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What is, "The Anointing?"

By David A. DePra

Down through the church age many have come claiming to be, "anointed of God." This is supposed to mean that they are chosen, commissioned, and empowered to do God’s work. Usually going hand and hand with these claims are demands that other Christians submit to them. The verse usually given for this is either Psalm 105:15, which says, "Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm," or David’s refusal to kill Saul is used as an example.

This is an important issue, not only because we need to see what, "the anointing," is NOT, but because we need to see what it IS.

The Anointing

These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which you have received of him abides in you, and you need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, you shall abide in him. (1 John 2:26-27)

According to the apostle John, each believer has THE ANOINTING abiding in them. Sure. This has to be the case, because unlike OT times, each believer has Christ in them – and Christ is, "The Anointed One."

Now, this is SO important to understand that John tells us that the reason he is writing this is so that, "no man seduce us." John is trying to show us that we don’t need a guru, a wise old man, or someone who claims to have a special anointing from God. We don’t need to partner with a ministry, or plant a seed into a ministry, or join a movement, in order to, "partake of the anointing." These lies are being taught today! Rather, John says, "I want to tell you this so that no one will lead to astray by claiming you must follow them if you want the anointing. I want to tell you that if Christ is in you, you already have it – HE IS THAT ANOINTING."

John was an apostle. But read the above passage again. Does it sound like he was telling his readers to come to HIM as a guru? No. He did what any true minister of God will do – he teaches the believer that they have all they need, as individuals, in Christ. He shows them what Christ means, teaches them how to walk in Christ, and does all he can to set them free into a personal relationship with Christ. John knew that he could not, "impart," an anointing, and wanted to make sure that his readers would not be deceived by anyone claiming they could.

I am hearing more and more on Christian television suggestions to the effect, if not direct teaching, that there is such a thing as an, "imparted anointing." Ministries are teaching that if you give them money, that their anointing from God – which includes health and prosperity – will be imparted to you. But this is nothing short of the selling of indulgences. It is heresy and an abomination in the eyes of God. There is not such thing as an, "imparted anointing." There aren’t MANY anointings. No. There is only Christ in us.

Christ in each individual believer through the Holy Spirit is THE ANOINTING. There may be variations as to ministry, as to gifts, and as to function. But as Paul said, "There are many gifts and functions, but the SAME Spirit." Once we make the anointing a THING we think God has given us, instead of the Person who dwells in us, we are on dangerous ground.

Jesus is Lord

In the final analysis, there is only one way to come under the fullness of, "the anointing:" To come under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Indeed, that is the purpose of the Holy Spirit, to make Jesus Lord of each of us. But not just as a fact. Rather, the Holy Spirit wants to make Him Lord in practice.

So we have this: "The anointing," is CHRIST IN US through the Holy Spirit. Each believer therefore has this anointing. However, to truly come under the fullness of this anointing, we must come under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We must be subject to the Holy Spirit.

Have we recognized that the purpose of the Holy Spirit in us is to make Jesus our Lord, and thus, formed us together with Him as witnesses unto God? Have we realized that when Jesus ascended to heaven and was seated as Lord of all that He sent His Spirit to bring all things under His Lordship?

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2 did not usher in signs and wonders. There were plenty of those before Acts 2, even through the OT. The outpouring of the Spirit in Acts 2 ushered in JESUS AS LORD – not just TO us, but IN US.

One Experience

What happened in Acts 2 had never happed before. On that day began the new birth. No one had ever been born again before. On that day began the INDWELLING of Jesus Christ in us through the Holy Spirit. On that day, began the church. On that day, began the outworking of the New Covenant established through the death and resurrection of Christ.

Some Christians do not understand that these things happened in Acts 2. Some think that the disciples were born again before that day. Or that they had Christ in them before that day. Some Christians think that God simply gave the disciples power to serve in Acts 2 – and that this was a second experience. No. There are no second experiences. When we receive Christ, we are complete. And everything is found in Him.

Right now there are millions who believe that salvation – Christ in us – is one experience, and that the receiving of the Holy Spirit in the sense of overflow is another. This is often based on experiences. The Bible teaches nothing of a second experience. To get the Truth straight about, "the anointing," we must briefly see this. And a key is to understand what really happened in Acts 2.

As mentioned, in Acts 2, the Holy Spirit came for the first time to dwell in people. Once we realize that, we will see that this means that Acts 2 began the new birth, for you are born again ONLY through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Thus, in OT times, the Holy Spirit dwelled in no one. No one was born again. This is not maybe, but a fact. Jesus said to His disciples:

I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but ye know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. (John 14:16-18)

We see a number of things in the passage. First, until Acts 2, the event Jesus was promising – the coming of the Comforter – the Holy Spirit had only been WITH people. The Spirit had never been IN people. Furthermore, note that the Spirit in them equal Christ in them. After promising the Comforter would come, Jesus says, "I will come to you." This is the SAME event, not a separate event. Christ is in us BY the Holy Spirit.

Now, just to nail that down, we need only read one passage from Romans and one from John:

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you. (Rom 8:9-11)

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)

From these verses we see that CHRIST IN US is exactly the same as the Spirit of God in us, and the Spirit of Christ in us. And we see that Jesus even states that the Father will indwell us as well. This should not be surprising since the Trinity is as ONE.

Now, all of this began in Acts 2. Jesus told the disciples that they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit and it happened in Acts 2. Thus, the disciples were NOT indwelt before Acts 2. They were NOT born again before Acts 2. They were merely saved under the Old Covenant. But what this all leads to is the fact that if none of these things happened BEFORE Acts 2, then they did happen in Acts 2. Thus, Acts 2 was not a second experience, but the one and only experience God has for us.

The couple of instances in Acts where people seemed to have salvation, but still needed the baptism of the Holy Spirit, is easy to resolve. These people were essentially in the same condition as the apostles before Acts 2. They were saved under the OT, i.e., John’s baptism. But they were not yet indwelt by Christ through the Holy Spirit. What we read in Acts is them receiving that.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not a second experience added onto salvation. No. The baptism of the Holy Spirit IS Christ received for salvation, in a once for all experience. Included are all the gifts and all the power to BECOME witnesses for Christ, as we come under His Lordship.

Now, once we see that the purpose of the Holy Spirit is to make Jesus our Lord, and to make us witnesses unto Him, and that all of this is received at salvation – and that this once for all experience IS THE ANOINTING – then it sets things in order. At that point we are able to see that there are no special, "anointed ones." There is no one who can claim to have IT – the anointing – and mandate that you come to them to get IT! No. "The anointing," is not an IT. It is CHRIST IN US through the Holy Spirit. And all believers, despite variations in gifts and functions, have that one and only, "anointing."

For all the promises of God in him are yes, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. Now he which established us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, is God, who has also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. (2 Cor. 1:20-22)

What the Anointing Does

"The Anointing," is not a THING, or a POWER, that God gives us, to do things – separate from the Lordship of Jesus Christ. No. Power is a Person – and any power we have is CHRIST IN US.

But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. (1 Cor 1:24)

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. (Eph 6:10)

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. (2 Cor 4:7)

But aren’t we supposed to do things for God in the power of the Holy Spirit? Won’t Christ work in and through us in power? Sure. But how? How does this power come to work through us from Christ? There is only one way: If we become weak.

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (1 Cor 1:18)

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Cor 12:9)

People don’t want to hear this. But God isn’t going to hand anyone a THING called power and let them loose to do stuff for Him. The only way we can be trusted with any power at all is if we are first brought into weakness through the work of the Cross. This is just another way of saying we must come under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Of course this sounds so negative and depressing. But only if we are happy with ourselves the way we are. But if you want to be set free from yourself, and released from pride, fear, and self-protection, come under the Lordship of Jesus.

If I come under the Lordship of Jesus, it is not going to suppress me as a person, or make me miserable. It will, in fact, release me and set me free to be what God wants me to be. Christ will come to be seen in me and through me. But this cannot happen if God simply gives me a THING called power and turns me loose. Indeed, if God did that, I would become a very prideful and religious person. Only the work of the Cross can prevent this.

Rather than a POWER God gives us to do things, "the anointing," of Christ in us has another purpose. The Bible tells us a few things we have power to do in Christ:

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13)

But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (Rom 1:16)

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. (Rom 15:13)

Can we see that all of these passages speak of a power to BECOME. Sure. But how about doing? How about signs and wonders? Well, those things are included. Yet can we see the nonsense of thinking that God will anoint us, give us power, and give no consideration to our relationship to Him? Can we see that only if God has as the priority OUR CHARACTER, and how much we have come under the Lordship of Jesus, that the rest of these things, such as ministry, gifts, and works, will truly be according to His will?

It is a universal principle: You cannot possess power unless power possesses you. You cannot reign and rule with Christ, unless Christ is reigning and ruling over you. There is no other order in the plan and purpose of God.

The Anointed One

There is no such thing as a special anointing. There are gifts, callings, and functions. But in the end, there is only ONE ANOINTED ONE – Jesus Christ. And it is only as we function under His Lordship that we are living in His anointing and power. Furthermore, the anointing of the Holy Spirit that we have in Christ will not focus on signs and wonders. It will focus on Christ Himself – it will seek to edify Christians in Christ so that we might all come to know Him.

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