Are You Anointed?
If you’ve been around the church world for any number of years, I am sure that you have caught on to our nomenclature and sayings.
“God is good all the time. And all the time God is good.”
And the list goes on and on. But there is one term that is used quite a bit in certain church contexts and songs that, due to how it has been taught, has generated some confusion and, as it seems, has unfortunately helped to build a sort of spiritual caste system in the minds of many believers. It is the word: anointed. Just to be clear: the word “anointed” (anointing, or to anoint) is a biblical term; its use – not misuse – should therefore not be disparaged by any of us. So, how exactly is the term employed in Scripture? Here is a cursory look through both Testaments. I’ve sought to categorize my research for clarity purposes.
The anointing oil was a blend of fine spices and olive oil that was used ceremonially to consecrate the tabernacle/temple and all its items, as well as the priests for their service to God concerning the people and the tabernacle (Exodus 30:22-33, cf. also: 29:7, 40:15; Leviticus 8:10-12; Numbers 3:3).
Certain people were selected or permitted by God to serve as the kings of Israel/Judah and were therefore ceremonially anointed by a prophet or priest (1 Samuel 10:1ff, 16:1-13; 1 Kings 1:28-39; 1 Kings 19:16; the kings of Israel, particularly Saul and David, were called “the Lord’s anointed” – 1 Samuel 15:1; 2 Samuel 1:14, 1 Samuel 24:6; 2 Samuel 19:21).
God’s people as a whole – and even a pagan king – were called His anointed, communicating that they were chosen as His possession – i.e., the people of Israel – or for His purposes – i.e., Cyrus of Persia (1 Chronicles 16:22; Habakkuk 3:13; Isaiah 45:1).
People would anoint themselves with oil as a means of cleaning and refreshing their skin and perfuming their bodies (Ruth 3:3; Daniel 10:3; 2 Samuel 12:20). The Greek verb “to anoint” simply means to spread on, which, for example, is what Jesus did with the mud that he made from his saliva to place on the blind man’s eyes (John 9:6).
Jesus is said to have been anointed by God and is called the anointed one (i.e., the Messiah, Christ, Chosen One), both of which are related to his person, his ministry, and his work of redemption (Mark 14:8; Luke 4:18; Acts 4:26-28, 10:38).
And then there is the last sense (which I am not dogmatic about in terms of my interpretation of the two primary texts referenced in this paragraph) where to be anointed has to do with believers being called or chosen by God to fulfill a specific ministry, as seen in 2 Cor. 1:21 with Paul and Timothy (and Silvanus?; cf. also, 2 Cor. 3:1-6), or the universal church having received the Holy Spirit who is possibly referred to as “the anointing” in 1 John 2:20, 27 (which is where the point of application lies the most for us today; cf. also, John 14:25-26, 16:13-15; Acts 10:38; Note: The anointing in 1 John 2 could instead be understood to mean a grace work of the Holy Spirit, or the truth concerning Christ/the word of life that all believers have received.).
The point I am making is that nowhere in Scripture, particularly the New Testament, do you hear of there being different degrees, levels, or types of anointing, or that only a few elite Christians have the anointing and the rest of us do not, or that you have to go through some form of difficulty or sequence of “spiritual steps” in order to receive a deeper level of anointing. As far as I can tell, all of this type of talk or teaching has no legitimate basis in the Scripture.
So let me bottom line this article in closing: Are you as a Christian anointed? Yes…just like every other believer in Jesus.