“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
This is an often misunderstood text. There are two definitions for “peculiar”: one is, “strange, odd, or unusual,” and the other is “belonging exclusively to.” Both definitions are actually applicable to this text, but sometimes our experience with the former definition misdirects our understanding of the text. That is, we think we belong exclusively to God because of our strangeness, but, in reality, we are strange because we belong exclusively to God.
The peculiarity of the Lord’s people isn’t due to their behaviour. The Lord’s people aren’t peculiar because of their style of worship, their dress, their diet, or really anything that has anything to do with them. The verse instead notes that a peculiar people are those who have been completely transformed by the saving grace of Jesus Christ drawing them out of their darkness, out of their Babylon hearts, out of their addictions, out of their laissez-faire religion, and out of their self-righteousness.
Jesus was peculiar. Crowds of thousands followed Him just to try to figure out what He was all about. The church leaders felt threatened by Him. Political leaders and heads of state didn’t know what to make of Him either. What made Him peculiar was that He was one with the Father, and the darkness of this world doesn’t really know what to make of the Father. God is an anomoly to the world. When Jesus came into this world, the world–created by this Jesus–didn’t even know what was up:
“He was in the world, and the world was created by him, but the world did not recognize him” (John 1:10).
Jesus was peculiar because He was one with the Father and the Father acted and spoke through Him. Jesus (like the dictionary definition) “belonged exclusively to” the Father.
When God looks upon us, will He see just humanity, or will He see His Son lit up in the hearts of His people? Will His people be so filled with the love of the Father, that the darkness of this world just won’t know what to make of them? Will He see a people peculiar because they belong exclusively to Him?
It is not particulars of your life, your church, or your worship practices that make you peculiar. It is the outpouring of the love of Christ from within that makes you peculiar.
“But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world” (1 John 4:4).