20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.
as though God were pleading through us:
God makes His appeal through Paul’s gospel team.
we implore you on
Notice that the word “you” is italicized, meaning that it is not in the Greek text. The idea is that Paul’s team implored people on Christ’s behalf, not the Corinthian church. To implore is to persuade, not badger.
Christ’s behalf [in Christ’s stead],
Paul’s team implored the Corinthian church to reconcile with God on behalf of Christ. Christians represent Jesus in His stead. We are here instead of Christ. As we walk in His shoes, we give a picture of who and what He is. That is an awesome responsibility. We represent Him here; He represents us there (He 9:24; 1 Jn 2:1-2).
be reconciled to God.
The Greek of “be reconciled” carries the idea of allowing themselves to be reconciled by God. Christ effects reconciliation by His death. God was satisfied (propitiated) that Christ’s death fully paid the penalty for sin. Reconciliation comes from God, not one another. Active response is also necessary.
Paul does not challenge the Corinthian church to be reconciled to God. He has already addressed them as “the church of God” and “saints” (2 Co 1:1). Their current position with God was that they stood reconciled. Paul’s appeal was that they would accept his apostolic authority and his message that they called into question. To be estranged from God’s ambassadors is to be alienated from God.
God does not reconcile people who are not willing to be reconciled.
Reconciliation requires the non-Christian to come to grips with our personal alienation from God.