Christians are called by many names - some of them good and complimentary, and some of them, not so good or complimentary. We are called by several names in the New Testament.
Did you know that God thinks you are peculiar? Well, He does - - but not that He thinks you are odd or strange. For Him, it is not a critical term. And, in fact, He only calls us peculiar in the King James Version. Other translations use different words.
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)
The NASB translates it like this: 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.
The Greek has a word that combines two words. One means “around” as in a circle. The other word means “to be.” In your mind, draw a circle and then draw a dot in the center of it. Just as the dot is “possessed” by the circle, believers in Christ are possessed by God. That is one thing meant by being “in Christ.” Our spiritual location - “in Christ” - is a place of possession. We are possessed by God.
Being “in Christ” also puts us in a place of protection. Now, in your mind, add a dot outside the circle. The dot in the circle represents you. The circle represents God, Who possesses and protects you. The dot outside the circle represents temptations, tests, or trials, etc.
Draw a line from the dot outside the circle to the dot inside the circle. The temptation, test, or trial cannot get to you unless it goes through the circle = God. We often refer to “God’s permissive will.” While God can send things into our lives to discipline us, to get our attention, etc., many of life’s difficulties are things which He chooses to allow in the normal course of life on planet earth. They fall under God’s permissive will. I’ve often said that we might never know - this side of heaven - all the things God prevents from coming into our lives because they don’t agree with His will for us.
In 1 Cor. 10:13 we read of believers being tempted with sin. In James 1 we read of believers facing trials. Same Greek word in both places. Scholar, Kenneth Wuest writes: “God in His wisdom plans the test, and limits the temptation. God in His love sends the test, and permits the temptation. God in His grace meets the test, and overcomes the temptation. In His wisdom He plans and limits. The purpose of Christian suffering is that it is a means whereby sin is put out of our lives and likeness to Jesus produced.”
As believers in Christ, you and I are God’s peculiar people. That means we are all His own. We are His unique, special possession. We are the object of His love and affection. We are under His protecting care, since He encircles us and possess us. In Christ, we receive all the comfort, grace, wisdom, power, and strength we will need.
Dr. Butch McCarthy