A Meditation: On 1 John 2:27 // You Don’t Need Anyone To Teach You //
by Matheus Yuhlung
“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” – 1 John 2:27 (NIV)
Most religious scholars believed that a new religion comes into existence when the older one fails to satisfy the spiritual and the intellectual development of its devotees. It may have been empirically true, our religions have indeed proceeded from animism, to polytheism, to monotheism and et cetera. It’s like man is the only creature on earth who needs to be repeatedly told who he is; and this very impediment to lookout for something extra, it seems gets carried forward in our genes. This verse, hence, perhaps, feels like an emphatic attempt to establish the gospel as the all satisfying truth of life.i
Though, to be honest, I did not jump into this verse with such positive outlook. The part of it which captured my mind was the part which says you do not need anyone to teach you; the arrogant part of me was feeling an instant success. But how right was I?
… the anointing you received from him remains in you
But this anointing is not an endowment of an all encompassing universal knowledge of the cosmos, the world, the universe, and all things created; but it’s an endowment of the knowledge of God, and grace to live by it. It’s an endowment of a conscience that is God revering in both spiritual and material existence. Matthew Poole wrote it as the habit of grace.ii
This habit is an essential element in a Christian’s being. As Matthew Henry writes:
“He that is constant to the practice of religion in trying times, shows that he is born from above, from the Lord Jesus Christ”iii
Meaning, this habit becomes the very distinguishing mark of Christian men as God’s peculiar peopleiv among heathens.
But this knowledge of living a holy-godly life, in other words, these ideas of morality, a godly conscience needs to be put into action and inculcated in our lives, only then it’ll turn into a habit and this is usually where believers tend to turn to false teachers or legalists. This is also where Satan hijacks God’s beautiful call to godly lives; and so this seems like the primary motive of why John the Apostle wrote that we (Christ-believers) do not need any teachers – this also is where the conscience of peculiarity rings the loudest.
Jamieson Fausset Brown emphasizes on the words and youv, stating that this is the call to the believers to set themselves apart from the seducers in their method of living godly lives.
After the anointing, I suppose everyone knew the need to live holy lives, but how, seems like a recurring theme amongst them. This, I believe, is a disbelieve that God’s grace is enough. And this still rings true today.
… his anointing teaches you about all things
We ought to live holy lives, but this we cannot do so by imposing Hellenistic or Gnostic principles of do’s and don’ts.viA Christian’s strength of moral integrity will eventually come from God’s given grace, when he believes that his anointing by the Holy Spirit was/is enough.
“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” – Titus 2:11-12 (NIV)
… as it has taught you, remain in him
The strength to live a godly life comes from the grace of God and not by super imposing strict moral regimes on oneself. This verse (1 John 2:27) hence, is not just a reaffirmation of this fact but also a warning and a caution call to run away from teachers and preachers that preaches about godliness or holiness differently.
iiMatthew Poole’s Commentary
iiiMatthew Henry’s Commentary
vJamieson Fausset Brown’s Commentary
viAdam Clarke’s Commentary
Bible Verses: biblehub.com