Friday, March 22, 2024

The Vision (3.22.24): The Anointing of the Believer


Image: Morning view, North Garden, Virginia, March 2024

Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on 1 John 2:24-29.

But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things (1 John 2:20).

But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him (1 John 2:27).

In the epistle of I John the apostle writes to a church that is battling false teachers (antichrists) (2:18) and has experienced schism (2:19).

One of his words of assurance is to remind them that they have the anointing of the Holy Spirit. The term in Greek is chrisma. It appears only three times in the NT and all three are in 1 John 2 (vv. 20, 27). It is translated as “unction” in 2:20 and as “anointing” in 2:27.

The best way to understand this term is as a reference to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. In his public ministry Christ promised the disciples he would send “the Comforter,” “the Spirit of truth” to them who would “dwell with you, and shall be in you” (John 14:16-17; cf. John 14:26; 16:13). Paul also writes to believers about the “Spirit of God” which dwells in them (see Romans 8:9, 11).

In v. 20 Christ said that with the unction of the Holy Spirit believers will “know all things.” This is especially related to discernment. With the Spirit’s help they will be able to know the antichrists and not to follow them. John reinforces this in 2:27, “the same anointing teacheth you of all things.”

John also says something in 1 John 2:27 that might be easily misconstrued. He states, “and ye need not that any man teach you.” Was Christ calling for some kind of radical egalitarian community where there would be no human teachers? Or where, perhaps, everyone was a teacher? To understand John’s meaning we must appeal to “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27), as articulated in the Reformation principle of Scripture interpreting Scripture.

What does the NT convey about teachers in the church? Christ gives “pastors and teachers” to the church, “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body” (see Ephesians 4:11-12). Paul noted that local church bishops are to be “apt to teach” (1 Timothy 3:2). He stated that not everyone should be a master (teacher) (Hebrews 3:1). He also said that the one who is taught should support “him that teacheth in all good things” (Galatians 6:6).

1 John 2:27 cannot be cherry picked to say that there is no role for teachers in the church.

John’s point, however, is to say that believers have a Teacher whose expertise and skill and power and influence will necessarily take precedence over every human teacher, and that is the indwelling Holy Spirit of God. Since the believer has this anointing, he will be guided into discernment. He does not, for example, rely on the magisterium of the Roman Church or the magisterium of the secular academy, but upon the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is not some “extra-ordinary” gift for only some believers. It is an “ordinary” gift given to all believers. We are thankful for the Holy Spirit which dwells in each follower of the Lord Jesus Christ and teaches him all things needed for life and godliness.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

No comments: