There are no passages in the Bible indicating that anointing is required for salvation. Anointing in the Bible commonly refers to the pouring of oil upon someone or something.
Anointing in the Old Testament
The first occurrence of anointing is recorded in Genesis 28:10-22. Jacob had fallen asleep using a stone as a pillow. He had an amazing dream in which God spoke to him. He awoke with the awareness that he was in a very special place; God’s house. Here is Jacob’s response to his dream:
So early in the morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. (Genesis 28:18)
Although we aren’t told the significance of Jacob anointing the stone, it is clear that Jacob feels the pillar is very important.
Ingredients and instructions for anointing oil are found in Exodus 30:22-33. The priests were to be anointed with it (Exodus 28:41) as well as the tabernacle and contents that were built during Israel’s wilderness journey (Leviticus 8:10-11). Words associated with the anointing process include ‘ordain’, ‘consecrate’ and ‘holy’. There are also records of Kings being anointed to their role (See 1 Samuel 16:13 and 2 Samuel 2:4 regarding David).
So we can gather from these Old Testament passages that the sacred act of anointing was symbolic of a dedication and devotion of the person or object to God. They were being completely set apart for God, often for a specific role.
Anointing in the New Testament
In the New Testament anointing is referred to in a number of ways. It is involved in the healing of the sick (Mark 6:13, James 5:14), preparing for burial (Matthew 26:12, Mark 16:1) or for being refreshed (Matthew 6:17, Luke 7:38).
According to Robert Young’s ‘Analytical Concordance to the Bible’ (First Published 1879) the name Christ in Greek means ‘anointed’. The Lord Jesus Christ, in His name, is constantly being described as anointed; set apart and dedicated for a most special role:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour. (Luke 4:18-19; taken from Isaiah 61:1-2, see also Acts 10:38)
Anointing is also used on very few occasions to describe the followers of Jesus who are set apart for a life ‘in Christ’; their lives are dedicated to God and His truth. (See 1 John 2:20, 27, 2 Corinthians 1:21-22).
How are we saved?
None of the passages about the sacred act of anointing directly refer to being saved from sin and death. Here are a few important passages that describe the vital role of God’s love and our faith in salvation:
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:16)