“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 Private Purse”
May the Spirit of truth impress upon our heart the reason why He gave Himself for us; “that He might…. purify unto Himself a peculiar people.” Not only to redeem us from something but more importantly unto something. The church in our day as a whole has as its focus that we have been redeemed; how true and wonderful that is. But redemption’s purpose is not simply to grant us forgiveness that we might go out and live our lives unto ourselves, but rather that we live unto HIM. The very Greek word for redemption used here implies more than something paid to obtain release. It speaks of the very release itself. Religion is very content with a legal statement; in the New Testament there is a Greek Word that is also translated redeem to convey this thought. But a heart that desires truth sees this as the starting point not the end. Paul is stressing here the reality of this truth; to be redeemed is unto something and that something is a purified life unto Him. In the very process of becoming purified unto Him we become a peculiar people! We hear all kinds of puns about the people of God being peculiar in reference to something other than a good thing. But, the English word peculiar is from a Latin word* that means a private purse. The implication of the private purse is one where special and private resources have been set aside for those who are in Christ Jesus. This word was used to describe a special fund which was appointed for the training, supporting and financing of a family member which was outside or in addition to the regular allowance for the household. In other words the people of God should be experiencing a life that has additional resources to which those outside of the New Covenant have no access! This is a build on the original Greek word used here and is the only time it is used in the entire New Testament. The Greek Word “periousios” comes from two Greek Words “peri” (beyond) and “ousia” (substance or being) commonly used words such as abundance, exceeding, and others are dim expressions of all that this word implies. In other words, HE has come that we might live beyond the substance of our own resources! It is with such things in view that the scripture declares…
“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,
neither have entered into the heart of man,
the things which God hath prepared for them
that love him.”
I Corinthians 2:9
Purified unto a peculiar people by the redemptive ACT of God! Purified until the motive of our heart is single; for if “our eye be single, our body is full of light”. If in all our trials God has produced in us a pure heart we will with single purpose seek to glorify HIM in them. If there are other motives at work the trials will reveal those and we then have the opportunity to allow HIM to burn off the dross that the purity of HIS heart may shine forth. The Christian life is not a life that is lived in the absence of trials but one in which through the trials we begin to discover the “private purse”. We learn how to draw from the abundant resources of the living Christ that in every circumstance we might live unto the Glory of HIS Holy Name. The private purse; a hidden resource of which this world knows nothing. A power that flows out of weakness, a richness that is freely given out of poverty and a life that is lived to a fullness out of death. Such wonder and power is ours by the God of all Grace taking upon Himself the initiative of redeeming us “from all iniquity… unto HIMSELF!” May the truth of these things stir our hearts afresh to walk in the power, the life and the Glory that is ours in Christ Jesus.
“Now unto HIM that is able to keep you from falling,
and to present you faultless
before the presence of HIS Glory
with exceeding joy.
To the only wise GOD our saviour,
be glory and majesty, dominion and power,
both NOW and ever, AMEN.”
Jude 1:24 – 25
*NOTE: Περιούσιος is from the participle of περιεῖναι to be over and above: hence περιουσία abundance, plenty. Περιούσιος also means possessed over and above, that is, specially selected for one’s own; exempt from ordinary laws of distribution. Hence correctly represented by peculiar, derived 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. (Vincent Word Studies)
The Authorized Version “peculiar” expresses the sense exactly, and the περιούσιος of our text and of the LXX., from whom it is borrowed, is meant to define either that special reserved portion of a man’s property over and above what he spends for ordinary expenses, which nobody can interfere with, or those jewels on which he sets a special value, and places safely in his treasury. (The Pulpit Commentary)
The thought expressed here is two-fold.
- Where the purified believer has access to a private purse of provision and supply above and beyond the ordinary provisions of the regular house-hold
- The purified believer is to become a “peculiar” or set apart possession of the master of the house. This is speaking of a sanctified life where the one which has been set aside for a “peculiar” purpose is a prized possession of the Master.
“If a man therefore purge himself from these,
he shall be a vessel unto honour,
sanctified, and meet for the master’s use…”
2 Timothy 2:21