By Gregg Bing
When we hear the expression “God’s chosen people,” we usually think of the nation of Israel. The apostle Peter referred to Israel as God’s “own special people” (“peculiar people” in the KJV) (I Pet. 2:9). Throughout most of the Old Testament Scriptures (from Genesis 12 on) as well as during the gospels period and even into the book of Acts, this was true, but during this present dispensation of the grace of God, the nation of Israel is not God’s chosen people. As a nation, Israel has been set aside, and God’s promises to them of a future restoration and an earthly kingdom have been postponed, for a time. Today, God is dealing with a new people, the church, the body of Christ, of which all believers, whether Jew or Gentile, are members. In Titus 2:14 the apostle Paul uses the same expression we find in I Peter 2:9, God’s “own special people,” but while Peter used it of Israel, Paul uses it to describe the church of this age.
“Who (Jesus Christ) 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.” (Titus 2:11-14)
The Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself on the cross of Calvary for us, dying for the sins of the whole world. All who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior are baptized by the Holy Spirit into the church, the body of Christ. As we examine this verse, we find four things that Christ’s sacrificial death accomplished to make us “His own special people.” To begin with, we see from this verse that the church is:
A Purchased People
Christ gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from every lawless deed (KJV “all iniquity”). He purchased us with His own precious blood. He paid the ransom to free us from all lawlessness, that is from all sin. We are free from the penalty of our lawless deeds, which is death, but we are also free from the power of sin in our daily lives (Rom. 6:7).
The church is also seen to be:
A Purified People
Christ gave Himself for us that He might “purify us” for Himself. He has cleansed us from sin and its evil stain upon our lives. We have been “sanctified” or set apart from all sin. We read in Ephesians 5:25-27 that,
“…Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
Christ gave Himself for us that we might be purified or cleansed. He did so that we might be presented to Him! Before we could be presented to a holy God, we had to be cleansed or purified from every sin or defect. We had to be “without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.” We had to be “holy and without blemish.” We could never accomplish this on our own. Only God, through Christ, could so purify us that we might be presented to Him.
Titus 2:14 also describes the church as:
A Possessed People
The expression “His own special people” literally means a people of His own possession, a people that are His own. Having been redeemed, purchased, by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, we need to realize that we now belong to God.
“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (I Cor. 6:19-20)
Finally, we see from Titus 2:14 that the church is to be:
A Passionate People
We often emphasize (and rightly so) that salvation is by the grace of God, through faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross, and not by any good works which we have done (Eph. 2:8-9, Tit. 3:5). However, we need to remember that we are “God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, for good works” (Eph. 2:10). God has prepared good works that we are to walk in. Our passage in Titus 2:14 says that as God’s own special people, we are to be “zealous” for these good works. The word “zealous” comes from a root word which means “to boil with heat, or to be hot.” To be zealous means to burn with zeal or eagerness, or you might say, to be passionate for. As God’s special people in this present age of grace, we are to have a passion for serving the Lord, a burning desire to faithfully walk in those good works that He has prepared for us.
What a wonderful blessing to know that we are God’s own special people for this present age, and to see all that was accomplished when Christ gave Himself for us. As you consider these truths from God’s Word, may they have a real impact upon your life and service for Him.