CHRISTIANS ARE PECULIAR
I Peter 2:9 “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:”
One of the first reactions that a person normally has when someone says that he is peculiar is to “bristle up” and take exception to the statement. However, Christians are to be a peculiar people, according to the scripture just read. Rather than take offense when we’re called peculiar we should say “Thank you”. Because that person has recognized in our lives something that is different. Christians are peculiar to the world. Peculiar simply means different and true Christians are very definitely different from the world. There is a very distinct different between Christians and non-Christians.
Perhaps we should quality that distinction some. There are many non-Christians who are following the moral principles of Christianity. So, the apparent differences may not be quite so obvious.
The major peculiarity of a Christian is seen in their attitude. This Christian’s attitude is an attitude of love for God and a burning desire to surrender his total life, his inner and outer being, to Him. Perhaps Paul’s description of himself will help us see this complete submission to God.
“I AM CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST: NEVERTHELESS I LIVE; YET NOT I, BUT CHRIST LIVETH IN ME: AND THE LIFE WHICH I NOW LIVE IN THE FLESH I LIVE BY THE FAITH OF THE SON OF GOD, WHO LOVED ME, AND GAVE HIMSELF FOR ME.” (Galatians 2:20)
Paul’s subjection to Christ was so complete that, as far as he was concerned, he was no longer living for Paul. He had been crucified with Christ, and it was Christ living in him, controlling every facet of his life. This is the attitude of the Christian.
The non-Christian does not necessarily hate God, but his attitude may be one of “all of self and none of thee,” or it may be “some of self and some of thee,” but it is not an attitude of “none of self and all of thee.” The non-Christian may be willing to follow Christ, if Christ will let him set the rules. Again, the non-Christian may be willing to follow some of the rules of the Lord, but he wants to decide which rules he will and will not follow. His approach to Christianity is somewhat like going through the cafeteria line, picking and choosing what he wants, and leaving behind those things he does not want. So, there is a very distinct difference (peculiarity) between the Christian’s attitude and the non-Christian’s attitude. The Christian’s attitude is “Lord you have full authority.” The non-Christian’s attitude is “Lord, I am willing to share authority with you.”
This difference in attitude leads to many very vivid differences in our activities which will show up very distinctly.
Perhaps it would be wise to point out that the Christian must strive to maintain this distinction from non-Christians. Christians are admonished to:
“…BE NOT CONFORMED TO THIS WORLD: BUT BE YE TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND, THAT YE MAY PROVE WHAT is THAT GOOD, AND ACCEPTABLE, AND PERFECT, WILL OF GOD.” Romans 12:2
Or, as J. B. Phillips in his version described it “Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold.” The world is constantly working to remove the difference between itself and Christians. The world is working to have Christians to drop their peculiarity and become like it, thus, there would be no difference the. The Christian would be squeezed into its mold.
The world has had such an influence on many Christians that it is difficult for people to see the difference between some Christians and non-Christians. It is somewhat obvious that the world has “squeezed” many Christians “into its mold.” We must understand that when a “Christian” is walking in sin (the ways of the world) he is not any more pleasing to God than the non-Christian. God is no respecter of persons, if a Christian is in sin he will receive the same reward as a non-Christian, for God tells us:
“BE NOT DECEIVED; GOD IS NOT MOCKED: FOR WHATSOEVER A MAN SOWETH, THAT SHALL HE ALSO REAP.” (Galatians 6:7)
The sins of one who professes to be a Christian do not remove the difference between Christians and non-Christians.
The Christian has put off “FORNICATION, UNCLEANNESS, INORDINATE AFFECTION, EVIL CONCUPISCENCE, AND COVETOUSNESS,” and has also put away “ANGER, WRATH, MALICE, BLASPHEMY, FILTHY COMMUNICATION” and he has replaced it with “MERCY, KINDNESS, HUMBLENESS, MEEKNESS, LONGSUFFERING, FORBEARANCE, FORGIVENESS AND LOVE.” (Colossians 3:5-14). Whereas the non-Christian is still captive of those evils that were named.
We could also contrast the Christian and non-Christian with the fruit of the spirit and the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-26). Again the great difference is in the attitude! Or, as the inspired writer put it,
“FOR THEY THAT ARE AFTER THE FLESH DO MIND THE THINGS OF THE FLESH; BUT THEY THAT ARE AFTER THE SPIRIT THE THINGS OF THE SPIRIT.” (Romans 8:5)
So, as we begin to look at some of the things that are different between a Christian and a non-Christian we need to keep in mind that some non-Christians have imbibed some of the principles of Christianity and may not be guilty of a particular sinful activity.
The first difference that we want to note is what is referred to as the “Judaeo-Christian work ethic.” Throughout the pages of the Bible we see the principle of work. In the law of gleaning in the Old Testament, the poor are not given their needs without being required to put forth some effort. God’s law provided a way whereby they could obtain their daily needs and at the same time, maintain their self-respect, by having to work for those needs. (See Leviticus 19:9-10, etc.) In the next verse (verse 11), they were admonished
“YE SHALL NOT STEAL.” In the New Testament we are admonished “LET HIM THAT STOLE STEAL NO MORE: BUT RATHER LET HIM LABOUR, WORKING WITH his HANDS THE THING WHICH IS GOOD, THAT HE MAY HAVE TO GIVE TO HIM THAT NEEDETH.” (Ephesians 4:28)
The Christian must not be a blight on society. He is to work to provide for his needs and for the needs of others. The Christian is a positive force in society rather than a negative force. In fact, the Scripture goes on to say “…THAT IF ANY WOULD NOT WORK, NEITHER SHOULD HE EAT.” (II Thessalonians 3:10) So, Christians are admonished that “WITH QUIETNESS THEY WORK, AND EAT THEIR OWN BREAD.” (II Thessalonians 3:12).
The attitude is the difference. The Christian believes he owes society to support himself and others less fortunate. Some non-Christians believe that society owes them their total support. This makes Christians a peculiar people.
Another of the areas where there is a distinct difference between the Christian and the non-Christian is in the family. When God created man and woman He created the family. He provided an environment whereby the couple could have the companionship that everyone needs. He also provided an atmosphere whereby children could be born and reared in:
“THE NURTURE AND ADMONITION OF THE LORD.” (Ephesians 6:4)
God intended for this husband and wife to be one throughout their lives. He did not intend for that oneness to be severed except by the death of one of the members of that union.
“WHEREFORE THEY ARE NO MORE TWAIN, BUT ONE FLESH. WHAT THEREFORE GOD HATH JOINED TOGETHER, LET NOT MAN PUT ASUNDER.” (Matthew 19:6)
There have been times in the history of man that the home was fairly stable. It was functioning somewhat as it should. Other times, for example in our modern society, the home is in shambles. Divorce is wide spread. It seems to be the fashion of the day to either not bother with marriage at all, living like two pigs in a pen, or marry without any thought about God’s purpose for the home. Unfortunately, here is one of the places where many professed Christians are doing the same thing as the non-Christians, thus blurring the distinction between the Christian and non-Christian. However, God does not approve of that kind of conduct by the Christian any more than he does the non-Christian. Casual, random divorce generates adultery (Matthew 19:3-9). Living together without being married generates fornication. Those guilty of adultery and fornication shall not “INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD.” (I Corinthians 6:9-10) The Christian is peculiar. The Christian, knowing and following God’s Word, says, “Be faithful until death.” The world says, get a divorce if you stop loving each other. The Christian says, again, following the Bible,
“SO OUGHT MEN TO LOVE THEIR WIVES AS THEIR OWN BODIES. HE THAT LOVETH HIS WIFE LOVETH HIMSELF.” (Ephesians 5:28)
The world says don’t bother with marriage, just live together. That way there is no commitment. You may walk off any time you wish. Again just like two pigs in a pen. The Christian says,
“THEREFORE SHALL A MAN LEAVE HIS FATHER AND HIS MOTHER, AND SHALL CLEAVE UNTO HIS WIFE: AND THEY SHALL BE ONE FLESH.” (Genesis 2:24)
Yes, there is a distinct difference between Christians and non-Christians. Fortunately there are many people in the world who have been influenced by the Bible. So sometimes that difference may be blurred. Likewise there are also Christians that have been influenced by the world, and it is difficult to distinguish between them and the world. It is good when non-Christians live good moral lives because of the influence of the Word of God on them. It is not good when Christians are living immoral lives because of the influence of the world on them. They are just as lost as non-Christians. What about you, my friend, are you peculiar, are you different than those living around you? Have you saturated your life with the precepts of God Almighty so that your life is a shining example of a Christian? If not, do so, before time ends and it’s too late.
William L. Schwegler;