For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,…
The phrase employed in our version, "peculiar people," has no doubt tended to suggest and foster exceedingly erroneous ideas of what God expects His people to be. It certainly does not mean a people who affect all kinds of peculiarities. Not only is this phrase associated with some of the most extraordinary exhibitions of fanaticism that have been witnessed in modern times, but I apprehend that there are not a few earnest and even devoted Christians whose minds have been more or less warped and their lives distorted by a misapprehension of the true significance of the phrase here used. There are some good people whose religion, to the casual observer at any rate, seems mainly to consist in making themselves very extraordinary, and they are disposed to claim that others should copy their peculiarities if they desire to follow the Lord fully. Such persons need to be reminded that God does not seek for an eccentric people, but for a people whose essential singularity lies in the fact that they are His. Be true to your calling as espoused to Christ, and this will save you from having to attempt the solution of many otherwise perplexing questions. You will not then have to ask, as too many Christians do, "How far may I go in the direction of worldly conformity without actually forfeiting my religion?" Can you conceive a loyal and devoted bride making any such inquiry, "How far may I go in the way of associating with those who are the enemies and detractors of my affianced husband, who have done all that they could to wrong him, and rob him, and injure him? How far shall I be justified in choosing such persons for my friends and companions, and in sharing in their pursuits and pleasures where his name is never mentioned except in scorn? What length may I go in this direction without altogether forfeiting his affections, and bringing my relations with him to an abrupt termination?" Pity the bridegroom who has such a bride in prospect! But such a bride the Lord's will never be. We need not court peculiarity; without going out of our way to make ourselves ridiculous or absurd, those of us who live right out for Christ will make themselves peculiar enough in a world that does not live for Christ at all. The man who counts all things dung and dross that he may win Christ, will be a very peculiar person in a world that counts Christ dung and dross so that it may win its own pleasures and gratifications.
(W. H. M. H. Aitken.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,