A. THE NATURE OF ANOINTING
There is a great deal of confusion about the subject of anointing, due to a lack of sound, biblical teaching and study on the subject. In this section, we will define anointing as it is revealed to us in the Scriptures.
Later in this section, we will define what anointing actually is; but for now, let us clarify what the anointing is NOT.
- Anointing is NOT an impersonal force or mystical power. Anointing is not like electricity (a non-living force), nor is it some type of magical power. Simon the magician (Acts 8:9-25) had a type of power (demonic); but he soon realized that what he had was nothing compared to the power residing within the apostles. The anointing of God is supernatural and spiritual.
- Anointing, as spoken of in Scripture, is NOT simple emotionalism, displaying a strong personality or a particular style of preaching. God often does touch our emotions when we are moving in the power of His anointing. But just showing strong emotions does not mean God’s anointing is present. People can display strong emotions when entertaining or playing sports. But, of course, that does not mean God’s anointing is present!
Some people think that when a preacher is loud or gets excited and jumps about, he is anointed. But true anointing from God may or may not be manifest in outward, physical actions.
In the same way, the presence of God’s anointing cannot be “earned” or obtained by education, knowledge or organization. Neither are great natural talents or abilities a sign of God’s anointing. Though our natural, human talents are gifts from God, even an unsaved person can have and use their talents. Having talents and abilities must not be confused with anointing.
It is true that God can empower our abilities with His anointing to release them beyond what we could accomplish in our own power, as He did with Solomon (1Kings 4:29-34). But our talent and ability are never to replace dependency upon God for His divine enablement.
The anointing from God is divine and supernatural, and involves His power and abilities!
- Anointing is not salvation. Every person who has repented of their sins and turned to Christ for salvation has the Holy Spirit! But that is not the same as the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Let us look at the works of the Holy Spirit at salvation:
- A person can be born again only by the work and power of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8; Rom 8:9,16).
- A person is supernaturally joined to Christ’s universal Body at salvation, Christ’s Body being all of those who have faith in Him for salvation (1Cor 12:13).
- A person is “sealed” by the Holy Spirit at salvation (2Cor 1:22; 5:5; Eph 1:13,14). The Greek word for “sealed” is arrabon, meaning guarantee or down-payment. But beyond those simple definitions is a deeper meaning. First, to be “sealed” means to be marked as belonging to God. It is a living symbol that God has accepted the payment made for us. That payment is the blood sacrifice of God’s Son for our sins (Eph 1:7). Second, as we come to Christ in faith for salvation (Rom 10:9,10) the Holy Spirit is given to us as a “deposit” or “first installment” of God’s investment in us. This investment is God’s guarantee (or promise) that we can increase daily in the life, joy, blessing and power of the Holy Spirit until the day when God receives us fully to Himself in heaven! (Phil 1:6; 2Pet 1:5-11).
The work and ministry of the Holy Spirit begins in us and through us at salvation. What we receive when we are first saved is but the first step in our maturing process. God’s will for all believers is that they become mature disciples as His sons and daughters. This requires a constant commitment on our part to personal growth and transformation. We must daily yield to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives as He convicts us, disciplines us, encourages us and empowers us!
PASTOR TO PASTOR
As a pastor and leader of the church, you are called by God to be an example to the rest of the flock of a commitment to be ever-growing in the things of God. It is tempting to think that, as a leader, we no longer need to make our personal growth in Christ a priority. But the exact opposite is true! (See 1 Peter 5:2,3.)