You probably must be wondering, who are these ‘peculiar people’? What makes them so ‘peculiar’? Do such ‘peculiar’ people exist in today’s time?  Our endeavor today would be to humbly explain what this word signifies and how important  it is for us believers to be ‘peculiar’.

Let’s read the context in the Bible by turning to 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:”

Peter speaks this verse to the “strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,”

Peter was speaking to the believers spread across these regions and exhorting them about their identify in Christ. It is extremely important that we know and understand what kind of nature God wants us to imbibe so that we walk according to His will.

We know and probably understand why we are called to be a ‘Chosen Generation’, ‘Royal Priesthood’ and a ‘Holy Nation’ but what does it mean to be a ‘peculiar people’?

As per dictionary, the word, peculiar, means “different to what is normal or expected”

So when Peter calls the people of God peculiar he meant that our nature ought to be different from the world.

Bible is full of examples where Jesus has spoken of how we need to be different from the ways of the world. For example, when someone asked Jesus as to how many times we should forgive our brothers, seven times or more, Jesus said seventy times seven! He even said that if someone slaps you on one cheek then instead of retaliating turn the other cheek as well (Mathews 5:38-39)!

We cannot truly follow Jesus unless our way of living, our behavior, our innermost nature changes.

You may be thinking that how can a man or a woman changes his / her nature overnight. Well for one thing nature change is not an overnight phenomenon but a constant process which will end when we see Jesus face to face. 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 says, “[17] Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. [18] But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

Secondly, it cannot be done without the intervention of the Holy Spirit. What it means is that unless we allow the Holy Spirit of God to take charge of each and every aspect of our lives we cannot truly be transformed into the ‘peculiar people’.

So how do we become ‘peculiar’. The answer is simple, by changing the very fabric of our human nature by imbibing the fruit of the Holy Spirit as mentioned in Galatians 5: 22-23, “[22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, [23] gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

I like to call it the 9 strands of the ‘Christian DNA’.

All of these aspects of the fruit of the Holy Spirit are exhibited through lives of Faith Warriors as well as mentioned in the numerous letters which the Apostles wrote. Let’s understand about them quickly from the Bible.

Love: Bible is The Book of Love! It is a beautiful love story between God and us, His people who are called by His name. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Mark 12: 29 – 31 says, “[29] And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: [30] And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. [31] And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. The entire chapter of I Corinthians 13 speaks of love and how it is greater than faith & hope. Would want to share verses 4 – 7 which best describes of what love is, “[4] Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. [5] It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. [6] Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. [7] It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Joy: Joy does not just mean being happy for the moment, it is not just a momentary feeling that we may have but it is a permanent thing. It reflects in our personality; it shows in the way we deal with people and situation. Here are three verses to encourage you to have the joy in your heart and life. Psalm 30:5 says, ” For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” Nehemiah 8:10b says, “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” and Proverbs 10:28 says, “The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing”

Peace: Who doesn’t want peace in his/her life? We all work hard just to earn enough to have a peaceful, stress free retirement. We want peace in our house, in our family, in our community and even in our country. But the irony is that 1 in 3 adults  hypertensive today! This is contrary to what Jesus says in John 14:27, “[27] Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” When we have God’s peace in our lives it automatically reflects in our health. Psalm 4:8 says, “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Philippians 4: 6 – 7 encourages us by saying, “[6] Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. [7] And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Mathews 5:9 shares that, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

Forbearance: Dictionary defines forbearance as being patient having restraint and tolerance. One of the most important DNA strand of Christianity is Forbearance. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”. This world is full of temptations and we need to show forbearance so that we do not fall into sin. We read in Ephesians 4:1 – 2, “[1] I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, [2] With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.” Colossians 3: 12 – 13 tells us to, “[12] Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; [13] Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” Jesus in His sermon on the mount said in Mathews 5:38 – 44, “[38] Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: [39] But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. [40] And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. [41] And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. [42] Give to him that ask thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. [43] Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. [44] But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

Kindness: Probably one of the easiest to imbibe but most difficult to follow especially in this world of mistrust. But the Bible exemplifies and talks a lot about kindness. Ephesians 4:32 says, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”. The wisest King, King Solomon said in Proverbs 3:3, “Let not kindness and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart.: Micah 6:8 tell us that, “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with thy God”

Goodness: this attribute can be simply put as selfless care for others. We hear a lot about God’s goodness and it is all true. It is because of the goodness of God that we are alive, healthy, blessed. Psalm 103:2 says, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits;” But Bible goes beyond that and shows us through numerous examples how we need to do good for others out of a genuine love and concern. Paul mentions in his letters how the churches gave out of the goodness of their hearts. The story of the Good Samaritan is a beautiful example of how goodness works. Bible tells that after bandaging the injured person and taking him to an inn, the Samaritan left the place after giving money to the inn keeper instructing him to take care of the injured person. He did not want any glory and nowhere do we read that the person thanked him for saving. This was an act of kindness and goodness and not self-glory.

Faithfulness: The world longs for faithful people, Companies look for faithful people, People look for faithful spouses, Parents look for faithful children, etc etc. The list is never ending but why is it relevant? Because Christians need to be faithful just as God is faithful. Proverbs 20:6 says the same thing, “Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?” Proverbs 27:6 really drives the point head on, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” We all must have heard of the parable of the 10 talents and would have the desire that Jesus when He comes back says to us, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Mathews 25:21

Gentleness: In this world of cut throat competition, gentleness may look like a weakness. Afterall who would want to help a coworker who has just spoken ill about you to the Boss. But Gentleness as per Bible is not a weakness but a strength and that is why is among the 9 fruit of the Spirit. Paul in 2 Timothy 2:24 – 26 says, “[24] And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all [men], apt to teach, patient, [25] In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; [26] And [that] they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” Galatians 6:1 says, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”

Self-control: This one is tough! I mean with all the temptations that are around us how does one keep self control. This is not just related to the sexual immorality but to things like compulsive shopping, compulsive eating, compulsive hoarder of things. All of these are aspects that a Christian need to have control on. And that is why the last strand of Christian DNA is as important as others. Proverbs 16:32 says, “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit (self control) than he that taketh a city.” Titus 2:11 – 12 says, “[11] For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. [12] It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.”

These are the 9 strands of the Christian DNA which make them ‘peculiar’ to the World but acceptable & loved by God.

Just as a baby while growing starts to inculcate the habits / preferences / behavior of his/her parents, in the same way we as Christians need to learn to imbibe the behavior of God, the fruit of the Spirit so that we keep becoming more like Him.

In Romans 12:1 – 2 Paul encourages the Church by saying, “[1] Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. [2] Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

This is our sincere prayer as well, that all who read this blog do not remain conformed to the pattern of the world but by renewing the spirit of their minds keep growing in Christ, start imbibing the Christian DNA and start living as God’s own ‘peculiar’ people.

God Bless You!

Your Brother in Christ

Nikunj