Major Bible Themes

By Lewis Sperry Chafer

Chapter 15


In His relation to the believer, the Holy Spirit is three times spoken of in the Scriptures as the Anointing (2Co 1:21; 1Jo 2:20, 1Jo 2:27 R.V.); however, as the Presence indwelling each child of God, which is the equivalent of the Anointing, He is many times mentioned. Since every Christian has received the Spirit (1Co 6:19), every Christian has received the Anointing. This is clearly indicated in the three passages in which the word appears:


1. "Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; who hath also sealed us, and given us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts" (2Co 1:21-22). Four immediate results of the Spirit's indwelling are here suggested: (1) The baptism with the Spirit places the believer "in Christ"; thus each child of God is said to be established ... "in Christ" (1Co 12:13; 1Co 6:17; Gal 3:27). (2) Likewise, by giving us the Spirit, God hath anointed us. (3) Again, God through the Spirit hath sealed us (Eph 4:30), and the Spirit Himself is the seal. (4) So, also, God is here said to have given us the Spirit as an "earnest," and since an earnest is a part of the purchase money, or property, given in advance as security for the remainder, the Spirit is seen to be the earnest of the whole heavenly inheritance which belongs to every believer through infinite grace (2Co 5:5; Eph 1:14; 1Pe 1:4).

2. "And ye have an anointing from the Holy One, and ye know all things" (1Jo 2:20 R.V.). Here, again, it is implied that every Christian, being anointed, is indwelt by the Spirit and therefore is in the way of knowing those "deep things" of God which are alone imparted by the indwelling Spirit (1Co 2:10, 1Co 2:12, 1Co 2:15; Joh 16:12-15).

3. "But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him" (1Jo 2:27). In this passage, the important truth disclosed is that the Anointing abides. He may be grieved (Eph 4:30), but He is never grieved away. He may be quenched, or resisted (1Th 5:19), but He never departs (Joh 14:16).

In view of the prevalence of the unscriptural teachings which assert that the Holy Spirit does not indwell every believer and that He is secured in the heart as a second work of grace, or second blessing, which is to be sought by the Christian after he is saved, it is important that the Bible teaching on this subject should be considered carefully. There is a "filling with the Spirit" (Eph 5:18) which is conditioned upon the adjustment of the life of the believer to the Spirit of God, and this filling has to do with the believer's experience of power and blessing (Act 1:8; Act 2:4; Eph 5:18-20). The filling with the Spirit, which is often repeated, should not be confused with the once-for-all indwelling, or anointing, of the Spirit. It is only those who are indwelt by the Spirit who can be filled with the Spirit. The fact that the Spirit is present in every believer is stated in the following Scriptures:

Joh 7:37-39.-- "But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive" (compare Act 11:17; Gal 3:2).

Romans 5:5. -- "The Holy Spirit which is given unto us." This passage, like many more (note, Rom 8:23; 1Co 2:12; 1Co 12:3; 2Co 5:5; Gal 4:6; 1Jo 3:24; 1Jo 4:13; 1Jo 2:20, 1Jo 2:27), is inclusive of all believers, and not of some class of especially sanctified individuals.

1Co 6:19-20. -- "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" This, again, is not a reference to some class of holy Christians; the text shows that those addressed are guilty of the most serious sin (1Co 5:1; 1Co 6:1-2, 1Co 6:7-8). They are not told that they will receive the Spirit if they are holy; rather, they are told that having the Spirit which is a gift of divine grace to all believers alike, they should live holy lives.

Careful study will disclose the fact that Luk 11:13; Act 5:32; Act 8:12-17; Act 19:1-7 and Eph 1:13, when rightly translated, and when given their dispensational application, or when rightly understood, do not contradict the positive doctrine of the indwelling Spirit.

The fact that the Spirit is given to every believer when he is saved and as a vital part of his salvation, is not only Scriptural, but it is reasonable. The superhuman manner of life which the Christian must live if he honors his Lord is impossible apart from the enabling Spirit, and, since God has addressed this superhuman requirement to all believers, it is evident that He has provided the sufficiency for all.

The fact of the Spirit's indwelling or anointing is a characterizing feature of this age (Rom 7:6; Rom 2:29; 2Co 3:6).

By the indwelling of the Spirit, the individual is sanctified or set apart for God. In the Old Testament the anointing oil typifies the present anointing by the Spirit; oil being one of the seven symbols of the Spirit.

1. Anything touched with the anointing oil was thereby sanctified (Exo 40:9-15). In like manner, the Spirit now sanctifies (1Co 6:11; Rom 15:16; 2Th 2:13; 1Pe 1:2).

2. The prophet was sanctified with oil (1Ki 19:16), likewise Christ was a prophet by the Spirit (Isa 61:1; Luk 4:18), and the believer is a witness by the Spirit (Act 1:8).

3. The priest was sanctified with oil (Exo 40:15), likewise Christ in His sacrifice by the Spirit (Heb 9:14), and the believer by the Spirit (Rom 12:1; Rom 8:26; Eph 5:18-20).

4. The king was sanctified with oil (1Sa 16:12-13), likewise Christ by the Spirit (Psa 45:7), and by the Spirit the believer is to reign.

5. The anointing oil was for healing (Luk 10:34), suggesting the healing of the soul in salvation by the Spirit.

6. The oil made the face to shine, which was as the oil of gladness (Psa 45:7), and fresh oil was required (Psa 92:10). The fruit of the Spirit is joy (Gal 5:22).

7. In the fittings for the tabernacle, oil for the lights is specified (Exo 25:6). The oil suggests the Spirit, the wick the believer as a channel, and the light the outshining of Christ. The wick must rest in the oil; so the believer must walk in the Spirit (Gal 5:16). The wick must be free from obstruction; so the believer must not resist the Spirit (1Th 5:19). The wick must be snuffed; so the believer must be cleansed by the confession of sin (1Jo 1:9).

The holy anointing oil (Exo 30:22-23) was composed of four spices added to oil as a base. These spices represent peculiar virtues found in Christ. This compound thus symbolizes the Spirit taking up the very life and character of Christ and applying it to the believer. This oil could in no case be applied to human flesh (Joh 3:6; Gal 5:17). It could not be imitated, which indicates that God cannot accept anything but the manifestation of the life which is Christ (Phi 1:21). Every article of furnishing in the tabernacle must be anointed and thus set apart unto God, which suggests that the believer's dedication is to be complete (Rom 12:1-2).


1. Name five ministries of the Spirit which are mentioned in 2Co 1:21-22.

2. What is the value to the believer of each of these ministries?

3. Name three passages in which there is reference to the Spirit's anointing.

4. Indicate the Scriptures which teach that the Spirit indwells every child of God.

5. What are the contrasts between this ministry and that of His filling?

6. What motive is appealed to in 1Co 6:19-20 for a God-honoring life?

7. Why is it reasonable as well as scriptural to believe that the Spirit is given to every child of God?

8. What Scripture presents the fact of the indwelling Spirit as a characteristic of this age?

9. Name the various meanings of oil as a symbol of the indwelling Spirit.

10. What three truths are taught by the figure of the light in the tabernacle?

11. What is suggested by the compounding of the four spices in the anointing oil?

12. What is suggested by the law that this oil should not be imitated?

13. What is suggested by the anointing of every article of furnishing in the tabernacle?

14. When, and on what condition, is the Spirit given to the believer?