An unconverted state will bear fruit corresponding with its own nature. It must, in the nature of things, be so. It would be a miracle, a miracle of grace, were it not. “Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” So is it in the spiritual world. The enmity against God of the carnal mind, the rejection of the Lord Jesus, the governing principle of SELF, the supreme ascendancy of the world, the slavery of sin, indicate, unmistakably, the unrenewed, unregenerate nature from which they spring. Old things have not passed away.
“But the anointing which you have received of him abides in you, and you need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing takes you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, you shall abide in him.” 1 John 2:27
“The Lord’s anointed” is the expressive and appropriate designation of all the Lord’s people. This anointing it is that marks them as a “chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people.” It is the Lord’s peculiar mark upon those who distinguishes and designates them as His own.
All who are strangers to this anointing are strangers to the grace of God and the calling of the Holy Spirit. There may be much spiritual light in the judgment, and even an open profession of religion before the world, added to which there shall be something of Jehu’s “zeal for the Lord;” and yet that anointing of the Holy Spirit be still lacking, apart from which all intellectual illumination, and outward profession, and party zeal, pass for nothing with a heart searching God.
As the proper signification of the endeared name, Christ, is anointed, so the true signification of the honored appellation, Christian, points us to the anointing, of which all who have union with Christ personally share. I believe the remark to be as solemn as it is true, that eternity will only fully unfold the amount of evil that has sprung from calling those Christians who call themselves Christians, without any valid title to the high, holy, and distinguished appellation.
How imperfectly are men in general aware of the deep, the significant, the spiritual import of the term! They think not, they know not, that a Christian is one who partakes, in His renewing, sanctifying grace, of that same Divine Holy Spirit with which Christ was anointed of the Father for His great work.
The effects of this anointing are what might be expected from a cause so glorious. It beautifies the soul. It is that anointing spoken of by the Psalmist: “And oil to make his face to shine.” Therefore it is called the “beauties of holiness.” How does a man’s face shine- how is his countenance lighted up- when the joy of the Lord is his strength, when the spirit of adoption is in his soul, when the love of God is shed abroad in his heart! It gladdens too. Therefore it is called the “oil of joy” and “the oil of gladness.”
It causes the heart to sing in its deep sorrows, imparts the “garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness,” and fills the soul with the glory of that “kingdom which consists not in foods and in drinks, but in righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
Another effect springing from this anointing is the deep teaching it imparts- “You have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.” Such are some of the effects of this holy anointing. It beautifies, gladdens, and teaches.
“And all the churches shall know that I am he which searches the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” Revelation 2:23
WHOSE prerogative is it to search the heart? who can fathom this fathomless sea of iniquity? who can follow it in all its serpentine windings? who can detect its deep subtlety?—who? “I, the Lord, search the heart: I try the reins.” A mere creature—such as the denier of Christ’s proper Deity would make Him—cannot know the heart. It is a perfection peculiar to God, and must in its own nature be incommunicable; for were it communicable to a creature, it could not be peculiar to God Himself. Were it possible, we say, that God should delegate the power and prerogative of searching the heart and trying the reins of the children of men to a mere created being, then it could with no propriety be said of Him, the He only searches the heart. And yet to Jesus does this attribute belong. Is not, then, the evidence of His Deity most conclusive? Who can resist it? From this attribute of Christ what blessedness flows to the believing soul!
It is at all times a consolation to him to remember that Jesus knows and searches the heart. Its iniquity He sees and subdues; for the promise is, “He will subdue our iniquities.” He detects some lurking evil, some latent corruption, and before it develops itself in the outward departure, the overt act, He checks and conquers it. “Cheering thought,” may the believer say, “that all my inbred evil, the hidden corruption of my heart, is known to my Savior God. Lord, I would not conceal a thought; but would cry, ‘search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.'” He sees, too, His own gracious work in the soul. The little spiritual life that He has breathed there—the little grace that He has implanted there—the little spark of love that He has kindled there—the faint and feeble longings after Him—the inward strugglings with sin—the hungering and thirsting for holiness—the panting for divine conformity—all is known to Jesus. The Lord Jesus knows and recognizes His own work: the counterfeit He soon detects. The outward garb and the unhumbled spirit, the external profession and the unbroken heart, escape not His piercing glance. Man may be deceived—the Lord Jesus, never. We may not be able to discern between the righteous and the wicked—between nature and grace—between the outward profession and the inward reality; but Jesus knows what is genuine and what is base—what is the mere effect of an enlightened judgment and an alarmed conscience.