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  • Joe Steenholdt

1 John 2:20-27 - Why are you called a Christian?

The title is more than a religious label; you share an anointing with our Savior.

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Read 1 John 2:20-27

Listen to passage & devotional:


Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 32

Q. But why are you called a Christian?

A. Because by faith I am a member of Christ

and so I share in his anointing.

I am anointed

to confess his name,

to present myself to him as a living sacrifice of thanks,

to strive with a good conscience against

sin and the devil in this life,

and afterward to reign with Christ

over all creation for all eternity.



This past week, we have focused on the significance of Jesus’s mediatorial office of prophet, priest, and king bound up in his title of Christ, the anointed one. Since those who follow Jesus are called Christians, a word that literally means 'little Christs,' what does it mean to share in this title?

Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 32 applies how the prophet, priest, and king roles translate into the life of a Christian, as well. By faith, you are united with Christ and are anointed by the Holy Spirit to live for Him.

John brings up this anointing in this passage of his first letter. The first marker is knowing and confessing the truth that Jesus is the Christ! This is the work of the Christian as a prophet: professing the truth of God, which God’s Word and Spirit testify to us. Those who deny Jesus as Christ are the deceivers. This past week, we have heard from many places in the Bible that Jesus is fulfilled all of the Old Testament prophecies regarding the Messiah: He is the true Prophet, Priest, and King.

Yet these claims faced opposition through false teachers who tried to lead these young Christians astray that John is addressing. So, John directs them to abide in the truth of God’s Word that they have been taught from the beginning.

This means you need to meditate on (think deeply about) Jesus and the promise of eternal life.

Dig Deeper

It can be easy to forget what it means to be a Christian in today’s world. We face different opponents and false teachers than John’s audience did in the first century, but his advice is still sound.

His language in this passage echoes the promise of the new covenant described in Jeremiah 31, especially verses 33 through 34,

“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Make sure you personally know God and His grace!

Christ delivered on the new covenant promises and shared its blessings by sending the Holy Spirit. So that in claiming the name Christian, as prophets, we can boldly confess Jesus as the Christ proclaiming the truths of His Word. As a priesthood of believers, we can live as sacrifices of thanks because of Christ’s once-and-for-all sacrifice on the cross. And as royalty belonging to God’s kingdom, we strive in this world against sin and the devil while looking forward to reigning with our Lord for eternity.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The Holy One who is righteousness and truth

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Abide in Jesus and what He teaches you through His Word. “Fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience” (1 Tim 1:18-19)



Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Galatians 3


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