1 John 2:20
But you have an unction from the Holy One, and you know all things.
I. THE ANOINTING — "Ye have an unction." This anointing, or being anointed with oil, you have "from the Holy One"; from Christ Jesus our Lord. There is great significancy in the unction thus viewed as coming from this Holy One. Antichrists are spoken of. These are antagonists to Christ, to Him who is anointed to be the Holy One. You, on the other hand, have anointing from Him. They are antichrists, you are joint christs; for you have an unction from Him as the Holy One, making you "holy as He is holy." The holiness here meant is consecration. It is what the Lord indicates in His farewell prayer, "Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth." The anointing is with the Holy Ghost. He is the anointing oil; the oil of gladness with which God has anointed Christ above His fellows. The unction, therefore, which "you have from the Holy One" is His own unction; it is identically the same with what was His. He sheds forth upon you and in you the very same presence, power, and influence of the Holy Ghost that was shed forth upon and in Himself when He was about the business for which, as the Holy One, He was consecrated. In His case that unction was real, sensible, manifest. If we have it from Him, it must be so in ours also. In Jesus this unction was, on the one hand, His having always the Holy Spirit helping, comforting, and strengthening Him. The unction which we have from Him as the Holy One is our being in the same way upheld by the Holy Spirit in all our goings; our being enabled therefore to show "the meekness and gentleness of Christ"; our making it thus manifest that "the same mind is in us that was also in Him." Again, on the other hand, in Jesus the Holy One, this unction was His constant and abiding apprehension or realisation of the Spirit moving Him to the work for which He was sent into the world. The unction which we have from Him, that we may be consecrated to be holy ones as He is the Holy One, is our feeling and owning the inward call of the Holy Spirit, moving us in our sphere to give ourselves to the same lifework that always occupied Him; to carry out the great design of His coming into the world; to be His wholly and unreservedly, as He was always and altogether the Father's.
II. AS THUS ANOINTED, WE "KNOW ALL THINGS." This is not, of course, omniscience, but full and complete knowledge of the mailer in hand, as opposed to knowledge that is fragmentary and partial. The anointing of Jesus, His being the Christ — what it is and what it means; His consecration as the Holy One; His oneness as the Son with the Father; all that we know. And we know it, not by catching at some one aspect of the mighty plan — the great "mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh" — that may happen to suit our convenience, or to strike our fancy, but by a calm, clear, and comprehensive insight into all that it unfolds of the highest glory of God, and all that it contemplates of highest good to man. We look at this great theme, or rather this great fact, in all its bearings; as it vindicates the righteous sovereignty of the Lord of all, while it secures full and free salvation to the worst and guiltiest of His creatures, if they will but own that sovereignty and submit to it.
III. THE UNCTION WHICH WE HAVE FROM THE HOLY ONE, AND OUR KNOWING ALL THINGS, ARE INTIMATELY CONNECTED. It is only "He who is spiritual" who "judgeth all things," who can know them so as to judge them. For He alone is in a position and has the capacity to form a fair estimate or judgment of the relations among the things of God. And it is by their mutual relations that things are really known and judged. This is a maxim true in all sciences, slid not least manifestly so in the science of divinity. If, in the science of astronomy we would know all its things, all its truths, to any satisfactory end, theoretical or practical, we must get, not the eye of a clown or vulgar stargazer, nor that of Chaldean sage or poetic dreamer, nor that of one to whom the clear, calm midnight sky is a confused galaxy of bright gems, a brilliant shower of diamonds shed in rich disorder on the dark brow of nature's sleeping beauty, but the eye of Newton's scholar and Laplace's, who has learned of them to calculate planetary magnitudes and distances and forces, and to bring the whole splendid chaos under the sway of the one simple law that reigns supreme throughout all space. So, in the region of what is spiritual and Divine, the faculty of seeing things in their true relations is not elsewhere or otherwise to be acquired than in the school and under the teaching of the Holy Ghost.
IV. THE SECURITY WHICH OUR "HAVING AN UNCTION FROM THE HOLY ONE, AND KNOWING ALL THINGS," AFFORDS, IN TRYING TIMES, must now surely be seen to be very ample and firm. Others may "go out from us"; it being thus "made manifest that they were not of us," and may become antichrists, or the prey of antichrist. But "will ye also go away?" — ye who share the very unction and the very knowledge which the Holy One Himself has? Is not this your preservative against all error and apostasy? Is it not a sufficient preservative?
(R. S. Candlish, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.