Some Pentecostal and Charismatic churches preach about having a “new anointing.” This new anointing is said to be a new outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit on the lives of believers specifically to help them experience more power, more joy, and more holiness. While there is plenty in the Bible about anointing, teaching Christians to seek a “new” anointing is not necessarily biblical, however well-meaning and spiritual-sounding the teaching may be.
In examining the concept of a new anointing, let’s back up to the Old Testament and work our way forward to the ministry of Jesus Christ and beyond.
In the Law, God gave instructions for making “a sacred anointing oil” (Exodus 30:25). This oil was to be used to anoint the tabernacle, the Ark, the table and its utensils, the lampstand, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering, the laver, and Aaron and his sons. (verses 26–30). Aaron and his sons were anointed in order to “consecrate them so they may serve [the Lord] as priests” (Exodus 28:41).
Throughout the Old Testament, we see that God commanded various people to be anointed as a symbol of those men’s divine calling. The prophet Samuel anointed Saul with olive oil (1 Samuel 10:1) and gave him this promise: “The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy . . . and you will be changed into a different person” (verse 6). Later, Samuel anointed David, with a similar result: “From that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David” (1 Samuel 16:13). In these examples of Saul and David being anointed as kings of Israel, we also see that the Spirit of God came upon them. For this reason, oil or anointing is often seen as representative of the Holy Spirit.
Anointing did not always involve a literal pouring of oil. The term anointed is also used in the Bible to describe someone God chose for a particular task. For example, the Persian king Cyrus is called God’s “anointed” in Isaiah 45:1, although no one actually poured oil on Cyrus. That Persian king was simply being declared as set apart for service to God. Jesus bears the title Christ, which means “Anointed One”—Jesus was set apart for the ultimate service of God. After Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, the Spirit of God descended on Him like a dove (Matthew 3:13–16). “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and . . . he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him” (Acts 10:38).
Here is a wonderful truth: under the New Covenant in Christ Jesus, every believer is anointed by God for service. Every person who believes in Jesus Christ is forgiven and sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. “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). “It is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Corinthians 1:21–22).
The teaching of a “new anointing” following salvation is not found in the Bible. The Bible never tells us to ask for the Holy Spirit to come upon us for the simple reason that He has already come. All believers are supernaturally and permanently anointed by the Holy Spirit. We are declared holy by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ.
Those who teach the “new anointing” have a tendency to seek showy supernatural experiences in their Christian walk. Those who claim to have experienced a new anointing may yet wonder why they still find life a struggle and why sin still puts up such a fight. It’s because every Christian walks in daily struggles, and no special or new anointing is going to change that.