A Peculiar People :: by Grant Phillips

In Deuteronomy 14:2; Titus 2:14; and 1 Peter 2:9 God identifies His own people as a “peculiar people”, but what does this mean? In both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible they mean, “that which is one’s own, belonging to one’s possessions; a people selected by God from the other nations for His own possession”. If we are truly a child of God, then we have been chosen (adopted) out of the world (those who are not a true child of God) into His family, and we are His possession. We have been redeemed (bought back) by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son. Our adoption is free to us, but not to Him. He therefore has every right to expect us to obey His will.

I cannot find anywhere in the Bible where He compromises His own Word to fit in with our opinions. God does not make deals. I can find no gray areas. There may be gray areas in my mind caused from a lack of understanding, but as my understanding deepens, I find that His Word is very clear, in black and white, wrong and right.

We live in a world which thinks that the Bible changes with the times. God says in Malachi 3:6, “For I am the LORD, I change not …”. Every word the Lord wrote in our Bible has exactly the same meaning today that it had at any other time in history. It is up to us to make sure we truly understand exactly what our Lord is saying in any given part of His Word. I do need to make clear that if you are not a child of God, you cannot understand His Word since it is foolishness to you, but the Holy Spirit does reveal His Word to those who are truly His children. (Romans 3:11; 1 Corinthians 1:18; 2:14; Hebrews 11:6) Also, if you are His child, you still have to study His Word before the Holy Spirit can show you what He wants you to know (2 Timothy 2:15).

Now back to being a peculiar people. With the meaning of “peculiar” already explained in the first paragraph, it doesn’t mean that we are perfect (fully mature), but, we should be showing some signs in our lives that we belong to Him. By that I mean that we will live differently than the world around us. We will think differently than they, because we are no longer of this world. Jesus said in John 17:14-17 when praying to the Father on our behalf, “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”

Let us look at these passages a little closer.

“I have given them thy word”. We have the entirety of God’s Word in the Bible. If you want to know what God says, this is the place to go.

“And the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” The world hates Jesus and everything He stands for, and by logical reasoning should hate us too. If we are friends with the world and accepted by it, then there is something terribly wrong in our lives. A person who puts Jesus first in his/her life, has to eventually have problems with the world’s viewpoint toward him/her. Those who do not know the Jesus you say you love, is going to shy away from you and/or ridicule you, if you are putting Him first in your life. The world will hate you.

“I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world”. Many times I have heard people say something like, “Lord, please take me out of this world. Just take me home.” However, that is not His intention. He wants us to be a light to this world that is spiritually blind. He wants us to be salt to this world that needs healing. We are to take advantage of our time here by putting Him first and doing His will.

“but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” While we live for Him during the time we are in this world, He prays that the Father keep us from the evil, meaning the evil one, Satan. Why would He say that? The answer is found in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”

“Sanctify them through thy truth:” Sanctify means to make holy. What does it mean to be holy? In short, it means to be set apart for God and His purpose, dedicated to Him. Our lives should be totally consumed with fulfilling the Father’s will. Jesus said, “…My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” (John 4:34). He said again in John 6:38, “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” In the next two verses, He makes a point that should make us shudder if these verses are not true of us; “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21) “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (Mathew 12:50)

“thy word is truth.” God says through the Apostle John, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) Jesus is the Word, and His Word is Truth. He says in Matthew 4:4, “…It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedethout of the mouth of God.” Christians need to be in the Word … DAILY.

Are you God’s own possession, a peculiar people? If so, you are not your own , “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:20) “Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.” (1 Corinthians 7:23)

If we are a peculiar people, we will be peculiar, in the sense of an odd ball, to the world around us, but to God, we are His own possession, bought with a price.

Though the world interpret “peculiar” as an odd ball, are we ashamed to be a “little odd” for Christ? Would it embarrass us to speak of Heavenly things around our family, friends and acquaintances? Jesus said in the above verse to not be servants of men. Therefore, if we knuckle under to the world’s expected opinion of our behavior, are we not their servants? We most definitely are. Would we not rather be the servant of Christ? I would certainly hope so. Then since He bought us with a price that we will never comprehend, we are His servants. Therefore, let us stand tall with every opportunity, to be a peculiar people for our Lord (Master).

Grant Phillips