Titus 2:14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
Do you have anything in your life you feel strongly about? Some people are excited about sports, others may have strong feelings about a career choice. Some people think about their future mate and still others can’t get beyond their food issues. Lets face it, everybody has strong feelings about something. Changing what you love is not as easy as just making a good choice. A lot of our bad decisions are made contrary to being fully aware of adverse consequences. As Paul said in Rom. 7:15 ‘I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate’. Why would he do what he hated, obviously he was conflicted. He knew what was right but kept doing the wrong. It’s those blasted affections getting the best of us. What is the answer, we have to change what we love. That is the miracle of being born again, our passions change. We become lovers of God. Here are some thoughts from Edwards on passion.
“That affection that is principal in this virtue is love. Zeal is an inward heat or fervency of spirit, and love is the flame whence that heat comes. This is the fire that fills the soul with that holy fervor that is called zeal. Love to God and Christ, divine love, is the foundation of all those other affections that are exercised in Christian zeal. Divine love is an active principle. It is fire from heaven [and] may be compared to an holy flame kindled in the soul by a beam from thence. No man is truly zealous without it. It is the spirit that animates and actuates the truly zealous man. He that is zealous from any other principle than love, his zeal is no Christian zeal; it is of a spurious kind. It is nothing amiable; it is a vice and not a virtue. The Psalmist expressed a great love to God when he said, Psalms 119:139, “My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words.”
The conflict of doing what I know is wrong ends when my heart is changed. Our very nature has to be changed. We become consumed with this new zeal. It is a love for God that is the very essence of the Christian faith.
Christians are Peculiar and his Prized Possession!
Merry Monday by Parris Bailey
In these thirty some years I have begun to think that I have seen it all when it comes to “weirdness” or downright outrageous. I also realize that our church has been known to attract some very, very interesting people. The good thing about that is that we seem to have never a dull moment at Victory. In our very early years of ministry I was the church’s receptionist, and in walked Frank’s next appointment who sat down in the chair next to me and immediately struck up a conversation with me. Oh, we talked about everything, our hair, our nails, she had unusually strong features. After she left from the appointment with Frank, he came out with a weird look on his face. I was told that the she was really a he and needed deliverance. I guess you could say “welcome to Nola”!
But the Bible, has a way of taking our peculiarities and making it its own. In Titus 2:14 it says, “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” The word peculiar doesn’t mean odd or weird. But is translated from a Greek word which is made up of two words, one which means “around,” as a circle, and the other which means “to be.” It can be charted by a dot within a circle. This will help us to understand the meaning of the combined word. As the circle is around the dot, so God is around each one of His saints. So God has His own all to Himself. They are His own private, unique possession. That is, it is in the sphere of God, circumscribed by God, surrounded by Him.
Someone would have really had to convince me that the people that lived in the Jesus Commune in the 70’s were dots within a circle. All I could see was me living in a funny farm at times. I am sure you have felt the same when around the body of Christ.
This is also a place of high privilege. In 1 Peter 2:7, the Greek has it, “Unto you who believe, is the preciousness.” That is, the preciousness of Jesus is imputed to us. He becomes our preciousness in the eyes of the Father as He becomes our righteousness before the law. The Son dwells in the bosom of the Father, closest to the Father’s affections. Marvelous grace, that we sinners saved by grace are brought into that favored place closest to the Father’s affections. The Father loves us as much as He loves His only begotten Son. What a pillow on which to rest our weary hearts when going through a testing time!
I have heard Frank mention, at times, about his uncle Peck and his Uncle Bud and talks about how he has a little Indian and Asian descent. Peculiar? I should think so! God made the Jewish people peculiar and kept them away from other nations. They were indeed His prized possession. God’s love is intense, tender and peculiar in the way He loves us. He desires a relationship with us that brings us blessings and safeguards within that circle. The birth of Jesus was peculiar and His coming back for His church will be very peculiar. The very name “Ekklesia” signifies “the separated ones”. We are the called out ones.
Wuest says, “Peculiar” is periousion, from the participle of perieinai, “to be over and above.” It also means, “possessed over and above,” that is, “specially selected for one’s own; exempt from ordinary laws of distribution.” It refers therefore to a private possession. The word “peculiar” is from peculium, “a private purse, a special acquisition of a member of a family distinct from the property administered for the good of the whole family.” Thus, Christians are the private possession of God. We are to bear his monogram.
So do we live like we are bought with a price? Do we glorify God in our bodies, surrendering daily to his headship and control? We are brought into a beautiful family of God. So the dot in the circle doesn’t sound so bad after all……