About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
As I write this article in 2019, I am sixty-seven years old. I have spent most of my adult life in Pentecostal/Charismatic Christianity, where many people equate the anointing of the Spirit on one's life, often called "the anointing," with some kind of super-spiritual sounding, emotionally-laced, preaching, prayer, or prophecy.
The basic Biblical
meaning of anointing is "to pour," as in pouring anointing oil
onto someone (James 5:14, Hebrews 1:9). The
word "anointing" occurs two times in both the KJV and RSV New
Testament, three times in the NIV, CSB, and, five times in the NASB.
As it pertains to Christians, the word "anointing" is not
often used in the New Testament. The
concept, however, of the Holy Spirit being poured into and onto people in
the book of Acts is often seen.
The apostle John
wrote about the anointing in 1 John 2:20.
He said this:
"But you have
an anointing from the Holy One, and all of
you know the truth."
He went on to write
this in 1 John 2:27.
"As for you,
the anointing you received from him remains
in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But
as his anointing teaches you about all
things and as that anointing is real, not
counterfeit — just as it has taught you, remain in him."
background helps us to understand the context in which John used the word
community of believers to whom John was writing had been split apart
because of heretical teachings concerning the divinity of Jesus and what
constituted sin. For this
reason, John reminded his readers that they had received an anointing from
the Holy One that would enable them to distinguish between true teaching
and false teaching. That does
not sound like super-spiritual emotionalism to me.
Rather, it sounds intellectually practical in a confusing situation
that needed, what I call, Biblically literate discernment.
would have received this anointing in the same way John, and one hundred
and nineteen others received it. In
Acts 2 we read that John and his associates received the Holy Spirit into
their lives by means of an anointing, or as Peter described it in Acts
2:17, by means of the Holy Spirit being "poured out" into their
lives. For John and his
readers, the fundamental meaning of the anointing as it applies to
Christians, is the process by which one receives the Holy Spirit into his
life, making him a born-again believer.
In this sense of the word, all true Christians are anointed.
I acknowledge that
the book of Acts provides us with many examples where born-again believers
were re-anointed with the Spirit so they could effectively perform certain
tasks to accomplish God's will. Nevertheless,
I believe, we are in error when we suggest that some Christians are more
anointed than others because of their super-spiritual sounding,
emotionally-laced, preaching, prayer, or prophecy.
As is the case with all Biblical concepts, a Biblically balanced
understanding of the anointing of the Spirit will produce a Biblical
balanced Christian, and we sure need more of those these days.