Tuesday, February 03, 2015

You already know - 1 John 2:20-24

"But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father." (1 John 2:20-24)
There are two interesting words in this passage. First is the word "lie". This Greek word is the same word which we render as "pseudo" which means false or pretended. Pseudo often refers to something that, on the surface looks like the real thing, but in actuality is not. In this case, a lie is something we purport to be true, and may even look like the truth, but in actuality is a sham, a deception, and a falsehood. The second word is "anointing" and it means to smear or rub. It is a reference to how the priests of old were anointed for ministry. "Then you shall take some of the blood that is on the altar and some of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it on Aaron and on his garments and on his sons and on his sons' garments with him; so he and his garments shall be consecrated, as well as his sons and his sons' garments with him." (Exodus 29:21) In a real since, we have been smeared with the Holy Spirit and the smell of His sweet fragrance is (or should be) evident through our lives to all around us.

John provides us three clues in identifying heresy and falsehood: if they preach another anointing, if they preach another truth, and if the preach another Christ. In the first century, most of the early heresies sought to redefine Christ. Some denied His divinity saying He was merely a man, He may have been anointed by God but He definitely was not God. Others denied His humanity saying he only appeared to come in human flesh and to suffer and die as a man might. Most of these heresies died out long ago yet, from time to time, they surface again to challenge the Christian faith. While there are still some differences among various Christian faiths as to the exact nature of Christ, our faith still holds to Christ as being fully man and fully God. While this may be beyond our comprehension, it should not be beyond our faith.

When it comes to new revelation and new truth, we ought to give preference to antiquity. When some new idea appears that has no root in the Biblical or Apostolic record, both written and as evidenced by the church, then we ought to be weary and caution as to its adoption. Jude writes of  "the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints." (Jude 3) This faith was delivered complete and requires no revision of innovation. Most of the teachings that divide the church today are those which have no apostolic foundation but are rather the innovations of their teachers. Tertullian reminds us, concerning heresy, that we "ought to be refuted even without a consideration of their doctrines, on the ground that they are heretical by reason of the novelty of their opinions." (Tertullian, Book 1, Chapter 1, Against Marcion)

Finally, John reminds us that we already have an anointing that teaches us all things, therefore, there is no need for another. Just before Jesus' ascension, He told the disciples, "do not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised." (Acts 1:4) However, a few days later, having received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, they went forth as witnesses to the whole world. Peter preached, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38) Beyond this there remains for us no other anointing, no other initiation, and no other experience necessary for our life in Christ. All who seek to add conditions or new steps that are required for us to know and grow in God are preaching another way; a way contrary to that which Jesus and His apostles taught. We have the Son, we have the Father, and we have the Holy Spirit. What more do we need?

David Robison

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