“Do You Live In This Anointing?”
Reflections on I John 2:27
First John is a book written to discuss the character of the believer. Specifically, it examines the predicament of sin, as it relates to the life of a child of God. In chapter one, John briefly reminds his readers of the incarnate nature of Christ. The opening passage (vss. 1-4) states the entire purpose of the book, concluding with the statement, ‘that our joy may be made complete (NASB).
Understanding the destructive power of sin, the Apostle shares insightful imagery contrasting the person of God and the presence of sin. In chapter one, verses five through ten, John offers the contrast of light and darkness. Here, he states the fact that “God is light.” Note, that he does not say, “God is a Light,” for, that would allow for other sources of light. Nor does he write, “God is the Light,” because this may separate God from “light” in an unmanageable fashion. Rather, the author merely states that “God is light,” so as to convey his message accurately. As God is light, so light is God.
In I John 1:5, the Greek word translated “light” is φῶς, (‘phos’), a neuter noun which means a light that reveals. This is the same Greek word used in John 1:19, which describes Christ as the ‘True Light’ that enlightens men. The idea behind φῶς is no simply its presence, but rather its power.
At the close of verse 5, John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, writes that in God “there is no darkness at all.” Note that darkness is totally absent in God. Where there is God (φῶς) there is no darkness. Such a statement may appear to support the idea of perfectionism. However, such an understanding is not the intent of John. The absence of darkness in God is a statement of fact. God is light, φῶς. As His children, we are bearers of this light (Matthew 5:14) and have been called to walk in this light (I John 1:7). Nonetheless, John’s letter clearly and accurately reflects the fact that believers will sin (I John 1:9-10) and that God has furnished a means for addressing our sin (I John 2:1).
Having acknowledged both the presence of light and darkness, John encourages his readers with the words “the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining (I John 2:8). The phrase “passing away” (παράγεται) means to move from one point to another, or to disappear from the presence of another (see Matthew 9:27; Matthew 20:30). According to John ‘darkness’ is in the process of being removed from our sight. This speaks to the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit working in the life of a believer. “My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin” (I John 2:1). As the child of God continues to grow in grace, the power of the Holy Spirit enables them to flee from sin (I Corinthians 6:18; II Timothy 2:22) and resist the tempter, the devil (James 4:7). These actions cause the “passing away” (παράγεται) of darkness from our lives.
However, the Apostle states, that “the true light is already shining” (I John 2:8). The use of the phrase “true light” is a certain reference to John’s first letter, a Gospel, written many years earlier. In John 1:9, the Apostle writes, “There was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.” This ‘Light,’ of course, is a reference to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Light of the world (John 8:12). As the true Light, Christ is already shining ( John 2:8) in the lives of His followers; even while darkness was present.
The darkness of I John is a metaphorical statement against sin. Throughout the book John discusses the presence, power and consequences of sin in the lives of those called by Christ’s name. “What is translated in the N.T. as ‘darkness” may be one of two Greek words: skotos, which symbolizes sin itself (Strong’s #4655), or skotia (Strong’s # 4653), which symbolizes the consequence of sin.” In the book of I John all sin is being addressed. However, an emphasis is being placed against deliberate, habitual sin in the lives of believers.
Some preachers have shunned the topic of sin, believing that it may cause a reduction in offerings or social acceptance. In the book of Lamentations, the prophet Jeremiah railed against such preachers when he wrote, “Your prophets have seen for you false and foolish visions; and they have not exposed your iniquity so as to restore you from captivity (Lamentations 2:14).
As the Apostle loving dwelt with the sin issue he found among God’s people, he offers them a word of encouragement. This word is found in chapter two, verse twenty-seven. This verse reads, “And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.”
Here, in a single verse, John the Beloved, instructs his saved, yet sinful, listeners to look within themselves for … the anointing of the Lord. As human beings, we often associate the word anointing with an outward activity performed by one person to another. While is may be the case in some instances, the anointing that John is referencing is NOT this type of anointing. Instead, this anointing is conducted by God, and is inward, not outward. Furthermore, this anointing is not something to be sought after in the future, but rather remembered in the past (‘which you received from Him).
The word ‘anointing’ (χρίσμα) is used twice in I John 2:27, and in both instances refers to a past action that produced current results. The first reference states that this anointing abides (rest) in a believer, and because of this abiding action, the child of God does not require another person to teach them. Couple this statement with the words of Christ found in John 14:26, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”
Spiritual ignorance is a choice made by someone professing Christ as Savior, yet refusing to be taught by the Helper, the Holy Spirit. Ultimately, it is His responsibility to teach Christians “all things.” Yes, He chooses to use pastors and teachers, however, the anointing that a person received when they accepted Christ as their personal Savior, came with the perfect teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit. Because this same Spirit lives inside of our spirit (John 3:6) every child of God has an ever-present ‘Teacher’ (Helper, John14:26) that has anointed us with Himself in the past, so as to equip us for our present opportunities and challenges.
The result of this past anointing is that believers can now be taught, or imparted knowledge, regarding all things (I John 2:27). This past anointing has present ramifications, in that we are now able to know things without the involvement of man. This fact may rightly be called possessing a spirit of discernment. And, this discernment naturally leads a believer to have a greater desire to abide (rest) with the Lord. “…but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him (I John 2:27).
So, my question to you is this: do you have this anointing in your life? That is to say, are you born again? If so, when have you last claimed this anointing power on your life? Perhaps the power and presence of sin have discouraged you in your Christian race of faith. Perhaps you feel you may never experience any new victory in ministry. Perhaps you have sought or are seeking a new anointing at the hands of man, so as to gain a renewed relationship with God.
Instead, might I invite you to consider going back to the “Anointing, which you received from Him” that still abides in you (Colossians 1:27). This anointing was given to you at the time of your new birth, in the form of the Holy Spirit. Although accomplished in the past, it continues to product present-day results. In this present age, this anointing enables you to be taught by the hand of God the Spirit, things that no man can teach you. This anointing stands ready to equip you with knowledge beyond that of Solomon; knowledge to vast to be bound in the library’s of man; knowledge so perfect that it must be spoken only by the voice of God to the ears of man.
In this present age, at this present time, does your life reflect this anointing?
 Taken from study notes found in the Hebrew-Greek Study Bible by Spiros Zodhiates, p. 1661).