Not Weird but Definitely Special.
Tell old Good News club story (a bit corny but illustrates a point) – boy made a model yacht, lost it, saw it months later in a second hand store. Told shop keeper "That's mine, I made it." Shop keeper said I'm sorry, son, but I bought it. You can have it if you pay the full price. The boy worked, saved enough to buy back his precious boat. That is what Jesus has done – He's bought us back, now we are His special possession. Read Titus 2:11-14 Jesus has bought a people for His own possession. We are His. We are His because He made us but we sold ourselves to satan when we went our own way, not the way of our Master and Maker. Jesus paid the ransom price to buy back that which was His in the first place. We are doubly His.
? Peculiar people: The King James version has a rather quaint rendering of Titus 2:14 ( Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.) It uses this expression in three other places: (1 Peter 2:9 But 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: Deuteronomy 14:2 For 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. Deuteronomy 26:18 And the LORD hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments). Of course language has changed since 1611 and "peculiar" didn't mean "weird", "strange" or "odd" at all but "special", "particular", "specific" – dictionary definition: "Belonging exclusively to, belonging to the individual, particular, special, singular – the Jews as God's chosen people". The King James translated the word properly, its just that we get the wrong impression. It does not mean that we are weird, but we are definitely special. What does the word in the original language mean?: comes from two words, one meaning beyond and the other meaning "substance"/"being". It means abundant, costly, select. It pertains to being a special or a distinctive possession of someone - ‘one’s private possession, one’s special possession. - so the verse translates: ‘to make us a pure people who belong to him alone’ Another interpretation is: pertaining to that which is special about some entity – the verse then translates ‘and purify for himself a special people’. So putting the two meanings together: we are a people belonging to God alone, His special people – possession and value are the two concepts. It refers to God's chosen people in whom He has a special interest, one which exceeds His common concern for mankind in general. Thus the phrase should better be translated "His treasured people", the same as "purchased people" referred to in 1 Pet 2:9.
God's treasure The word only occurs this once in the whole NT but it is the word the Greek version of the OT it is used to translate a very special Hebrew word: סְגֻלָּה. This word only occurs eight times in the whole of the OT the basic meaning of this noun is "personal property".. It is used of the people of Israel, but you get the sense of its meaning from the 2 places where it doesn't refer to them: (Ecclesiastes 2:8 Also, I collected for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. 1 Chronicles 29:3 Moreover, in my delight in the house of my God, the treasure I have of gold and silver, I give to the house of my God,). It is treasure, something valuable and precious. This is what we are as those God has redeemed! God's treasure! His treasured possession! Precious to Him! We weren't precious before – we were dross, rubbish, filthy and contaminated with sin. God's eyes are to holy to behold sin, He couldn't bare to look at us! But solely because of the price Jesus paid we are valuable [Avro Anson in Wilbur Dodge's front paddock – bits of aluminum, a mere shell, just the barest framework, corroded and neglected – no value, the sheep grazed around it. Someone saw it, recognized it for what it was and bought it and restored it. Restored, it was a rare aircraft and extremely valuable but very little of it was what had been in Wilbur Dodge's paddock. The value came from the time, effort, skill, money and love poured into the worthless object]. Some say how valuable we must have been for God to have paid such a high price for us. No, we were worthless – our value in God's sight comes from the price paid, the love and grace that has been lavished upon us in redeeming us. The word סְגֻלָּה means: valued property, peculiar treasure, that which יהוה has chosen and taken to himself; treasured possession, i.e., valued personal property, what is owned by someone, which the owner has special affection or holds special value. Now we are God's treasure, the KJV says we are His "jewels" - who remembers singing "When He cometh.
"? It comes from: (Malachi 3:16-18 they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, NASB Then those who feared יהוה spoke to one another, and יהוה gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear יהוה and who esteem His name. They will be Mine,” says יהוה of hosts, “on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.” So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.) - the word "jewels"/"own possession" is סְגֻלָּה. Those who fear יהוה become His peculiar possessions whom he will never forget, even in that time of great judgement. We are God's treasure – He bought the whole world (by Jesus dying on the cross) in order to get the treasure within it (Matthew 13:44 The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.). It cost God all He had – His Son!
God's covenant people [Exodus 19:5,6] – The word סְגֻלָּה occurs first in Exodus 19 where יְהוָה came down on Mount Sinai and made a covenant with Israel – by that covenant they became His special people. (Exodus 19:1-8 they came to the wilderness of Sinai and camped in the wilderness; and there Israel camped in front of the mountain. Moses went up to God, and the יְהוָה called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel: You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.” So Moses came and called the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which יהוָה had commanded him. All the people answered together and said, “All that יהוָה has spoken we will do!”). They were special, picked out of all the nations. All the earth is God's but they would be His own – a kingdom (He would rule them) of priests (they would minister to Him), a holy nation (set apart and separate from the rest). We too are God's people because of the covenant in Jesus blood (Matthew 26:28 this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins). Picked out of the world – God's special people. A Kingdom (with Jesus ruling), priests (we minister to God) (Hebrews 13:15 Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.), a holy people (1 Peter 1:15,16 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light)
God's chosen people [Deut 7:6; Psalm 135:4] – Israel was about to enter the Promised Land, Moses wasn't going in with them, so he speaks to them before they cross the Jordan. He exhorts them not to mix with the people of the land – we are to keep separate from the world because they will turn us to other gods. They were to destroy the idols of the nations – why? Because they were יהוָה's special people (Deuteronomy 7:6 For you are a holy people to יהוָה your God; יהוָה your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.) - holy – He has chosen them out of all the peoples of the earth to be His treasured possession – to be His. We are the chosen of God (Ephesians 1:3-6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.). There are all the people in the world – and He chose you! He chose me! Hallelujah! How wonderful to be God's own, chosen, special treasure! The psalmist gives praise to God for His choosing (Psalm 135:1-4 Praise יהוָה! Praise the name of יהוָה Praise Him, O servants of יהוָה, you who stand in the house of יהוָה,in the courts of the house of our God! Praise יהוָה, for יהוָה is good;sing praises to His name, for it is lovely. For יהוָה has chosen Jacob for Himself,Israel for His own possession.). Israel was God's personal possession – the one He has especially chosen, just as He chose you too.
God's separated people [Deut 14:2] – God gave Israel a lot of detailed (and to us finickity) instructions on what foods they could and couldn't eat, what they could and couldn't do. They were not to do the same things as the nations amongst whom they lived – why? (Deuteronomy 14:2 For you are a holy people to יהוָה your God, and יהוָה has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.) Moses reminded Israel that God chose her and redeemed her from bondage not because of her goodness, but solely because he loved her and was faithful to the promises given to the patriarchs. Israel should reflect God's holiness and live out his commandments reflecting his standards in a life of wholehearted compliance with the terms of the covenant made at Sinai - they were His treasured possession – holy, separated, not like every one else. We are a peculiar people in the sense that we are not like everyone else, nor should we be. If we lose our distinctiveness how will people know that we are God's special people? (Matthew 5:13 You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.). Many Christians today are keen to show non-Christians that they are normal people, just like everyone else – if we are just like the world, what is the point?! What difference does Jesus make? Does it make no difference to be God's own? It must do! (1 Peter 1:14-16 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”). Many people don't like being different, standing out, but as God's people we are. We are God's special people – we are not part of this world.
God's dedicated people [Deut 26:18] – So there, to the east of Canaan, Moses reviewed the Law for the people of Israel before they entered the Promised Land. As he came to the end of all the regulations he said (Deuteronomy 26:16-19 This day יהוָה your God commands you to do these statutes and ordinances. You shall therefore be careful to do them with all your heart and with all your soul. You have today declared יהוָה to be your God, and that you would walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments and His ordinances, and listen to His voice. יהוָה has today declared you to be His people, a treasured possession, as He promised you, and that you should keep all His commandments; and that He will set you high above all nations which He has made, for praise, fame, and honor; and that you shall be a consecrated people to יהוָה your God, as He has spoken.”). They were יהוָה 's covenant people and as such must keep His laws, by doing so they were separated to Him. Here יהוָה declares them to be His special people as He promised – but they had to keep their part of the covenant – show their dedication to Him by obeying Him, doing as He said, keeping His commandments. If they did יהוָה would exalt them and honour them. They would be special – they would have praise, honour, and renown far above all other nations – they would be God's special treasure, a people consecrated or dedicated to יהוָה. To be God's special treasure means that we will be consecrated, dedicated to Him. - it is the same word as "holy"/"separated" in (Deut 14:2). We are to be consecrated to the Lord (Romans 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. - this consecration as an object of worship involves separation - Rom 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,.) The prayer of God's treasured possession should be: "Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to Thee, Take my moments and my days, let them flow in ceaseless praise." The covenant, choosing, calling, possession and value are all God's doing but we have our part to play in being holy and dedicated to the One who set His love upon us, dedicated with absolute devotion to Jesus.
God's called people [1 Peter 2:9] – This word סגֻלָּה, treasure, is translated by περιούσιος in the Greek OT (the word used in Titus) except in Mal 3:7 where another word, περιποίησις is used. This word means possession, property, a purchased possession, that which is acquired with considerable effort. Jesus Bought us, redeemed us to be His own. This word is used in Eph 1:14 and 1 Pet 2:9. Lets have a look at 1 Pet 2:9 – Peter was speaking about how the Jews had stumbled, they hadn't recognized Jesus as the Messiah – they were disobedient and rejected God's word. But to those who believed in Jesus, He is a precious cornerstone. Jesus is extremely precious to us – He is our everything! Those to whom Jesus is precious, are precious to God, they are (1 Peter 2:9,10 a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.). Words that recall those we read in Ex 19:6. This verse says that we are chosen, that took place in eternity past, but that choice was effective in time – having chosen us God called us – called us to be His own special people. (Romans 8:28-31 God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 2 Timothy 1:9 God saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,- it is a holy calling. How are we called? - we were called through the Gospel 2 Thessalonians 2:14 God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.). God chose us and then He called us, we responded and became His own. Hallelujah! [It is wonderful to be called by name -the day I heard Jesus call me – never been the same since] God has called us by name to be His special treasure!
God's purchased possession [Ephesians 1:14] – the other place the word used in Malachi to translate סגֻלָּה is used is (Ephesians 1:13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation — having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.) The word used in Peter and Ephesians emphasizes, not so much "treasure", our value, as "possession" – we belong to Him. Jesus bought us with His blood, redeemed us, just as it says in Titus, paying the ransom for our lives. We have been bought at a great price (Acts 20:29 talks of: the flock ... the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 1 Corinthians 6:19 you are not your own, for you have been bought with a price therefore glorify God in your body) – we belong to God like that boat that the boy bought back from the second-hand shop. We are His possession – a people belonging to God! Hallelujah! As the NIV renders (1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.). It is wonderful to be God's special treasure which belongs to Him, it is encouraging to consider what He has done for us and made us. But it is not so much what we are, thinking we are something special – rather the glory is to Jesus for what He has done – in the words of: (Revelation 5:9,10 And they sang a new song:“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” ). Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. Jesus, the Messiah, God’s own Son, gave Himself for our sake! Praise His Name! He gave Himself to pay the redemption price, the price to release us from slavery to sin and death. Death was what we owed, so that is the price he had to pay. We are redeemed out of the old way of life of lawlessness, that is why our life is now different, separate from the world - clean and pure instead of defiled and dirty. His purpose was to make a people for His very own. A holy God cannot have an impure people - they must be holy as He is. To be His special treasured possession we must be purified. We are His people, His own possession, His treasure, bought at a great cost! Bless His wonderful Name! Praise the Lord for His wondrous salvation! The outcome of this salvation, of receiving this great grace, the gift of Christ Himself, of His separating and purifying work is that we become His people - a people with a common purpose - each living only to please our loving, gracious, merciful, Saver - consumed with a zeal to please Him by being taken up totally with doing good works to glorify His Name. We are not weird but we definitely are special, God's special treasure which He purchased for His own possession. His covenant people who He chose and called in order that we may declare the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His wonderful light.