THE TEACHING OF JOHN
John the beloved had a burden for the people of God. He had been in the presence of "the Word of Life." His eyes had beheld Him, and his hands had handled Him (1 John 1:1). Yet, he did not keep these marvelous experiences to himself, but bore witness to them, proclaiming them accurately and faithfully to the people of God (1 John 1:2). It might appear to the readers of John's epistle that he had access to understanding not available toall the saints. After all, he was an Apostle! The aged man of God is careful, however, to assure his readers that they also have access to divine instruction. It is true, "they shall all be taught by God!" What God has revealed can be discerned in its depth and height by "all saints" (Eph 3:18). John informs his readers of the existence of false teachers. These imposters propagate doctrines that endanger the individual, obscure the truth, and disarm the soul. "Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us" (1 John 2:18-19). How could believers hope to survive such an insidious assault on their souls. "Many antichrists"flooding the Christian community. They were not obviously against Christ. Had that been the case, they would have been easily detected. These, however, were individuals that had companied with the Apostles and leaders of the early church. They had been the right place, companied with the right people, and possessed apparently valid credentials. Believers are told that God has provided for their protection. He would not simply cause the false teachers to avoid believers. The saints were going to have to confront them, evaluate their message, and decide whether they were of God or not. Only the Lord can make a person equal to that challenge! Praise be to God for the glorious promise, "They shall all be taught by God!" The way to know all things. By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, John informs us that we have received an anointing from the Holy One, the Lord Jesus Christ. That anointing makes us equal to the challenges of life, whether it involves false teachers or other demands produced by our faith. Here are his wonderful words. "But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things . . . But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him" (1 John 2:20,27).The phrase, "and ye know all things" must not be understood to mean omniscience, or expertise in all fields of knowledge. Other translations bring out more of the sense of the text. " . . . and you all know" (NASB, RSV). " . . . and all of you know the truth" (NIV). The idea is that believers are not deficient in any area critical to spiritual life. The Holy Spirit is the "Anointing," making them able to reject the artifices of the servants of Satan, that come disguised as "ministers of righteousness" (2 Cor 11:15). Applying the truth. There is another aspect to this teaching. The "anointing" teaches us "about all things" (NASV). He effectively teaches us to correctly apply the truth. These days, there is a lot of emphasis on "how to. "Some professed religious leaders have become independently wealthy instructing people on the application of truth. The average religious book store is filled with "how to" books, ranging from financial expertise to domestic issues. This is an aspect of spiritual life addressed by Divine instruction. Isaiah wrote of this instruction incomforting words. "And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it,when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left" (Isa 30:21). That is the anointing! The Spirit will personalize the truth to your heart, enabling you to translate it into life that will be honored by God. Every child of God needs this anointing! Every child of God has access to this anointing! Every child of God can be "taught by God!"