There is a difference between the truth of having been crucified with Christ, and the truth of carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus; they are completely different. All Christians have been crucified with Christ and raised a new man, but not all carry about in the body the dying of Jesus. All are called to take up their cross and put off the old nature of sinful man, and to put on the new nature created in the image of Christ. Only a few are called to carry the dying of Jesus, and those few are the apostles of Christ.
Decades ago the Lord showed me about the call of an apostle of Christ, and since that vision I have always thought that no-one in his right mind would want to be one. It is the most lonely walk on earth, and the most misunderstood; it is a path no-one would choose for himself. It is completely different, in all aspects, than the walk for everyone else. Death is at work in the life of an apostle of Christ, while life is at work in everyone else, (2 Corinthians 4:12). Some of you have known and been taught by an apostle of Christ, and if you could get a small glimpse of this truth, you would appreciate and cherish much, much more than you already do, the walk of that humble servant. He carried in his body the dying of Jesus, in order that the life of Jesus might be manifested; and he shared that life with you; he received by giving.
His ordination came directly from heaven by the laying on of the hands of Jesus, the Son of God. This fact alone speaks to the depths of the separation of himself to God, for the calling of an apostle is not just a calling, it is an appointment, an appointment to be an ambassador for Christ, (2 Corinthians 5:20). That is why Jesus chooses and appoints His apostles Himself (John 15:16), because they are to be His ambassadors. One does not choose, or seek, the call of an apostle, or to be an ambassador for Jesus; one is both chosen and appointed by the Lord Jesus Himself to be His ambassador.
Many have misunderstood the writings of Paul and think that all Christians are ambassadors for Christ. They think that because they preach and/or witness to people they are Christ’s ambassadors. They seem not to understand that an ambassador is a representative and does not speak of things he chooses, nor does he express his own thoughts on a matter; he speaks only the words and thoughts of the one he is representing. So it is with ambassadors for Christ, and therein is the loneliness of the office.
I have not written these words to lift up the office of an apostle; no apostle would want to be lifted up and praised; for an apostle is nothing in himself, he is simply a representative of Jesus, and a servant of all. I have written it to bring attention to the subtlety of Scripture distortions, and how they cause people to form false beliefs. This may seem like a small thing to some, but to our Holy Father, it is sin; and it is a dangerous one. We can find the truth of this in 2 Peter 3:16, where Peter is talking about the letters of Paul. He states that some things in Paul’s letters are hard to understand, and that the untaught and unstable distort them. Peter also infers that if one would distort one Scripture, he will most likely distort all Scriptures, for he says, ‘…some things are hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do all the rest of the Scriptures,’. He goes on to say they do this ‘to their own destruction,’. So we see that distorting Scriptures leads to one’s own destruction. It is a very dangerous sin.
Dear friends, The Lord our God will not share HIs glory with another, and He will not allow His name to be profaned. We must guard our tongues at all times, and walk with reverence and honor in our hearts towards the Lord. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
May God bless all who have read this with a sincere heart and an open mind.
Jon David Banks, God’s most unworthy servant