoted. And wherein any Christian comes short of this, so much he fails of being the Christian that Christ has sent him to be in the world. Here is the Lord’s design for every believer: “Now thanks be unto God who always causeth us to triumph, and maketh manifest the savor of his knowledge by us in every place.”
Thus the purpose of existence of the Christian in the world, is to glorify God, to make manifest the knowledge of God in every place, and so to bring to men eternal life. And every sincere Christian shuns, as he would a viper, anything and everything that would tend in the least degree to exalt itself against the knowledge of God. He brings every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, in whose stead he is in the world. The only person whom he ever has any ambition or desire to control, is himself. The only rulership he ever cares for is that over his own spirit. The only power that he ever chooses to exercise over flesh, is power over his own flesh.
This is Christianity—the Christianity of Christ. These are Christians, for they are like Jesus. God is seeking for such. The world needs such, that it may find the knowledge of God and Jesus whom he sent, and may find eternal life.