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“Unction from the Holy One”
“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… 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 2:20-27)
The word translated “unction” in verse 20 is the same word translated “anointing” in verse 27. In the Old Testament, priests, kings, the tabernacle, vessels of the sanctuary, and prophets were anointed with oil (Exodus 28-30; 1 Samuel 16; 1 Kings 19). This anointing was a matter of great honor and dignity, identifying a person or an instrument of service as that which distinctly belonged to God, was used by God, and was under the special care of God.
The anointings of the Old Testament were typical of the gift of God the Holy Ghost in regeneration. Only those who have the Spirit of God can know God and serve God. — “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” So the unction of the Holy One, the unction of Christ is the gift of his quickening, life-giving Spirit in the new birth.
As the anointing of the Spirit is not only quickening, it is also consecrating. In the Old Testament, those things and those people anointed with holy oil were ceremonially consecrated to God. Their only reason for existence was the service of God, his house, and his people.
So it is with the heaven born soul. We are by God the Holy Spirit consecrated to God. Yes, we must and do consecrate ourselves to God. We are admonished to present our bodies a living sacrifice unto God, as our reasonable service. But this we cannot do and will not do, except as God the Holy Ghost graciously enables us, giving us faith in Christ, and sweetly forces us to give ourselves to him. O Holy Ghost, ever compel us to consecrate ourselves to God our Savior to live only for him!
That which was anointed of God in the Old Testament was peculiarly and distinctly under God’s care and protection. — “Touch not mine anointed” is God’s word to all men, angels, devils, and creatures, indeed, to all creation, and providence.
So it is today. God’s elect, being born again by omnipotent grace, are given faith in Christ, and are sealed by “an unction of the Holy One” (Ephesians 1:13-14). By the gift of his Holy Spirit to us, by whom we trust the Lord Jesus, God our Savior seals to us all the blessings of covenant grace and salvation, assuring us of preservation in life and resurrection glory with him who loved us and gave himself for us (Ephesians 4:30).
“The unction of the Holy One” is quickening, consecrating, and sealing. And “an unction of the Holy One” is the gift of “the mind of Christ” to all who are “made partakers of the Divine nature” in the new birth. All who have this “unction” “know all things.”
The gift of God the Holy Ghost, this “unction” of God, brings to every heaven born soul the wonderful, God-given capacity to receive and understand the things of God. The natural man has no such capacity. He cannot know the things of the Spirit of God. Indeed, to him they are foolishness (1 Corinthians 2:14). Carnal intelligence will not enlighten fallen man’s spiritual darkness. All the learning in the world and all the wisdom of the world are impotent to help. — “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Yet, the least experienced believer, the most unlearned, most illiterate child of heaven, being indwelt by the Spirit of God, having “an unction from the Holy One” has a capacity by which he knows even the deep things of God.
“Ye know all things” does not mean saved sinners know all things without limit. That omniscience God alone possess. John is addressing the matter of saving knowledge, which the reprobate cannot possess, no matter how religious they may be, and no matter how learned they may be in religious things.
John here tells us that every heaven-born soul possesses a power of discernment that enables him to discern all things (1 Corinthians 2:15). We know all things necessary for our salvation. We know all that we need to know to secure our souls from the delusions of antichrist.
We have all saving knowledge, such as none but the Spirit of God can give. This is an intuitive knowledge. It is not acquired by deep learning, constant study, or precise logic. It comes to us by Divine revelation. It is the result of a living union of faith with Jesus Christ. This is an inward, assured, undoubted knowledge. — Wonderful, blessed provision of grace!