1 John 2:20–23 (ESV)
But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.
This passage completes the lesson with two exclamation points. You are sealed to Christ by an anointing, and belief in Christ is inseparable from belief in the Father.
In the Jewish culture of the day, the Hebrew word translated as anoint (מָשַׁחְ “ma-shakh”) had special significance. While mashakh literally means to apply or pour, it can have special meaning. If a prophet anoints someone (pours oil on them), it seals them for an office. It’s how Samuel marked Saul as the next king. Later he did the same to David, while he was still a shepherd boy. Those anointings weren’t merely symbolic gestures; they were certifications.
The meaning for the Greek word translated as “anoint” (χρίσμα “chrisma”) is similarly special. It’s the root word for Christ. Jesus is the anointed one. This is born of the Hebrew meaning. Anoint in this context means to set apart or mark someone.
Our anointing, while not equal to Jesus’s, is still important. Our anointing from the Holy One marks us as belonging to Him. We are sealed to Him. It’s permanent.
In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. — Ephesians 1:13–14 (ESV)
John wraps things up with an explanation of the equivalence between belief in the Son and belief in the Father. John is saying that they’re inseparable. Denying the Son means denying the Father, and acknowledging the Son means acknowledging the Father. You can’t have one without the other.
John states this equivalence in the strongest possible terms. The denier is the liar and the antichrist.
John’s alarming words here are intended to put his readers on high alert. False teachers are not merely people who need to be reasoned with; they are of the father of lies and quite dangerous.
John is telling his readers that they know the truth already. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it.
This is to combat a common way that people are led astray—being convinced to reconsider things that should be settled in their minds. His readers should stick to what they know is true and see the enemies of Christ for what they are.
so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. — Ephesians 4:14 (ESV)
These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.