1 John 2:20
But you have an unction from the Holy One, and you know all things.
I. JESUS CHRIST IS THE HOLY ONE FROM WHOM THE UNCTION COMES. It is very remarkable that on several occasions, in His life as spent among men, He seemed to be the sinful one. He was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, but it was in the likeness only.
1. This truth appears, first, when He was circumcised.
2. When He was presented in the temple, the Virgin Mary brought Him in her arms, and Joseph attended with the two turtle doves. This ceremony was for the sinful, who had need of cleansing, and was according to the law the means of their purification.
3. When He came to be baptized of John in the Jordan, John said, "I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?" Jesus said, "Suffer it to be so now; for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness."
4. He appeared in this likeness, when He was about to be crucified; when Barabbas, a man who had committed murder, and was guilty of insurrection in the city, was chosen to be set at liberty, in preference to Christ. Christ is the Holy One. See what testimony was borne to Him. The devils said, "We know Thee who Thou art, the Holy One of God." The centurion said, "Truly this was the Son of God." Christ was carried to the grave as the Holy One. And because He was the Holy One He saw no corruption. As the Holy One He rose from the dead, and was declared to be the Son of God with power.
II. THE UNCTION IN THE HOLY GHOST. I suppose the reference to be to the sacred oil of anointing which was prepared in a special manner by God's appointment. In connection with this oil there was another special and peculiar perfume for the altar of incense. Here, we suppose, is a new type of Christ and His mediation. That pure incense, burnt before God, represented Christ's intercession for His Church, and the complacency with which it is regarded by the Father. Before the Holy One gives the Holy Ghost in this particular form other works are elected by Him. There must be something preparatory to His communications. You must be washed. Then you must be sprinkled with blood: "without shedding of blood there is no remission." By water and blood we are first cleansed; then comes the unction.
1. It marks out and defines the objects of Divine choice. The Church is a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a peculiar people; so every member is elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. As surely as you receive the unction, and are touched by the Divine power, you are a child of God, marked out for His own in Christ Jesus. You belong to the society and fellowship of the anointed ones.
2. The unction denotes separation from the common mass and multitude. So Aaron and his sons were separated from all the people of Israel. And through this unction we are separated — sanctified by Christ — called out of the world.
3. The third thing denoted by this unction is qualification for office. We are revived and illumined by the unction. The unction qualifies for holy exploits and for elevated duty.
4. The comparison denotes the consummation of heavenly joy. Every morning, as you have need, you are to seek fresh oil; fresh, like the virgin beams of the morning light; fresh oil, like the flowers of the early spring; fresh oil, like the blood of the sacrifice newly spilt, and presented before God upon the altar. Fresh influence, help, and succour, is to be sought to the last hour of our life from the Holy One of God.
5. We receive the Holy Ghost to establish and to preserve us. Of some the Apostle John affirms, "They went out from us, but they were not of us." In contrast to this, where the unction comes, it is abiding.
6. Finally, the unction comes to make you useful. It will be like an odour that is not to be hidden: it fills all the room. You will be a prophet to teach, shedding light by your example. You will be a priest, to offer the sacrifice of praise. You will be a king, having rule over your own spirit.
III. AS WE HAVE THE UNCTION FROM THE HOLY ONE, WE KNOW ALL THINGS. There is a self-evidencing power in truth by which we know all these blessed subjects of Divine revelation. We know that we are of God by His Spirit which is in us. If I feel in my mind the influence of Christ, producing penitence and love, and desires after holiness and heaven, I may say, It is by the Holy Ghost.
Parallel VersesKJV: But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.