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What is the anointing that we as Christians receive from God?

“But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you” (1 John 2:27, NKJV). 

John speaks to the importance of our abiding in truth and not abandoning that truth for a lie. Any other gospel, any other source of spiritual life, can only be a counterfeit. Like a fake gold watch, it will tarnish and break and disappoint. 

John is concerned that we abide in Christ. But his ultimate confidence that we will abide in Christ and realize true life – spiritual, abundant, and eternal – is not rooted in our efforts to abide, but in God’s efforts on our behalf. 

That’s why John goes on to speak of the anointing that abides in us. “But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him” (1 John 2:27). 

What is this anointing that we as Christians receive from God? It is the presence of God Himself who takes up residence in our hearts and seals us as His own. 

The background for John’s teaching here can be found in what our Lord Jesus said in the upper room. “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:16–18). 

When John speaks of our being taught the truth, he is pointing us to the Holy Spirit. “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you” (John 16:13–15). 

While we gain assurance of our salvation through telltale signs of God’s workmanship, such as love for others and conviction of the truth revealed, our confidence is grounded in the God who appointed our salvation, accomplished it for us, and applied it to us. He holds us fast. Jesus will lose none of those the Father has given Him. 

The upshot of it all is that we will not be disappointed. “And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him” (1 John 2:28–29). As children of God, we bear the family resemblance. 

How does anointing relate to abiding?

Stan Gale

Stanley D. Gale (MDiv Westminster, DMin Covenant) has pastored churches in Maryland and Pennsylvania for over 30 years. He is the author of several books, including A Vine-Ripened Life: Spiritual Fruitfulness through Abiding in Christ and The Christian’s Creed: Embracing the Apostolic Faith. He has been married to his wife, Linda, since 1975. They have four children and ten grandchildren. He lives in West Chester, Pa.
Books by Stan Gale

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