THE HIGH PRIVILEGE OF BEING
There are a number of names and designations that the apostle Paul utilizes in the church epistles that describe us for who we are as God’s people in this dispensation of grace in which we live. For example, we are called “saints” a great number of times. We are “the church which is His (Christ’s) body.” We are the “new creation”; the “one new man.” We are “the children of God.” We are “brethren.” We are the “heirs of God.” We are “believers,” etc. A number of different names and designations are used in describing us as believers because God has done a number of things with us in connection with saving us. We are “the children of God” because God purchased us unto Himself through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus and made us His own when we trusted Christ as our Saviour. We are “heirs of God” because having trusted Christ as our Saviour and being justified unto eternal life we have the inheritance of eternal life in the glory of His presence. We are the “new creation”; the “one new man”; the “church, the body of Christ” because in this present dispensation of Gentile grace that is just what God is doing. He is creating something new. God has temporarily set aside His program and dealings with Israel, has put Jew and Gentile on the same level, and is forming a “new creation” out of the two in accordance with the “mystery of Christ.” Obviously, because of the grandeur of what God has done, is doing, and will yet do with us in Christ, a number of names and designations need to be employed to describe the various issues of the riches of God’s grace unto us in Christ Jesus.
However, of all the descriptive designations Paul employs there is one that stands out from the rest. Not simply because it is employed by him on only one occasion, but especially because at first hearing it has an odd ring to it. It’s the designation “PECULIAR PEOPLE.” Paul calls us such in Titus 2:14. After referring to our “blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ,” Paul goes on to describe Christ as the One,…
“Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a PECULIAR PEOPLE, zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:14)
We’re not only “saints” and “children of God.” We’re not only the “heirs of God” and members of the “new creation.” But we are also “peculiar people.”
At first hearing that designation itself might strike us a bit peculiar. We have a tendency today to use the word “peculiar” in a less than complimentary way. It usually conveys to us at first the idea of being weird, strange, or queer. And therefore we often don’t think of the word “peculiar” as saying something good about someone. But the word “peculiar” also conveys the issue of specialness and uniqueness. It also conveys the issue of something particularly belonging to someone and being specially fitted for doing something. When used in this way it conveys the issue of an high honour and privilege uniquely possessed by someone. And this is the way in which the word is being used here in Titus 2:14 to describe us for who we are “in Christ.” Being “peculiar people” in this sense ought to be a glorious truth to us.
We are “peculiar people” because we are not only God’s own aquired possession, having trusted Christ as our Saviour. We are also “peculiar people” because God has made us fit to be able to do something for Him that no one else can do. He has specially fitted us to be able to serve Him and glorify Him in our daily lives. He has specially fitted us to be able now to bring forth good works that He can be well pleased with. Unsaved people cannot do that. And, therefore, before we were saved we couldn’t do that. But now, having trusted Christ as our Saviour, we not only belong to God and are “peculiar people” in that sense, but we have also been given a sanctified position in Christ by which we are able to “bring forth fruit unto God. We have been, as Paul says in Titus 2:14, “purified unto himself a peculiar people.” And, therefore, we are “peculiar people” in the sense that we are different and unique among all people in that we are able to serve and glorify God in the details of our lives. We possess the peculiar privilege of being able to serve God because of who God has made us to be in Christ Jesus. And, just as Paul says in Titus 2:14, because of this we ought to be “zealous of good works.”
In Romans 6 the apostle Paul sets forth the doctrine of our sanctified position “in Christ” and the peculiar privilege that is now ours being so sanctified. He describes in verses 1-14 how that by the Holy Spirit baptizing us into Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection we have been made “dead unto sin” and “alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” We have been given a sanctified position in Christ in which we don’t have to yield our members as “instruments of unrighteousness unto sin.” No longer does sin have to reign in our mortal bodies. Instead, and in accordance with the fantastic privilege of our sanctified position, Paul says “but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” Think of it! You, because of who God has made you to be “in Christ,” can bring forth “righteousness unto God.” And this now truly is a peculiar privilege for us. For as Paul says in verses 20-22,…
“For when ye were the servants of sin, YE WERE FREE FROM RIGHTEOUSNESS.
What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.
But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, YE HAVE YOUR FRUIT UNTO HOLINESS, and the end everlasting life.” (Romans 6:20-22)
Before we trusted Christ as our Saviour, we were just as Paul says, servants of sin and free from righteousness. We couldn’t bring forth anything God would accept, or that glorified Him. But now, that’s not the case. Now, in Christ Jesus we have a sanctified position in which we have been made “servants of righteousness” with the extraordinary privilege of having “fruit unto holiness.” Now, we can “bring forth fruit unto God,” as Paul goes on to underscore in chapter 7. We, therefore, truly are “peculiar people” because of God having “purified us unto Himself.”
Our high privilege of being “peculiar people” is repeatedly addressed by the apostle Paul in our epistles. Notice it in the following examples:
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye 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.” (I Corinthians 6:19-20)
“For we are his workmanship, CREATED IN CHRIST JESUS UNTO GOOD WORKS, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;
That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;
BEING FILLED WITH THE FRUITS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, WHICH ARE BY JESUS CHRIST, UNTO THE GLORY AND PRAISE OF GOD.” (Philippians 1:9-11)
“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord UNTO ALL PLEASING, BEING FRUITFUL IN EVERY GOOD WORK, and increasing in the knowledge of God;” (Colossians 1:10)
“Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us HOW YE OUGHT TO WALK AND TO PLEASE GOD, SO YE WOULD ABOUND MORE AND MORE”. (I Thessalonians 4:1)
Once again, think of it! We, because of who we are in Christ; because we are God’s “workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works,” can bring forth in the details of our lives “fruits of righteousness” that are “unto the glory and praise of God.” We can actually “glorify God” and “please Him.” What a peculiar privilege! What an honour to be “peculiar people”! How we ought, therefore, to be “zealous of good works.” – K.R. Blades