Sunday, January 22, 2012
First John Chapter Two, Part Nine
2:20-21 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
Christians have an unction from the Holy One. The word translated “unction” here is the Greek “chrisma” and simply means anointing. It is used only three times in the New Testament; once here as “unction” and two other times translated as “anointing.” All three times occur in John’s epistle.
2:27 uses “chrisma” twice, stating “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.”
The concept of anointing or unction can be traced back to Christianity’s Jewish roots in Judaism. When a prophet, priest or king was recognized publicly they were anointed with oil in the name of the Lord, such as King Jehu of Israel when Elisha’s servant anointed him, 2nd Kings 9:1, 6. The Psalmist writes: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore,” Psalm 133:1-3.
This anointing or unction covered a man from head to toe. According to John in verse 27 it abides with Christians and teaches Christians all things so that we have need of no man to teach us. Christ our Lord employs similar language elsewhere regarding the purpose of the Holy Spirit. “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you… But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you,” John 14:16-17, 26. It is interesting and useful to note that the Holy Spirit presently dwelt WITH the apostles prior to Christ’s death, but Jesus promises that at a future time He shall be (future tense) IN them, a promise of the indwelling presence of the Spirit beginning at Pentecost.
Such Christians know all things. This is not a proclamation of omniscience, which only God possesses; see John 16:30. No, John is reminding Christians that we know all things pertaining to life and godliness through the revelation of Scripture as inspired by the Holy Spirit, 2nd Peter 1:3, 20-21; Romans 15:4; 2nd Timothy 3:16-17. These Christians John writes to are contrasted against those who “went out from us.” Faithful saints operate under the auspices of the Holy Spirit; those who reject Biblical revelation operate under the guidance of the spirit who will culminate in the personage of the future Antichrist. In one very real sense they are every bit as much his disciples as we are Christ’s followers.
John wrote to these Christians to remind them that they knew the truth about Christ and God, and that no lie is of the truth. To put it plainly, truth and error do not come from the same source. “Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh,” James 3:11-12. Armed with the truth of Scripture as the Holy Spirit expounds it to us, we can be protected against the heresies of antichristian teachers who seek to corrupt and pervert Christianity from without or within. From such teachers we are to turn away, 1st Timothy 1:19-20; 6:3-5; 2nd Peter 2:1-3; Matthew 24:5, 11; Titus 3:10-11.
John left a simple means for Christians to practice discernment and test the spirits: if a teacher deviates from the cardinal truths of Scripture regarding God by adding to it, taking from it, or altering it in part or wholly, they are not a teacher sent by God but are in fact enemies of the true God. We are not to accept such teachers in our church or give them place to teach. “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house (house church), neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds,” 2nd John 1:10-11. If the devil’s in the pulpit the saints ought not to remain in the building, as it were. Discernment is a spiritual gift sadly lacking today, and the Christians who dare to exercise it and speak out against antichristian teachings promoted even within the church are often castigated for being puritanical, overly-literal or divisive. Yet John, by inspiration of the Spirit whose church we are, commanded such division for the sake of the purity of Christ’s bride: us. We know the truth, we know Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior; we are duty bound, obligated and indebted to our Lord to detect and reveal error wherever it resides.