What Does 1 John 2:20 Mean?

But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.

1 John 2:20(HCSB)

Verse Thoughts

What blessings are given to those who believe in the name of the only begotten Son of God. What joy is ours when we are born-again of the Spirit. We are regenerated. We are brought back into a relationship with God and declared righteous in His sight. The indwelling Holy Spirit, Who comes to reside within the body of all believers empowers us from above with divine energy.

He gives us sufficient grace to carry out the good works that God has prepared for us to do. We are baptised spiritually, into the Body of Christ and brought into a living union with the lovely Lord Jesus. We are sealed by the Spirit, preserved and protected, and we are kept safe and secure by the power of God until the day of redemption, and nothing can pluck us out of His hands.

Spiritual regeneration; the baptism of the Spirit; His sealing of believers and the Holy Spirit's indwelling ministry in the Body of Christ takes place.. only once, in the life of a believer - i.e. at his or her salvation. However, there are many other wonderful offices the Spirit undertakes in the life of a Christian, that are ongoing throughout our time on earth, and are often called His 'experiential' inner workings. The Spirit's 'experiential' work is where He comforts and convicts; He intercedes and teaches; He fills us and bestows on us spiritual gifts, and He guards and guides us into all truth.

In 1 John chapter 2, we discover a ministry of the Holy Spirit not mentioned elsewhere in Scripture - His 'unction' or His 'anointing'. "You have an UNCTION from the Holy One", we read in the KJV translation, "and ye know all things," while in other renderings, we read, "You have an ANOINTING from the Holy One, and all of you have knowledge."

As this is the only place in the New Testament that refers to the 'unction' or 'anointing' of the Spirit, it is important to know how it relates to the Spirit's work in the rest of Scripture. It seems that His 'unction' or 'anointing' corresponds with His 'indwelling' ministry, which takes place at the moment of salvation. However, the Spirit's indwelling ministry is necessary for every other office He undertakes in a believer's life.

An unbeliever is barred from all the ministries He performs in the life of a Christian, but because a believer has the 'unction' of the Spirit or the Spirit's 'anointing'... i.e. because a believer is indwelt by the Spirit, they have access to His other Church-age ministries. One has to be born-again, made spiritually alive in Christ, and possess the indwelling Spirit of God in their human frame, to access His comfort and help, His correction and teaching, His direction and ministry of intercession. 

Every sinner who is saved by grace, has his human spirit regenerated by the Holy Spirit, Who sanctified us and draws us closer to Christ. He helps us in our prayer life and guides us into all truth. He teaches us all things and anoints us with His divine power. He comforts and corrects us and bestows spiritual gifts on each child of God and He causes spiritual fruit to bud and blossom in the life of those that are walking in spirit and truth.

In this passage, John is explaining to believers that they were living in the last hour and that the time was short. They were living in the end-times. John reminded his readers that he had already taught them about the soon-coming antichrist and that many antichrists had already appeared in the world. He identified them as false teachers who had an appearance of godliness, but deny God's sustaining power... and because these deceptive people had gone out from the body of believers, they demonstrated they were not genuine in their faith - for had they been so, they would have remained. Sadly, such people who return to the world, show they are not part of the body - 'by their fruit, you will know them'.

It is at this point that John explains that unlike these false teachers and false-hearted 'believers... THEY had an unction from the Holy Spirit; THEY had the anointing of the Holy Spirit; THEY had been born-again and had the indwelling Holy Spirit of God - "But YOU have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all have knowledge," he explained. And because of this anointing, they were God's children and had access to all-knowledge.

Like the readers of John's epistle, WE have the indwelling Holy Spirit. We are positioned in Christ, by faith in Him. We have the mind of Christ. What a privilege to have the unction of the Holy One of God, Who comforts and corrects, teaches and encourages, guides us into all truth and carries out all the experiential ministries of the Holy Spirit, in the lives of all believers, during this Church age.

John continues to explain to his readers that false teachers and those who deny the Son do not know the Father and do not have access to Him, while the one who confesses the Son.. also has the Father. May we take these encouraging words of John to heart, knowing that unlike false teachers and unbelievers... "WE have an anointing from the Holy One, and we have all knowledge".

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, how we praise and thank You for the anointing of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Thank You that we are born-again of the Spirit and washed in the blood of the Lamb. Thank You that the unction of the Holy One is upon all who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin and life everlasting. Thank You, Father, that we are positioned in Christ... Who is the fount of all wisdom and knowledge and that by grace we have the mind of Christ and the sufficient strength to accomplish all that You would have us to do. Help me to walk in newness of life and to live according to Your mercy and word.. and to do only those things that honour Your holy name - This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN. 

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