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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: The Lesser Epistles

Chapter 76 - 1 John 11:27 - The Heavenly Anointing Light & Truth: The Lesser Epistles by Bonar, Horatius




The Heavenly Anointing.


     "But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you; and ye need not that any man teach you: but as 'the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him."-1 John 11:27.



     Satan as the angel of light, the prophet of all natural knowledge, was abroad among the early churches. He was a lying spirit in some of the primitive teachers, sending them forth to seduce the saints. To Galatia, Ephesus, Corinth,-everywhere,-he sent them on their errand of seduction.

     For this there was but one remedy, one antidote,-not a larger amount of human wisdom, or 'refined culture,' or 'liberal thought,' but a fresh infusion of 'that wisdom which cometh from above.' There was only One who could meet this spirit of evil knowledge and counteract his wiles,-the Holy Ghost, here spoken of as 'the unction' or anointing.

     I. The anointing.-Our Master's name is Messiah, Christ, the Anointed; and we are, like Him, anointed ones, Christians.' The oil is the Holy Ghost, and from Him directly we have the anointing. It is His office to anoint. 'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me.' It is His office to make Christians, and to keep them such. He is both the Anointer and the unction; and it is through Him that we are made what we are. He comes on us; He comes into us. This anointing is the Church's birthright: as the sun is the birthright of humanity, so is the Spirit the birthright of the Church.

     II. The source of the anointing.-It is not from ourselves, but from another. It is 'received.' It is not from beneath, but from above; it is from the Holy One. Is this Christ, or the Holy Spirit? It is true of both. We get the Holy Spirit from Christ; and from the Spirit we get the gifts and graces. Thus in both of these senses we have an unction from the Holy One. All is of God; and yet as free and accessible as if at our side.

     III. Its permanence.-It abideth in us. It is no passing touch, no drop which falls on us today, and disappears tomorrow. It abides; it abides in us; it has taken up its permanent dwelling in us. It is not liable to our fluctuations; it is constant, ever remaining, ever operating. Christ abideth in us; the Spirit abideth in us. All is everlasting,-increasing, not decreasing.

     IV. Its rendering us independent of human teaching.-It not only fits us for overcoming the evil one; not only enables us to resist those that seduce us; but it makes us independent of man. He may or he may not teach us: it does not matter; we are not dependent on him. We need him not. This is not self-dependence, nor absolute independence; it is simply independence of man because of dependence upon God. For, having God's teaching, we need not that any man teach us. We have a Teacher wiser, better, truer, more patient, more loving than man. Let us welcome this, let us prize it, let us daily employ it.

     We shall need it more and more in these last days, when the prevalence of false teaching will fling us from man altogether, and throw us upon God alone.

     V. Its character.-(1) It teacheth us. The object of the anointing is specially teaching; and the reference here is to the anointing of prophets for their work (as Elisha, 1 Kings 19:16), and to Messiah's anointing for preaching the gospel (Isaiah 61:1). The expression, 'Anoint thin? eyes with eye-salve,' is of the same import. The Holy Spirit is our teacher. (2) It teacheth all things. Its circle of instruction is wide, extending to all truth on the one hand, and to every part of our being on the other. There is nothing which we need that this anointing does not comprehend. It embraces all that 'Christians' can require. (3) It is truth. For He is the Spirit of truth, the Spirit of Him who is the truth; He guides into all truth. The certain, the authentic, is with Him. (4) It is no lie. It contains nothing that is untrue or uncertain. It is not the false spirit who speaketh lies; no lie is in Him or His anointing.

     VI. Its object.-That we should remain in Christ. Christ Himself said, 'Abide in Me;' and He connected this with His 'words abiding' in us. The object of the anointing, the work of the Holy Spirit, is to produce and maintain this abiding. Connection with Christ, connection of the most intimate kind, connection as the result of the anointing,-this is what we need.

     What a needful text is this in our day! The world's wisdom is estimated so highly; spiritual truth is at a discount; dependence on supernatural teaching is reckoned weakness; reliance on intellect is the chief thing recommended; speculation, unbounded and unchecked speculation, is counted a noble thing; the risk of embracing a lie is sneered at; error is not deemed sin; truth, as the very health of the soul, is not deemed indispensable, provided there be earnestness; the word of God is not treated as infallible and its information certain, but rather as a cabinet of playthings for the intellect.

     In opposition to all this, our text comes in with the assertion of a divine Teacher and an infallible teaching; a teaching not narrow and straitened, but wide and all embracing; a teaching of truth, in opposition to every lie of man or Satan, of the Church or the world, of priest or philosopher. Ah, this is the real thing that the vexed soul needeth! This is rest for the weary intellect, satisfaction for the empty soul.