Meditations in 1 John : 26 : Teaching
1 John 2:26,27 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit–just as it has taught you, remain in him.
It is always a funny thing about people who fall off the rails morally or intellectually; they always seems to want to convince others to think and act the same way as them. Maybe it is a sub-conscious form of justifying what they are thinking or doing, trying not to be different but getting others to be like them.
That was how it was then in John’s time. There were people who had veered away from the apostolic teaching, bringing their own slant to what had been taught in the church by the apostles, but now that ‘different slant’ brought a different God, and a different gospel, and from John’s clarity he can see that these people were trying to lead astray those left in the church.
When the apostle Paul met with the elders from Ephesuson the beach, he warned them “Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.” (Acts 20:30). There is that same thing that John had said previously, “They went out from us.” (2:19) This is the sad thing about all this; so often Satan is able to take those in the church and then through them bring deception and division. So often the danger doesn’t come from outside the church; we are aware that unbelievers will be against what we believe, but when it comes through people who had been in the church, now bringing “a different teaching”, that is so much more subtle and potentially dangerous.
Now he encourages those who are left in the church: “As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you.” He’s already spoken about this and we’ve considered it in some detail before, but now he just reassures them about it. It’s all right, he is saying, you’re still in the church, you still have the presence of the Holy Spirit within you, you haven’t fallen out of fellowship with the Father and the Son, you’re still all right.
Then he says something that could be easily misunderstood: “you do not need anyone to teach you.” Now does this mean they no longer need teaching, these people still in the church? No, because disciples go on needing teaching throughout their lives, but the point he is making is that they don’t need NEW teaching. They don’t need to hear something beyond the apostolic teaching they have received about the Gospel. If you come across someone who purports to be bringing something IN ADDITION to the Gospel revealed in the New Testament, know that they are not of God. If it is the Gospel PLUS something else, know that they are wrong. This is why we know that the Mormon church fits in here because whenever you talk with them, they may say they believe the Gospel but they are not happy with just that. It has to be the Gospel PLUS the Book of Mormon. False teaching!
Note what he then says: “But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit–just as it has taught you, remain in him.” Let’s examine that in bits. First, “his anointing teaching you about all things.” The fact that you are indwelt by the Holy Spirit means that He will show you what is right and what is wrong. This is not about Him adding anything to what you find in the Bible, but it is about Him conveying through your spirit, an awareness of the truth of things before you. Someone new appears in church, and you find yourself feeling uneasy about them. The Holy Spirit is giving you the gift of discernment and revealing there is something about them you need to be careful about. Someone, a guest speaker, comes to the church and as you listen to his teaching, again you feel uneasy about what you are hearing. This is simply the Holy Spirit pointing out there is error in what he is saying. In case this all sounds very negative, let’s give another illustration. A difficulty arises in life and, as you pray, you suddenly get an insight as to how to deal with it. You apply it and the difficulty is overcome. It was just the Holy Spirit within you giving you the gift of wisdom, to know how to deal with it. In each case He is ‘teaching’ you, and we need this again and again in life in these many different forms. It is not adding any new teaching to the Bible but just making it real in everyday circumstances.
Then he says, “as that anointing is real, not counterfeit.” That is a truth you need to know and it will then help you because, speaking of the Holy Spirit, he then says, “it has taught you.” Look, he is saying, you know the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit and you know the reality of it; it isn’t something made up, conjured up, formulated, stirred up, pretended, unreal or counterfeit. It is the real thing. You know the experiences we’ve just been talking about, how He has revealed what is wrong, shown what is right, and shown you the way ahead. You know the reality of all this, you know He is real. Therefore, in the light of all this, “remain in him.” You don’t need anything else; you don’t need some other additional teaching or additional experience beyond that which you find in the apostolic teaching (of the New Testament, as it came to be.) Just rest in Him, rest in your experience of Him, remain in Him, and be content with what you know and have experienced and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! Ok? Ok!