Summary: The KJV uses the word "peculiar" 7 times - but it didn't mean "odd" or "bizarre" - it meant a treasured "possession". But what does that mean to us and how should that effect our daily lives as Christians?
(I opened by reading Titus 2:11-14 from the KJV)
OPEN: Last Sunday (January 10th) was “Peculiar People Day”. Nobody knows who came up with the idea of making that a special day (somebody thinks it might have been the greeting card companies) but the whole idea of this Peculiar People day is: “To celebrate those who are eccentric, non-conformist or otherwise unique in some way.”
Someone suggested you might celebrate this day in one of following ways:
• Spend some time at a hair salon and have your hair dyed blue, pink or yellow
• Shop for groceries while listening to dance music thru your earphones and dance the day away
• If you have a pet, dress it up with a wig and go for a walk at a nearby park.
• Cook some strange but edible food for the family.
• Or visit the mall and take pictures of people doing unusual things.
All in all, the idea of a “Peculiar People Day” is that the “peculiar people” in question are those who are odd or weird in some fashion. In essence… these folks aren’t NORMAL!!!
But that’s not what the word originally meant
The word “peculiar” originally came for the Latin “peculium” which means: "private property."
Thus when the KJV was originally written in the 1600s… they used that word to describe private property, but not just any old private property. This was a treasured possession that belonged to God.
For the English speaking people of that day, “peculiar” didn’t mean something that was strange or bizarre. They understood it to be talking about something that was special to God.
For example: in Deuteronomy 14:2 God told Israel: “thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a PECULIAR PEOPLE unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.” (KJV)
In other words God was saying He OWNED Israel.
They were His special treasured possession. In fact, they were so special to God… no one touched them unless He wanted them touched. They were under His exclusive protection.
And that’s pretty much what God declared in Psalm 135:4
“For the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his PECULIAR TREASURE.” KJV
Now, what’s intriguing is that God says the same thing about you and I.
We are His people, His special possession too. In I Peter 2:9 God declares:
“… ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a PECULIAR PEOPLE; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” KJV
We are PECULIAR.
We are SPECIAL to God.
And because of that we are a CHOSEN generation, a ROYAL priesthood, a HOLY Nation, and we’ve been called out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Now, notice… THIS is what God DID for us.
We didn’t deserve to be honored like this.
You did NOT (and could NOT) do enough good deeds to buy God’s approval.
That’s what Ephesians 2 says: (Before you became a Christian, you) “were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions— it is by grace you have been saved.
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith— and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:3b-9
You were dead in your transgressions.
You had NOTHING to offer God.
You did NOT earn your salvation… it was given to you as a free gift.
The only thing you ever did that qualified you for God’s mercy and forgiveness was that you acknowledged that you didn’t deserve it to begin with. And you were smart enough to humble yourself before His throne and accept Jesus by your belief; repentance from your sins; confession that Jesus was now going to own you (be your Lord and Master) and by allowing yourself to be buried in the waters of baptism and rise up a new creation in Christ.
Christian comedian Brad Stine noted:
“The only reason I’m a Christian is because it’s the only religion that would have me.”
And he’s right!
Jesus is the only Savior that would have folks like you and me
Why would God forgive you and me?
Because “God so loved (you and me) that He gave His only begotten Son, that whomsoever should believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”