“I am writing these things to warn you about those who want to lead you astray. But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. But the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true – it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ”
(1 John 2:26-27, NLT).
As I mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, the Apostle John is presenting two safeguards to help believers keep from being led “astray.” The first safeguard is to keep living according to the Word which has been heard about Jesus Christ from the beginning of the Christian church (1 John 2:24). Use this Word as an anchor or reference point. Now John mentions a second safeguard to help us prevent a disaster as far as our faith is concerned: to remain in a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ because of the work of the Holy Spirit who “lives within us.”
On the second safeguard, John mentions here that we have all “received the Holy Spirit” or translated as “anointing” in the Amplified Bible. He is referring to the fact that, back in the Old Testament times, anointing was only for the privileged few, such as kings or prophets. Since Jesus came, this anointing is for every believers because of what Jesus Christ has done for us. There has been some question regarding what the actual anointing means. Some people think that the anointing refers to our baptism. Another interpretation – and the one which seems to make the most sense in this context to me – is that the anointing is the coming of the Holy Spirit into our lives when we become Christians. So it is more a symbolic (of a spiritual) anointing than a literal anointing with oil or water. But it is nevertheless a real anointing.
When Jesus’ disciples were upset and confused about why Jesus had to die, He promised that the Holy Spirit would live in all who believed in Him: “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you… But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative – that is, the Holy Spirit – he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you” (John 14:16-17, 26). This is what makes the Christian faith so special and different from all other religions. We believe in a God who has personally shown how much He loves us by sending Jesus Christ to die for our sins and be our Saviour – and give us the Holy Spirit to “lives within us.”
But we not only believe in a God “out there” or “upstairs,” we believe in a God who “lives within us”, who moves into our lives once we confess and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. And God then continue to lead and guide us to know what is right and true, as well as what is wrong or false. The more the Holy Spirit teaches us and helps us understand how to live as God’s children, the more we become rooted or stabilized in God. Back in the Gospel, John refers to Jesus as the true vine and to believers as the branches (read John 15:1-11). Without being part of a vine, a branch will quickly wither and die. So we need to continue to be rooted in Christ Himself to keep on growing and receiving the nourishment we need.
Notice, John ends this section with the same challenge with which he began it – to “abide” or “remain in fellowship with Christ.” In other words, as we are confronted by people seeking to lead us astray, or when we feel discouraged or like giving up, hang in there; stay rooted – remain with Christ. When we feel pressured, or unsure and doubt, or knocked down, in those times of growing, we are not alone. The Holy Spirit lives within us. God is with us to guide, direct, and encourage us. So friends, hang in with God. God won’t let you down. Amen.
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.