20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.[a] 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.” (I John 2:20-21)
During one occasion I had to teach from I John, a friend of mine came up to me to share two thoughts on his heart. First, he thought I was doing a good job in accurately explaining the particular biblical text we had been studying from the epistle. However, the second thought he expressed was a criticism that I had not place enough, or any, emphasis on the person and work of the Holy Spirit.
I John 2:20-21 focuses our attention upon the work of and by the Holy Spirit. In a word, the Spirit’s work is a called an anointing. John says, “But you have been anointed by the Holy One.”
The word “anointed” (χρῖσμα; chrisma) means to assign a person to a task, with the implication of supernatural sanctions, blessing, and endowment—‘to anoint, to assign, and to appoint. A strictly literal rendering of χρίω or χρῖσμα is ‘to pour oil upon.’ However, in place of a literal rendering of χρίω or χρῖσμα, it is often necessary to employ some such expression as ‘to be appointed by God’ or ‘to be given a special task by God.’
This anointing of the individual believer to a particular task by the Holy Spirit is a present and active work based upon a preceding activity by the Spirit at the believer’s conversion. What is foundationally involved in the Holy One’s current anointing of the believer in Christ?
The foundational work by the Holy Spirit, which is reflected in the Spirit’s ongoing anointing of the believer in Christ, is as follows.
- John 3:1-3; Titus 3; I John 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:4, 9-10, 18. This is the new birth. It is being born of God.
- I Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 4:4-6. The Spirit’s work of placing the believer into union with Christ.
- Romans 8:9; I Corinthians 3:16; 6:19-20; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:22. The believer, by the Spirit’s indwelling, becomes a temple of the Holy Spirit.
- Romans 12:6-8; I Corinthians 12:11. Spiritual gifts are God-given abilities for service.
- 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30. Four primary truths are signified by the seal: 1) security (cf. Dan. 6:17; Matt. 27:62–66); 2) authenticity (cf. 1 Kings 21:6–16); 3) ownership (cf. Jer. 32:10); and 4) authority (cf. Est. 8:8–12). The Holy Spirit is given by God as his pledge of the believer’s future inheritance in glory (cf. 2 Cor. 1:21).
- Ephesians 5:18; Colossians 3:16; Galatians 5:22-23. The Spirit’s filling refers to the Holy Spirit controlling the individual. The evidence of the Spirit’s filling is the Fruit of the Spirit.
- I Corinthians 2:1-13. The ability the Spirit gives to each believer in order to comprehend and understand the spiritual implications and meaning of the biblical text.
Dr. John MacArthur explains that, “Two characteristics mark genuine Christians in contrast to the Antichrists. First, the Holy Spirit (“the anointing,” v. 27) guards them from error (cf. Acts 10:38; 2 Cor. 1:21). Christ as the Holy One (Luke 4:34; Acts 3:14) imparts the Holy Spirit as their illuminating guardian from deception. Second, the Holy Spirit guides the believer into knowing “all things” (John 14:26; 16:13). True Christians have a built-in lie detector and persevere in the truth. Those who remain in heresy and apostasy manifest the fact that they were never genuinely born again (cf. 1 John 2:19).”
Take time today thank God for the anointing by the Holy Spirit in your life. What task(s) has God prepared for you to accomplish for His honor and glory. Ask God to reveal what those responsibilities are to you. May each of us be obedient to the Spirit’s calling and direction.
May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!