1 John 2:20-23, “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.”
Now recognize this, the Apostle is continuing on with his teaching about those that have been shown ( or manifested) to NOT be a part of Jesus’ true disciples or His teachings. John is telling these young readers, THEREFORE, or but, “you have an anointing from the Holy One.” In essence what the Apostle is doing is answering, comforting AND assuring them that they, in their spiritual youth, are not without spiritual tools and those tools, specifically the anointing, which refers to the Holy Spirit, comes directly from the Holy One, referring to Christ Jesus, Himself!
So, if you are asking the question of how a young believer, spiritually speaking, can truly know the difference between a falsehood or the truth, John is answering that with these statements. He goes on to encourage them with these profound words, “and you know all things.” First, understand that when John finishes his sentence with this statement, he isn’t speaking of this in the sense of complete absolute knowledge of all things! He isn’t stating that all of a sudden a young spiritually reborn and anointed person is going to be omniscient like God Almighty, Himself. No, what John IS reassuring the reader is that when you receive Christ’s gift of redemption and salvation, you are imbued with the Lord Jesus Christ’s Holy Spirit as an anointing and because of the power of that anointing, you know, in your spirit, what is true and what is deception!
Remember what the Apostle Paul wrote in confirmation of this when he wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” You are no longer spiritually blind. The god of this world no longer has control over you, at least control that you don’t give him. Your spiritual eyes have been miraculously healed by the Blood Gift of Christ Jesus and the Grace and Mercy that brings that anointing of the Holy Spirit. You now see, in the spiritual and not the natural only. Now don’t be misled, you have this anointing, but like everything in the spiritual (not to mention the natural) how that anointing is developed is totally up to how much you walk in the Holy Spirit and take direction from Him. That old adage, that “practice makes perfect,” is as true in the spiritual as it is in the natural.
I read a statement years ago and for the life of me can’t remember where I saw it, but it stated something like this: A Christian can see more on his knees than a worldly philosopher can see standing on their tip-toes! It is because of the spiritual reawakening that comes from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within the life of the new believer. It was meant to not just LEAD us into all spiritual truth, but to allow us to come back into an intimate spiritual relationship with God Almighty AS our Heavenly Father. The love the Father has for us sent His Son to the Cross, not just to save us, but IN THAT salvation, to bring us back, just like the prodigal son, into the intimate relationship that He had with Adam when the Father would meet him in the Garden of Eden. What Adam lost to us because of disobedience, Christ Jesus restored to us by sacrificial obedience!!
The Apostle is writing this not because he feels that as a disciple we do not know the truth. He isn’t warning us about NOT knowing the truth, but rather reiterating the fact that spiritually we DO know the truth because of the Holy Spirit’s anointing! I want to make another important part here about the anointing of the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit’s power AND anointing may not take the place of a person’s conscience, but in a very real way the Holy Spirit overshadows a person’s conscience. See, our conscience IS a gift of God as part of our inherent “moral compass” but it is a part of our natural, carnal being. (Romans 2:15). Our conscience can be seared, can become desensitized by excessive sin and by ignoring its warnings! (1 Timothy 4:2). The Holy Spirit within us has no such restraints! You might be able to ignore Him, but in no way can you silence Him!!
Remember, John started his writing in that last several sentences about the antichrists being among us and our needing to be aware that they are here. So, he is reminding the readers that we know the truth and we know lies, no falsehood or deception is of the truth! I know this seems redundant in the way that he keeps reminding and then going over the same thing, but something I learned when I was in my twenties and going to tech school; some of the best teaching takes you to a certain level but then comes back and reminds you of what you already learned. It tends to make it stick and become more meaningful. This is what the Apostle is doing with the readers of his letter. The modern-day antichrists, just like in the day of John are liars and deceivers. They are willing to manipulate the truth and they try to hide amongst the true disciples in plain sight, spouting religious terms and yet producing no fruit in their lives, at least fruit that is not pleasing!
What the Apostle John is reaffirming is that even the young disciple in the Lord will know a lie for what it is. The one who is a liar is the one who denies that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the Anointed from the Father. Now understand this principle; aligning Christ Jesus with what the New Age calls or defines are other spiritual masters is just the same as a lie and a deception from the depths of hell to try and deceive those who are searching for something beyond themselves and yet do not have the foundation of the Good News of the Gospels!! Jesus Christ is NOT on par or equal with Mohammed or with Buddha or any other religious figure, for Christ Jesus IS God and we can ONLY come to the Heavenly Father THROUGH Him and no one else!
Also remember this; John is warning his readers of the doctrines of the Gnostics of his day. They did not believe that Jesus was the Christ, the anointed One, but rather that He was JUST a man whom the Christ, the Messiah descended upon at His baptism from John! Does this sound at all familiar to my readers today? It should, for you find this same teaching in many of the “religious” cults of today, and sadly some who claim to be CHRISTIAN Churches!!
But here is the thing that separates those cults AND those who are JUST religious, from true Christianity; you CANNOT deny the deity of Jesus as Christ without denying our Heavenly Father also! There are many that TRY to worship God alone without even attempting to “go through” Christ Jesus! You can say you “believe” in a “higher being” but you can’t worship the Father without approaching God as Father THROUGH Jesus Christ! John is making it very clear and reiterating again, that to deny Jesus as Christ, you ARE denying God as Father. If you deny the Son, you do NOT have the Father, BUT, if you acknowledge the Son, Christ Jesus, then you also have the Father!
I love to use the following Scripture by Jesus to make this point so clear, and they are written for posterity by John, himself:
5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
7 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”
8 Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”
9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
10 “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.
11 “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.
Now I want you to read these Scriptures with this perspective; in this instance Jesus is TEACHING His disciples. He is relaying to them spiritual principles, the very thing that the beloved Apostle John is doing with his letters to his followers. There is a difference between preaching and teaching and I want to give you an example of the same thing Jesus was teaching His disciples but instead, He was PREACHING to the Pharisees and unbelievers.
Again, the words of Jesus as recorded by John the Apostle:
18 “I am One who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me.”
19 Then they said to Him, “Where is Your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also.”
41b Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father–God.”
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me.”
In closing, I want to remind you of this one other principle that John, inspired by the Holy Spirit put forth in remembrance for all generations of disciple who follow:
23 “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.
24 “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”
26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”
Final thought to ponder; God is Spirit, He sent His Son that His Spirit might dwell in Jesus and dwell among men to fulfill His mission of redeeming mankind through salvation by the shedding of His Blood. When we magnify and worship Christ Jesus, we magnify and worship the Father through Him as these Scriptures and many more prove. To deny Christ Jesus IS to deny the Father, BUT to acknowledge Christ Jesus is to KNOW the Father and to ABIDE in Him! What an amazing gift that is not just here today and gone tomorrow, but will last for ALL eternity!!