April 19, 2015
1 John 2:20-21
But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth.
Do you have the anointing?
Anointing. Now there’s a good old fashioned Bible word. But what does it mean? It conjures up imagery of being “anointed” with oil, but that’s not what this refers to. John here speaks of the inward reality of what any outward sign might point to. There’s the sign and then there’s the reality the sign points to. John is talking about something placed by God– the Holy One– in the inner life of a follower of Jesus.
The anointing describes the illuminated intersection of the Word of God and the Spirit of God within the life of a believer. This anointing, the holy intersection of Word and Spirit, brings us to a place of “knowing” the truth, beyond mere knowledge of it. The anointing brings wisdom and discernment. The anointing is another way of saying, “Christ in you.” The anointing leads us faithfully into the will of God. It is the inner instrument, the GPS, of a follower of Jesus. The anointing brings us to the sacred place Paul spoke of to the Corinthian Church:
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
the things God has prepared for those who love him—
these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for,
“Who has known the mind of the Lord
so as to instruct him?”
But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:9-16.
It’s important to note here that the anointing cannot be reduced to either the Word of God or the Spirit of God, as though one without the other would suffice. I think this is the big difference between orthodoxy and heresy; true and false teaching. On the one hand, history is littered with false teachers who claimed a subjective “spiritual revelation” that went beyond the “objective word of God.” The Book of Mormon comes to mind. On the other hand, there has been no shortage of false teachers who claim the “Spirit” has revealed an interpretation or understanding of the Bible that departs from the universally established teaching of the Church. In both instances we get false teaching. When John references “antichrists” in the text he is making a direct play in the Greek language to define the opposite as those who have the “Chrism” or “anointing.”
To grow in maturity as a follower of Jesus means to grow in the anointing. It’s why false teaching is so detrimental. It leads us away from the anointing.
More than anything, the people of God need to claim the anointing. This will require a fundamental training in a Word-shaped, Spirit-filled life. The anointing is the supernatural life springing forth from this kind of discipleship.
So how about it. Do you have the anointing?
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J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get the Daily Text delivered to your inbox fresh every morning. Subscribe HERE.