1 John 2:15-29 • But You Have An Anointing


There seems to be certain words or phrases which people in the Church act upon without understanding their true biblical definition, and one at the top of that list is most certainly “anointing”. It is interesting that one of the most misrepresented stories in Scripture by which the wrong concept of anointing is perpetuated is what took place between Elijah and Elisha. The incorrect application often say, “Elisha got a double anointing from Elijah” without paying attention to the text, which categorically states that what passed between them was “a double portion of your spirit” (Elijah’s spirit)—not an “anointing” of the Holy Spirit. Such a misunderstanding is cleared up in passages like this in the New Testament. And we will learn that misquotations like this of Scripture are the precise hallmarks of someone who has anything but a true anointing.

Read verses 15-17

Q: What does the Bible mean when it employs the term “world” like this?

A: It is referring to the present order of things as opposed to the kingdom of Christ. Hence, it is always transient, worthless, evil and completely rooted in the flesh. It is designed to blind people to Christ and allow Satan to take the place of God.

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

— 2 Corinthians 4:3-4

Q: What is the inherent conflict which is established here?

A: The “love of the world/things of the world” vs. the “love of the Father”.

Q: What does the world-system use to keep someone fixated on the world? What do they all have in common?

  1. “…the lust of the flesh” (v.16)
  2. “…the lust of the eyes” (v.16)
  3. “…the boastful pride of life” (v.16)

They are all rooted in lust.

Q: What, exactly, is lust?

A: According to these three aspects, it is an unhealthy fixation of the flesh, eyes, and/or pride. Instead of good or controlled desires, they are polluted—that is, tainted by sin. Worldly lust only wants to please, profit or honor one’s self.

Q: But what is the particular danger stated here which results from this pursuit of self?

A: We will fail to fulfill the will of God, and therefore suffer eternal consequences.

Application: Notice that biblical “love” for God is measured by obedience to His Word and ways, not by emotions or feelings for God, whereas “lust” for the world is completely rooted in emotions and feelings for one’s self.

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

— John 14:15

Read verses 18-23

Q: How does John know that they “know the truth”?

A: Because that is the only way they could be in a right relationship with God.

Q: What is the pre-qualification in order to be able to discern antichrist figures?

A: It is the previous verses, where we can prove our authentic love for the Father not just by our obedience to His Word and ways, but our rejection of the world’s lust and pride.

Q: Having met that requirement, how will we then recognize these figures?

  1. They went out from us…” (v.19)—that is, they have left the fellowship of the Church.
  2. Such “denies Jesus is the Christ” (v.22)—that is, that He is the one and only Messiah.
  3. They are “liars” (v.22)—that is, holders of the opposite of God’s Word and ways.

Q: What are the three roles of the Godhead which are visited here?

  1. The Father can only be accessed through the Son. (v.23)
  2. The Son can only be accessed through confession (v.23)
  3. The Holy Spirit anoints those properly seeking the Father and Son. (v.20)

Q: Given the context to this point, what is the Holy Spirit working in us?

A: He is teaching us the truth.

Q: Since none of the gifts of the Spirit as recorded elsewhere in Scripture are listed, how do we know from this text that He accomplishes this with the Word of God?

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

— John 14:26

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God,

— 1 Corinthians 2:12

Q: What is the anointing John is referring to? How is it visibly recognizable in our life?

A: It is God’s Word, for which we have a greater desire than for the world’s desires. This is the standard by which we can measure all things in the world, even those directly animated by Satan.

Application: The believer who is in an obedient relationship with God will be able to not just read but understand God’s Word as he is taught by the Spirit. It will become an inseparable part of him.

Read verses 14-25

Q: How is John reinforcing the working of the Word?

A: “…let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning”. (v.24)

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

— Romans 10:17

Q: What exactly does “abide” mean?

A: It means “to remain” or “to dwell”. It’s the place you live, what in more modern times we would call a lifestyle.

Q: Again, how do we know that it is a lifestyle of abiding in God’s Word?

“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

— John 15:10

Application: A Holy Spirit anointed believer, having come to faith by the Word, lives going forward by the Word. It becomes their lifestyle.

Read verses 26-27

Q: So what is the goal of every form of deception?

A: To in some way derail, undermine, or outright refute God’s Word in our life.

Q: How does the text indicate this to us?

A: Because it is all about the difference between the truth and a lie.

Q: And what is confirmed for us yet again where the anointing of the Spirit is concerned?

A: His chief function is to teach “about all things”.

Application: A Holy spirit anointed believer can resist and avoid every deception when they allow the Holy Spirit to guide them by the Word.

Overall Application

There are many who falsely believe that to be “anointed by the Spirit” begins and ends with one of the spiritual gifts, when in fact those gifts, and the Holy Spirit anointing in all believers, begins and ends with God’s Word. When such an anointing is undertaken and put into practice, the gifts have the opportunity to be the most effective.