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Christian Ambassadors Have Diplomatic Immunity
For sin will have no “dominion” over you, since you are “not under law” but under grace. Rom 6:14 ESV
Virtually all Christians agree we are saved by grace through faith alone. Yet there is a long-standing debate about the meaning of the phrase “not under law” found in many verses. (Rom 3:19, Rom 6:14-15, 1 Cor 9:20-21, Gal 3:23-25, Gal 5:18, Gal 4:5, Gal 4:21, Acts 13:39). Some argue that the law is done away with for Christians while others argue that the law still applies. While many think these two groups will never agree, could it be that the actual truth is right in their midst? I believe the following allegory can help.
When an ambassador represents their country and its leader in a foreign land, it is a well-known fact that they are NOT under the dominion or authority of the law of the foreign host. The laws of the host country exist as always to protect the population from each other's fallen nature, but ambassadors have diplomatic immunity assigned to them.
“The purpose of these privileges and immunities is not to benefit individuals but to ensure the efficient and effective performance of their official missions on behalf of their governments.” http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/150546.pdf
This undeserved favor is not based on their person and covers the ambassador all the way from jaywalking to murder. It is assigned by their home country solely due to the position they hold. Diplomatic immunity is reciprocal between countries and thus both countries benefit. This immunity means that if they do break the law, they cannot be criminally prosecuted by their host country. No matter what the crime, the worst thing that happens is deportation. This immunity is provided to give the ambassador “safe passage’ so they can perform their mission in the host country.
This truth does not give the ambassador a license to break the law at will. After all, they are entrusted to do a job and represent their home country in the best way possible. If they do act in a deplorable manner and commit heinous crimes in their host country, it hurts and offends the residents of the host country. Thus reflecting poorly on their home country and its leader who appointed them as ambassador. Transgressing the law in their host country is the complete opposite of how they are supposed to act.
Jesus Kingdom is Not of This World
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”John 18:36 ESV
A Christians Diplomatic Immunity
God first forgives and imputes his righteousness (Gen 15:16, Rom 4:5, 9:30) to those who believe God and therefore trust in Jesus. At that point, a Christian is no longer of this world, just in this world. God’s kingdom is now our home.
Like Jesus, Christians are Not of This World
I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. John 17:14,16
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, Phil 3:20 ESV
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, Eph 2:19 ESV
Christians are Ambassadors of God’s Kingdom to This World
Then instead of immediately removing the now saved believer from this fallen world, he appoints believers as ambassadors for his kingdom.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 2 Cor 5:20 ESV
and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. Eph 6:19-20 ESV
Jesus Prays for and Protects His Ambassadors
Jesus prays to the Father in John 17 that we would stay here to make God the Father and the Son known. He also lovingly prays for our protection from the evil one. As his ambassadors, he prays that we will never again come under any condemnation (John 3:17-18, Rom 8:1). Satan, the ruler of this world (John 14:30), used the law to condemn us.
I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. John 17:15
Satan’s power against mankind came from the law. Sin has no power to condemn those who are not under the law but under grace.
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 1 Cor 15:56 ESV
by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities Col 2:14-15a
God the Father answers Jesus prayer to keep us from the evil one by removing satan’s weapon against us, the law. God forgives us and then places us under grace where sin has no power to condemn us, where sin is not counted against us. In essence, as residents of God’s kingdom, he provides us with diplomatic immunity (grace) from prosecution while we are on our mission to make him known.
Sin is Not Counted Against a Person Who is Under Grace
For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. Rom 6:14 ESV
…sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Rom 5:13 ESV
For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. Rom 4:15 ESV
…For apart from the law, sin lies dead. Rom 7:8b
So we see the truth in the midst of the long-standing argument about the law.
If the law no longer existed, there would be no need for grace.
So the fact is, God's law still exists, but Christians have been placed under grace. We have been given diplomatic immunity so we will have “safe passage” in this world to complete our mission as ambassadors for God’s kingdom.
Now just like the ambassadors of this world, this does not mean we should willfully do what the law tells us not to do. We need to remember why we are still here. We have been appointed by God to represent him and his kingdom in a manner that will lead the lost to believe and trust Jesus. If we lie, cheat, steal and offend those who are lost, this will not lead anyone to believe in and trust Jesus. We need to love them and show them the same grace we have been shown, always pointing them to Jesus and his kingdom.
Many more articles by Michael on grace and the new covenant HERE.
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