26 These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you.
27 And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.
(1 John 2:26, 27, NASB).
“These things I have written to you”: I have been meditating on this idea. We often hear the idea, “preach the gospel, and sometimes use words.” I’ve also heard, “you can preach and study and write and such, but see, I want to live out my faith with real people in the real world.” Besides the fact that this implies a that the study of the word is impractical and that most Christians live out their faith in some fairy land disconnected from real problems, this is simply a crippling and unbiblical viewpoint, ungrounded in grace and scripture. I find solace in John’s words here. He is WRITING to them; there is substance and power in it. It is particularly important that the gospel is a MESSAGE, not an EXAMPLE of living:
14 How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?
15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GLAD TIDINGS OF GOOD THINGS!”
(Romans 10:14, 15, NASB).
If the gospel is a particular person’s example of living, it points to the deeds of someone, and not to faith in what is not seen. Such a notion leads to a fake veneer of righteousness in order to minister, and not to transparency and honesty and true fellowship (1 John 1:7). More importantly, our faith is in a Savior who loves us and redeems us despite our deeds, and although our deeds may be improving, we will always be far less than perfect. Our churches are to be built on Christ, and not on our own deeds. Christ alone is the rock on which our faith rests, our deeds are shifting sand. Our message must not be about how wonderfully transformed we are, but about how wonderful a savior has redeemed us. Thus the message is all-important.
Furthermore, this is a salvation which is such that it does not consist of mystic unspeakable experiential knowledge, nor of extremely difficult wisdom which requires a great deal of technical academic knowledge. They are things that can be written to young men and little children (1 John 2:12), in words, and this is substantive and effectual ministry.
concerning those who are trying to deceive you. This is actually a new turn of mind about the antichrists. Not only had they been among the fellowship of believers, not only had they gone out from the fellowship (1 John 2:19), but they are trying to deceive us. The NKJV says simply that he writes concerning those who [try to] deceive us. The word “try” is not part of the original text. Actually they are deceiving us, only we may or may not actually end up BEING deceived. This word “deceive” means, they are intent on causing us to stray, to lead us away from truth into error. They are not simply trying to get us to believe some untruth about themselves, but they are trying to get us, as believers, to become deceived. They want us to doubt that the one God can be Father and Son, as distinct individuals. They want us to think that such things are strange and unimportant, and that emphasis on specific doctrines over and against experiential spirituality and pragmatic functional behavioral righteousness are more important. Here is the rub: we don’t have a disagreement with them. They are actively trying to get us to become deceived.
Anointing, knowledge, and the purpose of Christian teaching I have written about this before in the comments on 1 John 2:20-21, here and here. Also, I gave a message about this very thing, here. The only other thing I would add is that there is interest in the fact that he repeated this idea. People may be actively trying to cause us to become deceived, but we have an anointing and the Holy Spirit teaches us all things necessary to refute these deceptions (John 14:26). This anointing is emphasized as being trustworthy under fire, no minister or teacher needs to be set up as a defender to interpose to defend us. The teaching of even an apostle such as John is ancillary to this anointing and supernatural instruction in sound doctrine and truth. He repeats the trustworthiness of the anointing and knowledge of the believer in Jesus.