The Christian’s Anointing
“But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie — just as it has taught you, abide in him.”- 1 John 2:27
Having explored the significance of the title Christ and its relation to our Savior’s anointing as our Prophet, Priest, and King, we will now consider the meaning of the term Christian, or “one who belongs to Christ.” There are important reasons why we call ourselves “Christians” that go beyond our profession of faith.
Scripture explains that we have been baptized into Christ by faith, uniting us to Him “spiritually and mystically, yet really and inseparably” (WLC, Q&A 66). Jesus still enjoys the messianic anointing that is His by virtue of His status as the Son of David, and He shares this anointing in some sense with us. According to 1 John 2:27, believers have an abiding anointing that means we “have no need that anyone should teach” us. This perplexing statement seems to deny our need for the church’s teaching ministry. However, since John instructs us in the very process of stating that we need no teaching, he cannot be discounting the legitimacy of Christian teachers. Dr. John MacArthur comments on this passage: “John is not denying the importance of gifted teachers in the church (1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:11), but indicates that neither … teachers nor … believers are dependent on human wisdom or the opinions of men for the truth. God’s Holy Spirit guards and guides the true believer into the truth” (The MacArthur Bible Commentary, p. 1956). God the Holy Spirit is the ultimate source and guarantor of truth, not the teachers who explain His Word or the believers who affirm it.
If we share in Christ’s anointing, we must also share in His prophetic, priestly, and kingly offices in some way. Question and answer 32 of the Heidelberg Catechism outline our roles as prophets, priests, and kings. First, we confess Christ’s name. When we confess the lordship of Jesus before mankind, we act as prophets declaring God’s Word (Acts 2:36; Rev. 11:15). Second, we present ourselves to our Creator as living sacrifices. In devoting ourselves to God’s service and seeking transformation by His Word, we are a kingdom of priests who sacrifice ourselves in thanksgiving to Him (Lev. 22:29; Rom. 12:1–2). Finally, we strive against sin and the Devil. Taking up the armor of God against His and our enemies, we fulfill the kingly role of protecting and enlarging the kingdom (Eph. 6:10–20; Rev. 17:1–14).
Christ is the perfect Prophet, Priest, and King, but in His grace He allows His people to serve in prophetic, priestly, and kingly roles as well. We are not saved to remain sedentary but to proclaim God’s Word, devote our lives and families to God wholeheartedly, and war against the world, the flesh, and the Devil. Let us endeavor to fulfill our roles as prophets, priests, and kings that we may see the Lord’s kingdom expand.
Passages for Further Study
1 Peter 2:9–10
2 Timothy 2:12
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