Skip to content

Am I Peculiar?

May 15, 2020

In times like these, it can be puzzling somehow, that if we don’t ‘go’ to church, are we really the church?  What is the church?

In my reading last night in 1 Peter, I came to the second chapter, where Peter describes believers as “…living stones…”  In light of the ongoing isolation foisted upon us by our Governor here in North Carolina and the way that many churches have gone online to teach and worship, this really seemed to speak to me.  It’s always been my belief that the building is not the church; those who gather there (or not) are the church.  Some time ago, I had shared this with someone who had been skipping coming to church services and used the analogy of how he was one brick in the building of the church.  Picture everyone coming together as bricks gathering to create a structure; each that does not arrive will leave an empty space making the structure incomplete.

Peter goes on to compare/contrast those in Christ with those apart from Jesus, that those who now refuse Him will stumble and fall while we who are in Christ can declare God’s goodness and light:

But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9 NLT)

The KJV phrases it differently:

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 marvellous light… (1 Peter 2:9 KJV emphasis added)

As with many things, the English language has undergone many changes over the years.  In today’s vernacular, peculiar has a far different meaning than it did in 1611 (much as gay and some other examples I can quickly think of), but peculiar?  Reading in the NLT (or many other translations) shows how as disciples of Jesus, we are called by Him to be different, not peculiar in the modern sense (though some of us can be), but to be set apart from what culture describes as normative. 

So, what does it mean, as the church (the Body, not the building) to be peculiar or set apart?  Peter uses language in his epistle that would have shocked or even enraged ancient Jews as it is the same language applied to God’s chosen people, Israel, and specifically to the priests whose duties separated them from the ordinary Jew.  Such passages as Ex. 19:5-6; Deut. 4:20; 7:6; 14:2; Isa. 43:20-21; and Mal. 3:17 all were, in the original context, thought to be speaking of and to only the Jew.  How is it that Peter is speaking to Gentiles in this way, and what does it mean?

2:9 a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession. Peter continues to describe his Christian readers in terms the OT uses only for the ancient nation of Israel. “Chosen,” “royal,” and “holy” describe collectively the nature of the relationship between Christian believers and God. a chosen people. See Isa 43:10, 20–21; see also Eph 1:4 and note. All who believe in Christ—whether Jew or Gentile, regardless of nationality or ethnicity—make up the chosen people. a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession. See Exod 19:5–6. As God’s royal priesthood, all Christians are to be holy and set apart for the Lord’s service as priests were expected to be in the ancient world. Regardless of one’s nationality by birth, Christians, by new birth, form a new nation in the world that is set apart for God (Mark 12:17). This holy nation is “God’s special possession” in a way that the rest of humankind is not. Christians are set apart to declare the praises of God in a world that rejects him, and they are in some times and places despised for it.”

NIV Biblical Theology Study Bible

Copyright © 2019 by Zondervan.

We, as Jesus’ disciples’, are to be different than those apart from Him.  We are not meant to be weird, strange, or odd necessarily (though many think us so), but to reflect to the world around us the wonder of God’s grace and light. 

Even now, with a proclaimed quarantine and isolation, we are His and must use every ability at our disposal to let His light shine.  Many church families, Crosswinds Church here in Leland, The Bridge Church in Wilmington, and the Chapel Hill Bible Church, have taken their services online and shared them with many who would usually avoid ‘going to church.’  This supposed pandemic has provided His Church with an opportunity for being a witness that is unparalleled since the time of the Caesars.  In strict obedience to Governor Cooper’s mandate, we have been ‘having church’ online (and the plans are to continue broadcasting online even after we have begun meeting together in our building).  This is as it should be as we are called to obey lawful authority unless and until they are telling us to do what is anathema to God.

So, peculiar doesn’t sound so bad; I kind of like it!

From → Uncategorized

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: