The Universal Christ

"The resurrection gives us a Christ who is spiritually present; the Holy Spirit gives us a Christ who is universally present. By the coming of the Holy Spirit the risen Christ is made omnipresent, and the whole process of revelation here and now completed. Nothing higher can be looked for until the veil is dropped on the other side. Momentous consequences follow the acceptance of this truth. If the age of the Spirit under which we are now living marks the final outgoing of God to man; if the God who is manifested in Christ is every-where present in the Spirit; if through the medium-ship of the Spirit he dwells in the inner sanctuary of the soul; if he is not only with man, but in man; if through the Holy Spirit his presence within the soul is realized as the presence of Christ, then the time foretold by Jesus has come when temples and shrines are no longer indispensable, when every man has immediate access to God as the Father, and when every humble receptive soul may become "an habitation of God in the Spirit." "
- James Mann Campbell (The Presence, p. 89)

The New Covenant Gift of the Spirit

"Let us recall the three considerations that have been
mentioned. First, that our Lord Himself in His Divine-human nature was on earth, and is now in heaven, possessed of the fulness of the Spirit, and this in such a manner that the Spirit entered into all He was in the one sphere, and enters into all He is in the other. Secondly, that the Spirit given us by our Lord in His glorified condition is His own Spirit in the most definite and particular meaning of the words. Thirdly, that when the Spirit is bestowed upon us He must be made inwardly and experimentally ours, entering into all that we are in a manner similar to that in which He entered into all that Jesus was and is. Let us fix these three points distinctly in our minds, and it will follow that the Spirit promised as the chief gift of the New Covenant is pervaded by human as well as Divine elements. As the Spirit of the exalted and glorified Lord, He is not the Third Person of the Trinity in His absolute and metaphysical existence, but that Person as He is mediated through the Son, who is human as well as Divine. It is on this particular aspect of His being that He diffuses Himself through the members of Christ's body, and abides in them. Only as human, entering into and coalescing with what is human, can He be also our Spirit dwelling in a living and real way within us."
- William Milligan (The Ascension and Heavenly Priesthood of Our Lord, p. 189)

Monday, June 26, 2017

Christ the Archetype of Humanity, part 8 of 8

    "From this peculiarity in the Person of Christ there flows a twofold distinction from others, in the light of which His supreme significance for the moral and religious life of mankind is apparent. On the one hand, He is the Image of God in humanity, the pure and perfect revelation of Divinity in a human life. We can know God only through the medium of the best and worthiest qualities of our own nature: and he who carries our humanity to its true height becomes thereby the organ by whom God can communicate Himself and reveal to us all that we are able to know of His nature. And in virtue of His human perfection Christ is to us the embodiment of the highest truth we can know about God as a spiritual Being. We learn from the goodness of Christ how we are to think of Him whose invisible qualities He translated into the language of human dispositions and actions. What of God became human in Him, was His Spiritual Being, His Love and Truth and Grace, not such natural or metaphysical attributes as His Omnipotence or Omniscience which cannot be expressed in a man. Only that can be in man and was in Christ, which man was made capable of sharing with God. This is limited to the Spiritual or Personal qualities. Christ is the Revelation of the Love and Holiness of God.
    It must be observed, however, that Paul does not dwell much on this aspect of Christ, on His being personally the human representation of God. In one passage,* indeed, he speaks of the "light of the knowledge of the glory of God" made visible in the face of Jesus Christ His Son, where it is evident that the Perfected humanity of Christ is viewed as the mirror in which we are to see reflected the glory of the Divine character. And the idea of Christ's Lordship, which, as will appear more fully by and by, is so prominent in Paul's conception, is based on the truth that He is the Son of God, and as such the Revealer of His mind and will. But while it is fundamental with the apostle that Christ is the revelation of the Grace of God, the exhibition of the Divine character, it is not so much to the personal life of Jesus that he makes his appeal in proof of this, as to the gracious ends accomplished by God through the death on the Cross. To this I shall return in my next lecture. For the present it is enough to remark, what is indeed obvious to everyone familiar with the Epistles, that the idea of Christ as personally the Image of God does not receive in the thought of the apostle anything like the place that is given to the other aspect of His Person, under which He is viewed, not in relation to God as His Image, but in relation to mankind as its Pattern or Archetype.

*2 Cor. iv. 6."

- David Somerville (St. Paul's Conception of Christ: or, The Doctrine of the Second Adam, pgs. 48-50)

*Re-post from 9/20/15


Sunday, June 25, 2017

Christ the Archetype of Humanity, part 7 of 8

    "At the same time, Paul teaches that as long as He was in the flesh, Jesus was the Son of God in weakness, and that it was not till He was raised from the dead that He was determined to be Son of God "in power." While He was in the flesh he was under the law, in appearance a servant rather than a son, submitting to all the legal ordinances of the Jews. Not that there was anything of the servile spirit in the obedience that was thus conditioned. As He partook of the flesh without its sin, so He was under the law without partaking of that spirit of slavish subjection which the legal system engendered in those in whom the spirit of sonship was absent. His goodness was none the  less spontaneous that it manifested itself in obedience to legal enactments. But the freedom which belongs to a spiritual Being from outward arrangements and ordinances that are carnal in their character was thereby concealed. And, moreover, He was, from His connection with the flesh, subject to weakness and death, under the power of that to which in His proper nature He was superior. Hence it was the Resurrection that manifested the real Glory and Power of Sonship. He then left behind Him all that impaired the freedom of His activity as a Son of God and the completeness of His spiritual resemblance to His Father, entering on a condition in which He was raised above weakness and death, and invested in all the prerogatives that belong to Divine Sonship in its perfected form.
    According to the teaching of our apostle, then, the constitution of the Person of Christ presents a radical contrast to that of all other men, in virtue of which He occupies a position that no other can share with Him. But let us mark wherein the difference and contrast consist. It is no exact or intelligible account of it to say that "He is God and Man in two distinct natures and one Person," while we are human beings only. The antithesis between the Divine and Human that is implied in this definition of His Person is not applicable to the matter, and does not give a true account of the difference between Christ and us. For, on the one hand, He is not represented as Divine in a sense that isolates or places Him out of relation to others as One possessed of qualities that cannot be communicated or transferred to them. And in the second place, it is ascribing to those with whom He is contrasted more than is true to say that, in our natural state, we are perfect and complete men, for we are defective in what constitutes proper manhood, in the higher life of the Spirit and Divine Sonship. The real contrast is to be found here, that while Christ is the Spiritual Man and Son of God, we are carnal, and at best servants of God, that while He perfectly fulfils the idea of a human personality, we entirely fail, being only potentially what He was in very truth. God made man capax Dei, capable of His own life, and of manifesting His own perfection. But Christ alone expresses the Divine thought, and stands out in contrast to all others in the very constitution of His inner life which was determined by the Divine Spirit to be the Life of God's true Son on earth. There is then a constitutional difference between Christ and all other men; but the ground of that difference is not so much metaphysical as religious, although there is a metaphysical element in the case too, as will appear in another lecture. We are not to find His Divinity in anything outside of His human life, but in the Divine Perfection of that human life itself, in the perfection of His love and holiness. He is more than Man, He is Divine; but His Divinity, in so far as it is apprehensible by us, is that of which human nature is capable, without which it is an imperfect and fragmentary thing, and infinitely less than what God made it to be—a Divinity which He communicates to as many as receive Him and in Him become children of God."

- David Somerville (St. Paul's Conception of Christ: or, The Doctrine of the Second Adam, pgs. 46-48)

*Re-post from 9/19/15

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Christ the Archetype of Humanity, part 6 of 8

    "The other thing we learn from the opening words of the Epistle to the Romans is, that it was when He rose again from the dead that Jesus entered on His full glory as the Son of God. He was appointed, or determined, to be the "Son of God with power in consequence of His resurrection from the dead." The meaning is not that Jesus then first became Son of God, but that the glory of His Sonship, which was obscured before, was then manifested, and the full power that belonged to it entered upon. His Messiahship became an accomplished fact. His distinction from all others, as a Man who had lived a human life under our limitations, lay in this, that He was the Son of God. Paul does not allow that men in their natural state are sons of God any more than he will allow that they have the Spirit of God. And his teaching in this respect is criticised by many on the ground that it falls far behind that of his Master, who proclaimed the universal Fatherhood of God. But let us do no injustice to the apostle. He does indeed expressly say that the end of Christ's mission was that we might receive the "adoption of sons,"1 which implies that apart from Him this is not our privilege. But in the same passage he compares Humanity, while under the law and before Christ came, to a child that is "under tutors or governors." If then the actual relation of man to God as affected by sin is that of a servant, obeying a law that is foreign to his likings, and conscious of God as Law Giver and Judge rather than as a Father, man is nevertheless a servant who is by birth a son or child of God, and is destined to receive the position and spirit that are proper to sonship. In distinguishing between the legal relation, in which man is God's servant, and the relation of grace which he owes to Christ, in which man is God's son, Paul does not deny a natural capacity for sonship in man as made in the image of God. But the apostle sets no value on metaphysical distinction; he deals with religious facts. It is enough for him that men in their actual state are at best servants, and can make no claim either to the position or character of children. While acknowledging that God is Father of all, he declines to say that all men are God's sons in any real sense; for the only sonship that is of value in his eyes is that which is accompanied with the power of sonship, with the full status before God as well as the love and devotion to Him that enter into the very idea, and that were exemplified in the life and character of Him who was the Son of God. He alone was God's dear Child, the image of His Father, partaker with Him of a life of love and holiness.

1---Gal. iv. 5."

- David Somerville (St. Paul's Conception of Christ: or, The Doctrine of the Second Adam, pgs, 44-46)

*Re-post from 9/18/15

Friday, June 23, 2017

Christ the Archetype of Humanity, part 5 of 8

    "2. But to Paul Christ was more than the Spiritual Man. He was also the SON OF GOD, the Original of that sonship that is a primary fact of Christian consciousness, the Man in whom the filial relationship was embodied in its absolute truth. The intimate connection between the Divine Sonship of Christ and the indwelling in Him of the Divine Spirit is set forth in the opening of the great Epistle to the Romans, where Paul speaks of the subject of the Gospel as being "God's Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh, and marked out as, or appointed to be, Son of God, with power according to the Spirit of Holiness by (or in consequence of) His resurrection from the dead."1 Two things are to be noticed here.
    On the one hand, we have the statement of the two factors of Christ's Person, the Flesh and the Spirit, and of the relations arising out of these to men and to God. As regards the flesh, He was a Jew and the Son of David. He is declared here and elsewhere 2 to be a Man of a particular nationality, having in His veins the blood of the Royal House of Judah. The Davidic descent of Christ was after all a carnal distinction, and of no value in the kingdom of God, and it surprises us to find the apostle who is so strenuous an opponent of all inequalities among men that arise out of the flesh, taking account of this accident of Christ's birth. Possibly it was his object to commend the gospel thereby to the Jewish section of his readers, who from this description of Christ would recognise Him as the Messiah promised to their fathers. Or he may have wished, in condescending to particularise His nationality, to make broad and plain the fact that He was a true Man. But the real importance of the words quoted attaches to the account they contain of what Christ is in reference to the Spirit that constituted His higher Nature—"appointed to be the Son of God in power, according to the Spirit of Holiness." The ground of His Glorified Sonship is said to be the Indwelling in Him of the Holy Spirit of God; and we gather that the Sonship itself is a union with God that is ethical in its character and manifestation, consisting in a community of mind and spirit with God, an identity with Him in moral feature and purpose. It is a relationship in which, as a man, Christ stands to God. By the perfection of His filial Spirit and life He fulfils the idea of our humanity, and is thus qualified to be the First-born of many brethren and the Author of Sonship in His people. Inasmuch as it is a relationship which He graciously shares with us, it is plain that it is as a man, the Man in whom the Divine Life was found in its fulness, and who in His human excellences altogether resembled God, that He is called His Son. What deeper significance the term has in Paul's writings when applied to Christ will appear in another lecture; but there is no doubt it is as a human Son of God we are to think of Him when He is so called, His pre-eminence being not that He is God's Son, while all others are, and can only be, sons of men, but that He is what He is, in distinction from all others, God's Son, in order to share His glory with us, to invest us in His own Sonship, and so to raise us to the dignity and power of true manhood.

1---Rom. i. 4.; 2---Rom. ix. 5."

- David Somerville (St. Paul's Conception of Christ: or, The Doctrine of the Second Adam, pgs. 41-43)

*Re-post from 9/17/15

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Christ the Archetype of Humanity, part 4 of 8

    "If the flesh of Christ was not in itself sinful, the being in the flesh was nevertheless a humiliation to Him, and marked a lower stage in His history compared with that which followed. The flesh is a hindrance to the full unimpeded activity of the Spirit; it is weak, mortal, perishable, and the death of Christ is spoken of as significant of a new and higher step in the development of His Person; for, rising again, He became wholly spiritual, filled and pervaded by the unbounded power of the Spirit of God, which, although given to Him without measure when He was in the world, was then restrained by the material conditions of His earthly life, and could not till death took place glorify every part of His humanity. He became, then, in the fullest sense a Spiritual Man, so identified with the Spirit of God indeed that He is called Spirit. "The Lord is the Spirit."1 It was as Spirit that Christ was first known to Paul, and it was the impression of Him as thus apprehended that ruled his thought of Christ to the end. Not that there is intended any negation of body. Paul does not conceive of Spirit apart from corporeity. He refers to the "Body of Glory"2 in which the Risen One is clothed. Nor is the manhood lost sight of in his conception of the Exalted One. It is noticeable that he often applies to Him the name of Jesus, redolent of earth and of human memories. But withal, Christ as Exalted is in His very nature in a pre-eminent sense Spirit, free from the limitations of sense and flesh, the "Life Giving Spirit,"* or Dispenser of Spiritual Energy to men. Moreover, in His Glory as Spiritual Man He is the Forerunner of His brethren, who, with the laying aside of the flesh, are destined to enter on a similar form of life and activity. Perfected in their spiritual nature they will then receive bodies "like unto His Body of Glory."
    To sum up then under this head: in the Risen Christ the apostle sees the triumph of the principle of Spirituality in Man. He beholds a manhood dwelt in by the Spirit of God and reaching its true end in the sinless perfection of its powers and in the attainment of eternal Life. Thus is Christ, Risen and Glorified, the realisation of the true idea of our nature,—Man, drawing his life from the Holy Spirit of God, become thereby holy and immortal.

1---2 Cor. iii. 17. ; 2---Phil. iii. 21. ; *---1 Cor. xv. 45."

- David Somerville (St. Paul's Conception of Christ: or, The Doctrine of the Second Adam, pgs. 40-41)

*Re-post from 9/16/15

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Christ the Archetype of Humanity, part 3 of 8

    "In contrast is Jesus Christ, the Man in whom God is Immanent, and who, in consequence, realises the Ideal of our being. In Him also were Spirit and Flesh, but related to each other as they ought to be—the Spirit of God controlling the flesh and determining all the activities of the personal life, so that He became the Type of the Spiritual Man. To this peculiarity in the Person of Christ, the indwelling of the Spirit of God, is to be referred the fact, so fundamental in Paul's thought of Christ, of His personal holiness and entire freedom from sin. What distinguished Christ from all other men in the view of the apostle, and constituted the secret of His power to save, was His sinlessness. And in referring this exceptional position of Christ in humanity to His supernatural endowment by the Spirit of God, we are not to understand him as implying that it was not also the personal attainment of Christ. The apostle, indeed, says nothing explicit as to the process by which Christ achieved holiness, but that the latter was in no sense a ready-made virtue, or the result of a natural and necessary process, may, I think, be inferred from the fact that the apostle asserts the solidarity of Christ with mankind in sharing with them the flesh or material nature, with its weakness for good, its openness to temptation, its mortality.
    I can refer only in passing to the controversy on which so much has been written as to what precisely is meant by the term "flesh" in Paul's writings. A certain class of writers maintain that he was influenced in his use of the term by the usage of Greek philosophy, and that he held the essential evil of matter. According to them, his teaching is that the flesh, in virtue of its being material, is in itself evil, and that assumed by Christ it was in Him, as in us all, the seat of sinful passions and desires; His personal sinlessness being conserved by the admission that while it was an objective reality in His flesh it never became sin subjectively, or His own personal act, having been kept from passing into an act of will by the opposite principle of the Spirit. There is no proof, however, that Paul used the term in this metaphysical sense, while the strong probability is that he held the Old Testament view of the historical connection between the flesh and sin. The two things are separable in idea, although in concrete experience and in the life of the race the flesh is sinful; but the distinction leaves us free to hold that the flesh of Christ was that of unfallen human nature. It is another question whether it really was so. The doctrine that Christ was not born by ordinary generation seems to secure for Him a participation of flesh exempt from sin. But whatever Paul's view was concerning the supernatural origin of Christ's life, this doctrine was not taught by him, and we can scarcely proceed upon it in the interpretation of his language on the subject under consideration. Some accordingly have held, not on speculative grounds but on grounds of Scripture, and what appear to them the necessities of the case, that the flesh attributed by the apostle to our Lord in His humilation was in itself, and apart from His personal will, identical with ours,— convinced that unless we take this view we cannot hold that His temptations were ours, or that His victory over evil is available for us. On the other hand, we have statements of the apostle's that make us pause before we go so far. We are told that "Christ knew no sin";1 and such an aloofness of it from His very consciousness is scarcely consistent with its presence as an active principle or power in His material frame. Again, we read that He came in the "likeness of sinful flesh,"2 a phrase that seems to have been chosen to guard against the idea of a perfect identity between the flesh of Christ and that of ordinary men. Two things may be like without being the very same. And the similarity between Christ's flesh and our own may well have been accompanied by a difference affecting the experience of the moral life, when we remember the strength of the Divine consciousness in Him. At the same time, the dissimilarity must not be pressed. The likeness was real enough to involve Him in a conflict with sin in the flesh that called forth His active "condemnation"3 of it. For whatever else the apostle may mean to imply by that expression, he points to a dealing on the part of Christ with sin, in which He practically denied its right to rule in human nature, and demonstrated that a man who has the Holy Spirit for his life and strength is superior to the flesh, and need not succumb to its weakness. And this practical condemnation of sin in the flesh involved a continual resistance to it in its manifold approaches and forms of assault on His integrity, that establishes a community of feeling and experience between the sinless One and His brethren of a very real description.

1---2 Cor. v. 21.    2---Rom. viii. 3.    3---Rom. viii. 3."

- David Somerville (St. Paul's Conception of Christ: or, The Doctrine of the Second Adam, pgs. 37-40)

*Re-post from 9/15/15

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Christ the Archetype of Humanity, part 2 of 8

    "I. The one element in the conception of Christ that ruled the thoughts of the apostle was that of Spirituality. Christ is the SPIRITUAL MAN in whom the old antagonism in human nature between flesh and spirit has been overcome. It is the Exalted Christ to whom the apostle always refers; and it is of Him that this description holds in its absolute truth; but it holds also of the historic Jesus and of His state of humiliation, and we must look at it as the account of what He was when on earth in order to understand the full significance of it as the account of His glorified Person.
    The supremacy of Christ as the Spiritual Man is best understood when we bear in mind what Paul's doctrine of human nature is. He regards man in his ideal constitution as made up of two parts, spirit and flesh. This is, of course, not a metaphysical definition, it is a religious account of the matter. It has respect to man as a religious being, having a nature that connects him with God and the spiritual world, as well as one that connects him with the world of sense and the material order of things. In virtue of his power of choice, man may determine himself either in the one direction or the other; he may obey the higher law of his being, or he may surrender himself to the desire and impulse of his sensuous nature; and, according to the choice he makes, he becomes either a spiritual or a carnal man. In point of fact he has made his choice in favour of the flesh, and this choice is repeated in every member of the human race, so that owing to the preponderating influence of the appetites and desires that have their seat in the material part of us, we are now carnal in character and mind, conformed to the principle of the flesh. Paul denies to human nature in its actual condition the possession of the Spirit of God. He recognises, of course, the presence and working in human nature of spiritual elements, the activity of the nous, or mind, with its perception of a law that coerces the animal nature, the existence, in short, of an Inner Man that responds to the voice of God and duty. But when he speaks of Spirit, there is present to his mind the idea of power, energy, a principle of life and activity, and there is no such principle in man's nature. We are "without strength,"* though we strive after the Ideal we cannot reach it. The flesh is supreme, and if elements that are spiritual are still found in us, we are without the Spirit of God whose energy is needed to make them vital and dominant. Without this indwelling of God man is now a moral failure, and the highest capacities of his nature remain undeveloped.

* Rom. v. 6."

- David Somerville (St. Paul's Conception of Christ: or, The Doctrine of the Second Adam, pgs. 35-37)

*Re-post from 9/14/15

Monday, June 19, 2017

Christ the Archetype of Humanity, part 1 of 8

    "In my opening lecture I aimed at showing that if we would be guided aright in our inquiry regarding Paul's thought of Christ, we must interrogate his inner life and experience as formed in union with the Risen Lord. It was the consciousness of the Power of Christ on his personal life that led him into that understanding of his Master, "for whose excellency he counted all things loss."1 His Christology was in this way the product of his experience, the expression of what he had found Christ to be in his deepest life. There is in friendship such a thing as a union between two of so intimate a character that the inner forces that mould the life of the one pass into and become factors in the personal life of the other, and by their effects on his experience disclose to him the inmost nature of the man who has thus entered his personality to possess and dominate it. Now, from the moment that Paul was arrested by the Risen Lord on the way to Damascus and surrendered himself to Him, his whole soul was thrown wide open to His influence, to receive impressions that resulted in the communication to him of what was most distinctive in the personal life of his Master, and in the forming within him of an experience, with features of its own, that in its turn shed light on the nature of the Heavenly Being with whom he had been brought into so intimate a fellowship. The new elements that enriched his personal life, and that were due to the influence of the Exalted Christ, supplied him with the means of construing to his thought the nature of that wonderful Personality that had made all things new within him.
    His Epistles contain the record of that experience; and from them we learn that in its essential features it was, on the one hand, a consciousness of new moral power identified by him with the power of the Holy Spirit of God, and, on the other hand, a consciousness of religious satisfaction rooting itself in reconciliation or sonship to God. He was conscious, in short, from the outset of his connection with Christ, of power proceeding from Him that was the power of the Holy Spirit, for by it that which was spiritual in him regained its supremacy over the flesh. And He who shed that influence on his inner life was thus revealed to him as a Being whose nature was Spirit, a Man distinguished from and contrasted with all others in this, that the Spirit of God was the indwelling Power of His personal life. Again, in communion with Christ, the old Judaic feeling of legalism and estrangement in his relation to God had given place to the consciousness of forgiveness and sonship; and this too, derived from Christ, pointed back to Him as the Son of God, differing from all others in the reality and power of His Divine Sonship and in His perfect oneness with God, constituting Him the Source to all who believed in Him of the Standing, Spirit, and Character of the children of God.
    We have here the root conception of Christ in the mind of the apostle. He is at once the PNEUMATIC or SPIRITUAL MAN, in whom the Holy Spirit of God is operative as the very principle of His Personality; and the MAN who is the SON OF GOD, the embodiment through His full participation of the life of the Father of the filial relation of Man to God.

1-Phil. iii. 8."

- David Somerville (St. Paul's Conception of Christ; or, The Doctrine of the Second Adam, pgs. 33-35)

*Re-post from 9/13/15

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Lord, the Spirit

"3. But Paul not only identifies the Spirit of God with that of Christ, he identifies both with the very Person of Christ. "The Lord is the Spirit,"1 we read; and, again, "we are changed into the same image by the Lord, the Spirit."2 The intention of the apostle in this passage is evidently to bring out the fact, that He whom Christians acknowledged to be the Lord was not such an one as the Jews, with their worldly ideas of the Messiah, believed in,—a Messiah distinguished by outward prerogatives, but one who was Spirit, ruling men by a Divine power at the centre of their lives. Being "in Christ" and "being in the Spirit" are the same thing; and in the thought of the apostle, "Christ," the "Spirit of Christ," and "the Spirit of God" are practically synonymous. At the Resurrection Christ became a Life-giving Spirit to mankind, and by the heightening of the powers of His Personality that then took place, He was so made one with the very life of God as to be constituted a perfect medium through whom the Spirit of God could act upon us; and His Personal Influence and Working being, to the entire exclusion of every lower element, the influence and working of the Holy Spirit, He, Himself Personally, might be spoken of as the Lord, the Spirit.

1 2 Cor. iii. 17.
2 2 Cor iii. 18. Compare also 1 Cor. xv. 45 with vi. 17."

- David Somerville (St. Paul's Conception of Christ: or, The Doctrine of the Second Adam, pgs. 117-118)

*Re-post from 9/6/15

Saturday, June 17, 2017

A true understanding of the Gift of the Spirit

"2. Paul identified the Spirit of God, bestowed on believers under the Gospel, with the Spirit of Christ. Effects that are referred by him in some passages to the Divine Spirit, are in others attributed to Christ's Spirit, the two being evidently in his view one and the same power.* There was an historical justification for this; for the Spirit of the historic Jesus, that was stamped on all He said and did, was recognised as the Spirit of God Himself. It was the holiness and graciousness and truth of the living God that were expressed in the acts and words of Jesus on earth. Accordingly, when, as Risen and Glorified, He entered on His perfected fellowship with God, the Spirit proceeding from Him, by which He continues to live and energise in the hearts of men, is in the most real sense the very Spirit of God; and the experiences of the life of faith are referred both to the Spirit of Christ and to the Spirit of God. Here, too, we mark an advance on the primitive doctrine, for while it was the original belief that the Divine Spirit is given to men through Christ, it does not seem to have been held, till Paul taught it, that this Divine Gift is itself the Spirit of Christ, the active principle of His Personality. And we can understand the significance and value of the contribution the apostle thereby made to a true understanding of the Gift of the Spirit. As long as the connection in men's minds between the Person of Christ and the Gift of God's Spirit was loose and uncertain, manifestations of mere enthusiasm, originating in unsanctified human nature, might be declared to be the outcome of that Spirit which was the peculiar endowment of the Church. But by drawing close the bond between the Gift and the Person, and identifying the Spirit of God with the energy of the Personal life of Jesus, Paul furnished a test by which phenomena really due to the Divine Spirit might be discriminated from others that did not proceed from that source. For what comes from the Spirit of God must authenticate itself as such by its being in harmony with the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit exhibited in the character and deeds of Jesus of Nazareth.

* Rom. viii. 9, 14; Gal. iv. 6."

- David Somerville (St. Paul's Conception of Christ: or, The Doctrine of the Second Adam, pgs. 116-117)

*Re-post from 9/5/15

Friday, June 16, 2017

Truth in us divinely real

"Where Truth enters into the inward parts, as God desires, there it becomes the life of the Spirit. But it may also only reach the outer parts of the soul, the intellect and reason, and while it occupies and pleases there, and satisfies us with the imagination that it will thence exercise its influence, its power is nothing more than that of human argument and wisdom, that never reaches to the true life of the spirit. For there is a truth of the understanding and feelings, which is only natural, the human image or form, the shadow of Divine Truth. There is a Truth which is substance and reality, communicating to him who holds it the actual possession, the life of the things of which others only think and speak. The truth in shadow, in form, in thought, was all the law could give; and in that the religion of the Jews consisted. The truth of substance, the Truth as a Divine life, was what Jesus brought as the Only-begotten, full of grace and truth. He is Himself 'the Truth.'
    In promising the Holy Spirit to His disciples, our Lord speaks of Him as the Spirit of Truth. That Truth, which He Himself is, that Truth and Grace and Life which He brought from heaven as a substantial spiritual reality to communicate to us, that Truth has its existence in the Spirit of God: He is the Spirit, the inner life of that Divine Truth. And when we receive Him, and just as far as we receive Him, and give up to Him, He makes Christ, and the Life of God, to be Truth in us divinely real; He gives it to be in us of a truth. In His teaching and guiding into the Truth, He does not give us only words and thoughts and images and impressions, coming to us from without, from a book or a teacher outside of us. He enters the secret roots of our life, and plants the Truth of God there as a seed, and dwells in it as a Divine Life. And where, in faith, and expectation, and surrender, this Hidden Life is cherished and nourished there, He quickens and strengthens it, so that it grows stronger and spreads its branches through the whole being. And so, not from without but from within, not in word but in power, in Life and Truth, the Spirit reveals Christ and all He has for us. He makes the Christ, who has been to us so much only an image, a thought, a Saviour outside and above us, to be Truth within us. The Spirit brings with His incoming the Truth into us; and then, having possessed us from within, guides us, as we can bear it, into all the truth."

- Andrew Murray [The Spirit of Christ, chapter 9 (The Spirit of Truth)]

*Re-post from 9/4/15

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The fruit of the Spirit's working

"1. He distinguishes between such phenomena as were called gifts of the Spirit and those that are termed the graces of the Christian life.1 The tendency of the primitive Church was to exalt the extraordinary gifts that pointed to a state of ecstasy, and to regard all who possessed such gifts as spiritual in a pre-eminent sense. Paul, on the other hand, emphasised the surpassing worth of the moral and religious effects of the Spirit's working in the renewal of character. He held up the Christian life itself, in the normal exercise of the graces of love, humility, meekness, etc., as being in a special sense the product of the Spirit. "If," says Gunkel, in his admirable little book on this subject, "his fellow believers regarded the extraordinary elements in the Christian life as spiritual, Paul regarded the usual and ordinary ones as being such. They had respect to what was peculiar to the individual, he to what was common to all; they to what stept forth suddenly, he to what was regular. They singled out separate things in the Christian life; the value they attributed to wonderful gifts he placed on the Christian life itself."2 This marked a great advance on the thought of his age; and by his teaching on this point, as has been well said, "Paul inaugurated that decisive change of view by which Christianity made the transition from the miraculous world of ecstatic feeling and apocalyptic phantasy into the true spiritual world of religious and moral personal life, and by which it could become the regenerating leaven of the history of mankind."* In accentuating the moral and religious elements in the Christian life, Paul does not make less of the Divine energy to which they are due. In saying that moral goodness is the best result of the Spirit's working, he holds as strongly as any that only the Spirit of God can produce that goodness. By referring the entire Christian life to the authorship of the Divine Spirit, he taught, in the most explicit way, that there entered into the very conception of Christianity a passion and energy of ethical life, an enthusiasm for God and for man, a power of holiness which was not in man himself and which the Divine Spirit in man alone could awaken and sustain. The fact that the ordinary graces of Christian character were ascribed by him to the Spirit of God, is of itself a testimony to the superhuman worth and Divine origin that were felt to belong to true and noble character in apostolic times.

1 1 Cor. xii. 31, xiii. 1, etc., xiv. 1.
2 Gunkel, Die Wirkungen des Heiligen Geistes in der Lehre des Paulus, p. 82.
* Pfleiderer, Hibbert Lectures, p. 82."

- David Somerville (St. Paul's Conception of Christ: or, The Doctrine of the Second Adam, pgs. 115-116)

*Re-post from 9/4/15

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A blessedness worth any sacrifice

"As long as the Christian only asks what is easy
and pleasant, he will never understand that it is
expedient, really better for us, that Christ should
not be on earth. But as soon as the thoughts of
difficulty and sacrifice are set aside, in the honest
desire to become a truly God-like man, bearing the
full image of the first-born Son, and in all things
living well-pleasing to the Father, the thought of
Jesus' departure that His Spirit may now become
our very own, and we be exercised and disciplined
in the life of faith, will be welcomed with gladness
and gratitude. If to follow the leading of the
Spirit, and specially the personal friendship and
guidance of Jesus in it, be a much more difficult
and dangerous path than it would have been to
follow Him on earth, we must remember the privilege
we enjoy, the nobility we attain, the intimacy of
fellowship with God we enter into, — all these are
infinitely greater.To have the Holy Spirit of God
coming through the human nature of our Lord,
entering into our spirits, identifying Himself with
us, and becoming our very own just as He was the
Spirit of Christ Jesus on earth,— surely this is a
blessedness worth any sacrifice, for it is the beginning
of the indwelling of God Himself."

- Andrew Murray (The Spirit of Christ, p. 100)

*Re-post from 9/3/15

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Divine power that had taken up its abode in human nature

"The bestowal on men of God's Spirit was, according to prophecy, to be the accompaniment of the Messianic era,— or rather, it was viewed as an essential part of the salvation that the Messianic era was to usher in. And the sign to the apostolic Church that the new age had indeed come, that Jesus was the Messiah, and that the promised salvation was the actual possession of men, was the fact to which observation and experience bore witness, wherever the Gospel was preached, that the Spirit was given. It is an indisputable fact that certain extraordinary effects followed wherever men believed the glad tidings. A new energy, producing remarkable phenomena, took possession of them, an energy that was spoken of by them as that of the Spirit of God, thereby intimating their belief that these phenomena proceeded from a cause that was Supernatural and Divine. The phenomena themselves were of the most varied character, being physical, intellectual, moral and religious. They were all different manifestations of one and the same Divine power that had taken up its abode in human nature, and that testified by these extraordinary effects to the truth of the Gospel and to the advent of a new age in the history of religion. Paul shared to the full the belief of the primitive Church on this subject. He himself enjoyed a measure of the common gift of the Spirit that was greater, it would seem, than that which fell to any other, uniting in himself in a singular degree the various endowments that were conferred on believers by this new power.1 He was in the most entire agreement with his fellow Christians as to the superhuman origin of the gift and as to its paramount value for the religious life. His own experience of the Divine life, so full and so vivid, gave him the most exalted impression of the might of this supernatural energy and its manifold working within the sphere of the Church. So far, Paul stood on ground common to the whole primitive Church. But now it is to be noticed that there were several directions in which he, through the depth of his experience, struck out lines of teaching for himself, that not only bore witness to the originality of his view, but contained truth of the highest importance for a proper understanding of the religious life.

1 See i Cor. iii. 5 ; Gal. i. 1 ; 2 Cor. xiii. 3 ; Rom. xv. 18-29."

- David Somerville (St. Paul's Conception of Christ: or, The Doctrine of the Second Adam, pgs. 113-115)

*Re-post from 9/3/15

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Power of a new Humanity

"First, then, Christ is IMMANENT in men. According to the teaching of Paul, the Exalted Christ is the medium by whom the Holy Spirit of God is given, He is the source of an energy on human nature that is recognised as the energy of God. The man Christ Jesus, in other words, is the organ of the activity of God's Holy Spirit in the hearts and lives of men, and dwells in them as the Power of a new Humanity that embodies the same principle as that which was realised in Him, and that lives by the same life.
Paul's doctrine of the Spirit is a subject eminently worthy of special investigation. This cannot be undertaken now; but two or three of the more distinctive features of his teaching must be noticed; for if it be true, as a thoughtful writer1 has remarked, "that the apostle's entire thinking stands under the influence of his estimate of the Spirit," we may expect that his conception of the Person of Christ will be modified by this estimate. While, therefore, it may be convenient for the dogmatic theologian to keep the Pauline Pneumatology and Christology apart, we cannot follow this course except at the risk of mutilating the living thought of the apostle; for in his religious experience, as we shall see, he recognised no hard and fast line between what he owed to Christ and what he owed to the Spirit of God; and to do justice to his intuition of truth we must look at the experience with which it is indissolubly connected.

1 Gloel, in his Der Heilige Geist in der Heilverkundigung des Paulus."

- David Somerville (St. Paul's Conception of Christ: or, The Doctrine of the Second Adam, p. 113)

*Re-post from 9/2/15

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Humanity's Life and Lord

"This continued Activity is exercised, on the one hand, by His Spirit, and on the other hand by His authority as Lord. As Spirit, or in the power of His Spirit, which is the Spirit of God, He has incorporated Himself, as it were, into the very life of the race, in order to distribute in the members of it His own perfected life; while as Lord, He is related to them as their Supreme Authority, representing God to us and receiving from us the obedience we owe to God. Christ as the INDWELLING SPIRIT and LIFE of His people, and Christ their Lord,—this is the distinctive glory of the Exalted One. The change from death to resurrection, we are taught to believe, brought to Him an accession of personal endowment that qualified Him to exert His influence as a principle of new life in men, and it meant also His investiture with supreme power as the Lord of human life and destiny. Accordingly, in the record of Paul's experience in the Epistles, He is recognised both as an energy of Divine life in believers, working towards their renewal and moral transformation, and also as Lord and Sovereign ruling them by the authority of His truth and goodness. In other words, Christ is at once Immanent as the Spirit of God in men, and TRANSCENDENT over them as their Divinely constituted Lord. Both aspects of His Person enter into the apprehension of His unique greatness as the Second Adam. Fully to understand His work in this capacity, we must view Him not only as the embodied type of all that a spiritual man should be, not only as having acted on God's behalf and man's, and by His work in relation to sin restored us to fellowship with God,—we must view Him also as living to reproduce and perpetuate in us by His Spirit His own perfection, and as exercising over us the authority of God Himself. It is, as we shall see in this connection, because He works in us with an energy of love and holiness that is identified with the Spirit of God, and commands our obedience with an absoluteness that is identical with the authority of God, that we are to recognise Christ as truly Divine, and to acknowledge the presence in Him of powers of Godhead that constitute Him the object of our faith and worship."

- David Somerville (St. Paul's Conception of Christ: or, The Doctrine of the Second Adam, pgs. 111-113)

*Re-post from 9/1/15

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Second Adam

"We have been occupied in unfolding the contents of the conception under which Christ presented Himself to the faith of the apostle as the Second Adam. I have dwelt in the preceding lectures on two of the leading truths that enter into that conception: the first being, that, as Risen and Exalted, Christ is personally the Ideal or Archetypal Man, the Type of human perfection; the second, that, in His historic life on earth, He acted as the Representative of man, having by His obedience unto death redeemed the human race from sin and its consequences, and become the Founder of a new humanity. We pass on now to consider the Activity on which He entered when He rose from the dead, by which He communicates to and perpetuates in His people the virtue of His Person and work, and so completes His function as the Second Adam of mankind.1

1 There would be no proper parallelism between the first and Second Adam if Christ were no more than an example, for Adam is a power of evil in us, and Christ must be in us a power of good in order to be the counterpart of the other. As William Law puts it, in a striking passage in The Spirit of Prayer: "If Adam was only an outward person, if his whole nature was not our nature, born in us, and derived from him into us, it would be nonsense to say that his fall is our fall. So in like manner, if Christ, our Second Adam, was only an outward Person, if He entered not as deeply into our nature as the first Adam does, if we have not as really from Him a new inward spiritual man as we have outward flesh and blood from Adam, what ground could there be to say that our righteousness is from Him, as our sin is from Adam?" "

- David Somerville (St.Paul's Conception of Christ: or, The Doctrine of the Second Adam, p. 111)

*Re-post from 8/31/15

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Cultivate the consciousness of the Lord's indwelling Presence

    "It is not enough to say that the Spirit comes as a freshening force, reviving the living sense of the divine presence which man had lost; He comes to the heart of man bringing a new consciousness of God's overshadowing presence by making known the presence of Christ in the soul.  By the promise of His presence with them and within them, Christ upstayed the hearts of His disciples at first; by the assurance of His presence with them and within them, He now upstays their hearts.  The assurance of His presence is the crowning blessing of the new dispensation.  Having come, He waits for recognition; He wants the gracious purpose of His spiritual coming to be recognized, that He may be intelligently cooperated with as a practical power in every-day life.  Of the things necessary to the realization of the highest Christian experience nothing can be put before the cultivation of the consciousness of the Lord's indwelling Presence."

-James Mann Campbell (After Pentecost, What? pp. 201-202)

*Re-post from 07/09/14
*Re-post from 8/30/15

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The New Testament conception of the Spirit

    "At present, as I think, justice is done to the conception of the Spirit neither by the severer forms of traditional orthodoxy nor by modern Liberal Protestantism. If our faith on one side is solicited for a certain corpus of doctrinal theory, on the other we are pointed to the Carpenter of Nazareth, the heroic Man of the first century. In neither case is fellowship with a present Lord made central. This must deepen profoundly our sense of value in the New Testament conception of the Spirit. For it is only as the Spirit--one with Christ Himself--comes to perpetuate the spiritual presence of the Lord, and to cast light on the unending significance of His work, that we are quite liberated from the impersonal and external, whether it be lifeless doctrine or the historically verified events of an ever-receding past. Only through the Spirit have we contact with the living Christ. It is particularly in the pages of the Fourth Gospel that this large and fruitful idea is presented."

- Hugh Ross Mackintosh (The Doctrine of the Person of Jesus Christ, p. 373)

*Re-post from 10/12/14
*Re-post from 8/30/15

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Spirit of God as made effective in Christ

    "It would he an incorrect reading of Acts, however, and
a misunderstanding of the Christian experience of the apos-
tolic age to suppose that the Spirit has only an official
or ecclesiastical interest in individuals. The second im-
portant function of the Spirit is as mediator of the Christian
religious experience. It is the experience of the Spirit
which constitutes men as Christians. That is, it brings men
into that relationship with Jesus which creates in them
Christian experience and in turn the Christian experience is
evidence that the proper relationship toward Jesus has been
obtained.1  In this way men are qualified for the mission and
for the fellowship. The church is a spiritual society en-
gaged in communicating their experience of God in Christ to
others. This is the central conception of the story of
Pentecost. It is the central conception of the Book of Acts.
And there is every reason to believe that it was the creative
fact in primitive Christianity. It is really an absurd mis-
understanding of the primitive Christian fellowship to sup-
pose that only certain individuals and they only at certain
times were inspired by the Spirit, or that the Spirit was a
donum superadditum. It belongs to the Christian life as such.
For it is the Spirit of God as made effective in Christ.

1. "Who can think that Paul stood alone in identifying the
Pentecostal outpourings as a working of the 'Spirit of
Jesus'? Paul at least is not conscious of departure from
the conviction of 'those that were before him' in this
pregnant identification." Bacon, Jesus the Son of God, p. 93."

- Fred Daniel Gealy (The Significance of Jesus for the Holy Spirit Experiences of the pre-Pauline Church, p. 240)

*Re-post from 8/26/15

Monday, June 5, 2017

By means of the Holy Spirit mankind becomes partakers of the Messianic goods

    "Consider, then, the summary of the preaching of John
the Baptist (Mt 3:2), of Jesus (Mt 4:17; Lk 4:16-19; of.
4:15-16), and of Peter, Acts 2:38. Peter retains the bap-
tism of repentance unto remission of sins, of John and Jesus,
but instead of the phrase, "The Kingdom of God is at hand,"
we read "Ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." The
immediate interest is in the present. Baptism has become
baptism in the name of Jesus. And the new relation to Jesus
which the believer in the Risen Lord sustains creates in
him the spiritual powers which are active in the new age
and which are characteristic of the Messianic time. By
means of the Holy Spirit, then, men become partakers of the
Messianic goods, the chief of which is fellowship with God
and Christ. It is no accident that the description of the
common life (2:42-7) in gladness and singleness of heart, 
praising God, etc., follows the description of the great 
effusion. It is the earthly counterpart of the heavenly 
grace. The meaning of this fellowship is well explained 
by Rackham,- 
"The fellowship is, spiritually, the Fellow - 
ship of, i.e. a real vital unity with, the Son of God 
Jesus Christ. This unity is effected through the Spirit, 
so it becomes the fellowship of the Holy Ghost. And 
where the Son and Spirit are, there is the Father, so it 
is fellowship with the Father. Christians then are fellow - 
partakers of the divine nature: therefore they have fellow- 
ship with one another." 1

1. Rackham, Acts of the Apostles, p. 35."

- Fred Daniel Gealy (The Significance of Jesus for the Holy Spirit Experiences of the pre-Pauline Church, pgs.192-193)

*Re-post from 8/25/15

Sunday, June 4, 2017

By the one Mediator, Jesus Christ

"By the one mediator, Jesus Christ, the universal purpose of the one God in the creation of man is brought to fulfillment.  Hidden from created sight, dwelling not in darkness impenetrable, but in light that is inaccessible, God manifests Himself mediately, through Christ; carries out His purposes through Christ.  When He would create or save a world, it is done through Christ.  Whatever dealings He has with man, or man with Him, are carried on through Christ.  Standing in union with God and man, Christ the God-man forms the golden link that binds them together.  Nor does His mediatorship express a temporary but an eternal relation.  It was not something begun with His incarnation.  His incarnation was merely the self-revelation of His abiding presence as the Mediating Word through whom God had been continually manifesting Himself to humanity, through whom He had continually been acting upon humanity, and through whom He had unweariedly been seeking to bring humanity into abiding union with Himself."

- James Mann Campbell (Unto the Uttermost p.95)

*Re-post from 08/16/14
*Re-post from 8/28/15

Saturday, June 3, 2017

The goal to which all things tend

"The evolutionary process which has God for it's origin and Christ for it's agent has redemption for it's end.  A redeemed world, a finished world, a world brought by the unseen Christ into harmony with heaven's order is the goal to which all things tend."

- James Mann Campbell (The Presence pp. 194-195)

*Re-post from 07/25/14
*Re-post from 8/27/15

Friday, June 2, 2017

Two chief elements in the revelation of God through Christ

"Jesus Christ is the supreme source of religious knowledge for
men. In God's revelation of himself to men through Jesus
Christ, there are two chief elements. One of these is historical.
The other is experiential. Both are essential to Christianity. In
the life and words and deeds of Jesus of Nazareth we have the
historical elements of God's self-revelation. But to these must
be added the superhistoric work of Christ, who continued to act
upon men through the Holy Spirit, after his ascension."

- E. Y. Mullins (The Christian Religion in it's Doctrinal Expression, p. 47)

*Re-post from 8/26/15

Thursday, June 1, 2017

A great High Priest, part 2 of 2

"Hebrews IV.—14. 'Having, therefore, a great High Priest, who hath passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.'

    A great High Priest, Jesus the Son of God. The name Jesus speaks of His humanity, and of His work as a Saviour from sin. This is the first work of the priest—the cleansing, the putting away of sin. The name Son of God speaks of His divinity, and His power as High Priest, really to bring us to God, into the very life and fellowship of the Holy One. It is in His Son God speaks to us; it is to the perfect fellowship and blessedness of the ever-blessed One that our great High Priest that is passed through the heavens can, and does indeed, bring us.
    Having, therefore, a great High Priest, let us hold fast our confession! He is (iii. i) the Apostle and High Priest of our confession. The knowledge of what He is is our strength to hold fast our confession. Twice the Hebrews had been told how much would depend on this (iii. 6, 14). "We are His house, if we hold fast." "We are become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast." Our faith in Christ must be confessed. If we have Him as our great High Priest, He is worthy of it; our souls will delight in rendering Him this homage; without it, failure will speedily come; without it, the grace of steadfastness, perseverance, cannot be maintained.
    O brethren, having a great High Priest, who is passed through the heavens, let us hold fast our confession. Let every thought of Jesus, in heaven for us, urge us to live wholly for Him; in everything to confess Him as our Lord.

1. Ought it not to fill our hearts with worship and trust, and love without end, this wondrous mystery: the Son of God, become Man; the Son of Man, now God on the throne; that we might be helped.

2. Who hath passed through the heavens! beyond all thought of space and place, into the mystery of the divine glory and power! And why? That He might in divine power breathe that heavenly life into our hearts. His whole priesthood has, as its one great characteristic, heavenliness. He communicates the purity, the power, the life of heaven to us. We live in heaven with Him; He lives with heaven in us. With Him in our hearts we have the kingdom of heaven within us, in which God's will is done, as in heaven, so on earth. Let us believe it can most surely be.

3. After all the solemn warning, about falling in the wilderness, coming short of the rest, see here your safety and strengthWherefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Jesus. Having Jesus, let us hold fast."

- Andrew Murray (The Holiest of All, pgs. 165-166)

*Re-post from 8/7/15

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A great High Priest, part 1 of 2

"Hebrews IV.—14. 'Having, therefore, a great High Priest, who hath passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.'

    After his digression, in the warning to the Hebrews, not, like their fathers with Moses, to harden their hearts through unbelief, our writer returns to his argument. He had already twice used the words High Priest (ii. 16, iii. i), and is preparing the way for what is the great object of the Epistle—the exposition of the heavenly priesthood of the Lord Jesus, and the work He has by it accomplished for us (vii.—x. 18). In this section (iv. 14—v. 10) he first gives the general characteristics of that priesthood, as typified by Aaron, and exhibited in our Lord's life here on earth. In chaps, i. and ii. he had laid the foundation of his structure in the divinity and the humanity of our Saviour: he here first speaks of Him in His greatness as a High Priest passed through the heavens, then in His sympathy and compassion, as having been tempted like as we are.
    Having, therefore, a great High Priest. The therefore refers to the previous argument, in which Christ's greatness had been set forth, and in view of the dangers against which he had been warning, the readers had been urged to steadfastness in holding fast their confession. The force of the appeal lies in the word Having. We know the meaning of that word so well in earthly things. There is nothing that touches men so nearly as the sense of ownership of property. I have a father, I have money, I have a home—what a world of interest is awakened in connection with such thoughts. And God's word comes here and says: You have,—O best and most wonderful of all possessions,—You have a great High Priest. You own Him; He is yours, your very own, wholly yours. You may use Him with all He is and has. You can trust Him for all you need, know and claim Him as indeed your great High Priest, to bring you to God. Let your whole walk be the proof that you live as one, having a great High Priest.
    A great High Priest who hath passed through the heavens. We have said more than once, and shall not weary of repeating it again, that one of the great lessons of our Epistle has been to teach us this: The knowledge of the greatness and glory of Jesus is the secret of a strong and holy life. Its opening chapter was nothing but a revelation of His divine nature and glory. At the root of all it has to teach us of Christ's priesthood and work, it wants us to see the adorable omnipotent divinity of Christ. In that our faith is to find its strength, and the measure of its expectation. By that our conduct is to be guided. That is to be the mark of our life—that we have a Saviour who is God. A great High Priest, who hath passed through the heavens. Later on we read (vii. 26): Such an High Priest became us, made higher than the heavens. It is difficult for us to form any conception of what heaven is, so high, and bright, and full of glory. But all the heavens we can think of were only the vestibule through which he passed into that which is behind, and above and beyond them all—the light that is inaccessible, the very life and presence of God Himself. And the word calls us to follow our great High Priest in thought, and when thought fails, in faith and worship and love, into this glory beyond and above all heavens, and, having Him as ours, to be sure that our life can be the counterpart of His, the proof of what a complete redemption He has wrought, the living experience of what he has effected there."

- Andrew Murray (The Holiest of All, pgs. 163-165)

*Re-post from 8/7/15

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The inward revelation of the indwelling Christ, part 3 of 3

    "To call conscience "the Essential Christ," as Joseph Cook has done, is to confound things that differ. Conscience is not Christ. It is the mouth of the soul through which Christ speaks. It is His secret, inspoken voice witnessing for God in man. It is not the inward revelation of Christ. It is rather the mirror upon which the inward, personal revelation of Christ is reflected.
    All men have a consciousness, more or less dim or distinct, of an ideal character, a character which imbodies the highest moral excellence which they can conceive. Miss Frances Power Cobbe, in her interesting "Reminiscences" quotes a remark of John Stuart Mill, to the effect that "even the most skeptical of men have an inner altar to the Unseen Perfection, while waiting for the true one to be revealed to them." That "Unseen Perfection" is their Christ. By it their conduct is to be tested; to it their lives ought to be conformed. The historical embodiment of that ideal character which floats before the minds of men as a guiding light is found in the life of Jesus Christ. In Him the ethical ideal is fully expressed. Hence, to know perfectly the ideal Christ, we must know the historical Christ; to know the Christ in man, we must know the Christ in the Bible. An ideal is more potent in its influence when embodied in a life, than when it exists in the abstract. Actualized righteousness and incarnated love have a mandatory power, which ideal righteousness and ideal love do not possess. We speak of the power of Christianity, when what we really mean is the power of Christ. Christianity is an abstraction, Christ a potential reality. And the power of Christ over a man will always be in proportion to the measure in which he is known. Those who gain the clearest vision of His glory will be the readiest to recognize the authority with which He is vested, and to yield themselves to it. No authoritative church or dogma will be allowed to come between them and His supreme authority. No crown-rights will by them be acknowledged save those which belong to Him, who, because of the royalty of His character has become King of their lives forever.
    This inward revelation of Christ brings with it a holy impulsion to complete consecration. It supplies not only an inward model, but an inward motive; not only an inward authority but an inward constraint. Truth revealed in a person is dynamic. Illumination touching the secret of a great life is inspirational. The vision of spiritual greatness always fires the heart. Hence, those who have really seen the Lord, experience His power. He lays hold upon them, controls them, compels them. Their hearts are filled with a consuming passion to carry out His will in all things. From a life of glad self-devotion to His interests nothing can hold them back. Bravely do they push out into the world's dark places to tell the wondrous things of Christ, which God hath revealed to them by His Spirit. They have not only a message to proclaim, but a testimony to give. They have seen the King in His beauty; His glories have been inwardly unveiled before their wondering eyes, and they are moved to speak of the entrancing vision, moved to tell forth the praise of Him who by being revealed in them, has, by His heart-compelling love revolutionized and redeemed their lives."

- James Mann Campbell (The Indwelling Christ, pgs. 20-23)

*Re-post from 8/6/15

Monday, May 29, 2017

The inward revelation of the indwelling Christ, part 2 of 3

    "This inward revelation of Christ is given, not mediately but immediately. It is not a thing of inference or deduction, but of immediate knowledge and consciousness. Faith is spiritual vision; spiritual perception. It brings to the soul "the evidence of things not seen." It "sees Him who is invisible." Those who possess it can say of Christ;—"Whom not having seen we love; on whom, though now we see him not, yet believing, we rejoice greatly with joy unspeakable and full of glory." From those who walk by sense-perception; from those who believe in nothing that lies beyond the sphere of the senses; from those who test all evidence by the scientific method that takes cognizance of nothing outside the world of phenomena, this inward revelation of Christ is as completely concealed as the beauties of landscape or picture are concealed from one who is color blind. "O Lord, open mine eyes that I may see," is a proper prayer for every one who has looked in vain for this vision beatific. Paul traced the sudden inflashing of light by which he knew his Lord to the direct agency of God. It was God who revealed His Son in him. "An anointing from the Holy One" is needed to purge the eyes of mortals from every earthly film that they may see the spiritual Christ. When to Simon Peter came this inward revelation of his Lord, it was said;—"Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven."
    This inward revelation of Christ is, like all the deep experiences of life, for every man by himself. It is something which is realized in individual experience; something with which no stranger is to intermeddle. The one who receives it does not "confer with flesh and blood;" he does not take counsel with his own heart; he does not allow himself to be governed by the opinions of others. With his living Lord he holds private communication. Into the tent of his General he goes alone to receive his orders direct from His hand. Rising superior to worldly influences and interests he recognizes no rule in life save the will of his Lord. In the glory of the vision which he beholds all earthly considerations fade out of sight, as the stars fade from the sky before the brightness of the rising sun.
    This inward revelation of Christ constitutes an authoritative ideal. If the historical revelation of Christ is "an objective conscience,'' the inward revelation of Christ is a subjective conscience. It is an imperative law of righteousness, a sovereign power over life. It establishes Christ as Lord of the conscience in the seat of authority, sets Him upon the throne of His glory—for what more glorious throne can the King of kings occupy than a loving, loyal heart? Those who behold in the crucified Nazarene the Lord of Glory, fall down before Him; beholding in Him the grace of God, they love Him; beholding in Him the authority of God, they obey Him; beholding in Him the image of God, they copy Him. Henceforth He becomes the model of their daily imitation."

- James Mann Campbell (The Indwelling Christ, pgs. 18-20)

*Re-post from 8/6/15

Sunday, May 28, 2017

The inward revelation of the indwelling Christ, part 1 of 3

" "O! Jesus! King most wonderful,
        Thou Conquerer renowned,
    Thou sweetness most ineffable,
        In whom all joys are found!
    When once Thou visitest the heart,
        Then truth begins to shine,
    Then earthly vanities depart,
        Then kindles love divine."

—E. Caswall. (trans.)

     The essential thing in religious experience is the inward revelation of Christ. More important than the revelation of Christ to man is the revelation of Christ in man; more important than the revelation of Christ in the Word is the revelation of Christ in the heart. For not until the outward revelation in the Word has become a subjective experience; not until the Christ of Scripture has become inwardly and personally known; not until the inner eye beholds His beauty, and the inner ear hears His voice; not until the light and glory of His spirit fills the temple of the soul, is religion anything more than an empty form. What does it profit that we see the manifestation of the divine presence in the world if we do not enjoy the manifestation of the divine presence in our hearts? What does it profit that we profess belief in the Christ of the Scriptures, if we do not recognize our dependence upon Him as the Original Root of our being, and through personal union with Him enjoy continuous and progressive development? No outward vision of Christ, no amount of second-hand knowledge concerning Him will avail anything unless the revelation of His presence and power has taken place in ourselves.
    Speaking of the great spiritual crisis of His life, which took place on the way to Damascus, Paul puts special emphasis upon the point that the essential glory of his risen Lord which broke out before his sight, also broke in upon his heart. A glimpse is given into this profound experience in the words: "When it was the good pleasure of God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me through his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the Gentiles, immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood." (Gal. i: 15, 16.) More to him than the outward vision of blinding brightness was the revelation of God's Son in him. It was when the Christ who was outwardly revealed to sight was inwardly revealed to faith that his heart was won; and prostrating himself at His feet he inquired, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" "

- James Mann Campbell (The Indwelling Christ, pgs. 16-18)

*Re-post from 8/5/15

Saturday, May 27, 2017

God's redemptive action centring in Christ constitutes a revelation, part 5 of 5

    "This historical action of God in Christ redeeming the world
from sin is the revelation of God peculiar to Christianity and dis-
tinctive of it. It is distinctive and peculiar both as to what it
reveals and as to the historical action in which the revelation has
been made. It is therefore also distinguished from all other rev-
elations by its superior fulness and completeness, by its adapted-
ness to all the spiritual needs of man and by its power of spir-
itual renovation. It is God's revelation of himself in its highest
and consummate form. As Dr. Dorner expresses it, "The per-
fecting of the self-revelation of God is nothing other than the in-
carnation of God."* This is the new revelation which breaks
through the old circle of the natural life, to make us by a birth
of the Spirit into new creatures in Christ and children of God.
And if so, then God's coming into humanity in Christ to redeem
man from condemnation and sin and to set up his reign of right-
eousness and grace, is the central and fundamental fact in human
history, to which all other revelations and religions are subor-
dinated, on which all true theology must centre, and on which
the true significance and philosophy of all other history must

* System of Christian Doctrine, vol. iii. p. 141, Trans."

- Samuel Harris (The Self-Revelation of God, pgs. 450-451)

*Re-post from 8/5/15

Friday, May 26, 2017

God's redemptive action centring in Christ constitutes a revelation, part 4 of 5

    "In the second place, God's revelation of himself in Christ is
distinguished by the peculiar matter of the revelation. He re-
veals himself as the Redeemer of men from sin. When man by
sin has sundered the bonds of his union with God in filial trust
and service, the questions arise, can he be received again to the
favor of God and restored to his normal union with him; and if
God can receive him, can the sinner be influenced of his own free
will to return. To these questions no answer is given in the rev-
elation of God in the constitution and course of nature, or in the
constitution of man, or in his history aside from the history of
redemption in Christ. The answer from these sources, if any,
would rather seem to be that sin, as man's wilful rupturing of
his normal union with God, as his setting up for himself in self-
sufficiency and repudiation of his condition as a creature, as a
contradicting of the universal reason and of the fundamental con-
stitution of the universe, must make it forever impossible for man
to regain his normal union with God and so to realize his true
perfection and wellbeing. Plainly it is impossible unless God
first by his own action in some way reveals himself gracious and
accessible even to sinners. It is in Christ and only in him that
he makes this revelation. In him he makes atonement for sin,
and opens the way for the free return of every sinful man who
will. In him he reveals himself gracious to sinners with open
heart ready to receive them to his favor, when they return to
him. And this is the Gospel of Christ, the glad tidings of great
joy to all people. But this is not all. God not merely waits to
be gracious to sinners when they return to him, but he puts forth
positive influence to arouse and guide and draw to himself sin-
ners having of themselves no disposition to come. While the
minds of men are darkened with sin so that the light of the
eternal wisdom and love are hidden, God in Christ, the eternal
Reason which is the true light of every man, breaks through the
darkening clouds and shines into their hearts to give the light of
the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
And while men are yet sinners, with their wills fixed in the re-
nunciation of God, in their self-sufficiency, self-will, self-seeking
and self-glorying, while their desires and affections are perverted,
their spiritual susceptibilities benumbed, and their fleshly nature
exalted above the spiritual, God in Christ comes to them by the
Spirit with heavenly influences and energies to quicken them to
spiritual life, and to supply divine guidance and grace to help in
time of need to every one willing to return to the life of filial
trust and loving service and so to regain the privilege and bless-
edness of the sons of God. And here again is the gospel of Christ,
the glad tidings to all."

- Samuel Harris (The Self-Revelation of God, pgs. 449-450)

*Re-post from 8/4/15

Thursday, May 25, 2017

God's redemptive action centring in Christ constitutes a revelation, part 3 of 5

    "God's action centring in Christ and redeeming man from sin
is, both as to that which is revealed and the method of the rev-
elation, peculiar to itself, distinct from all other revelations, and
transcends them all.  
    The old distinction of natural and revealed religion and na-
tural and revealed theology is no longer available. All religion
and all knowledge of God imply some action of God revealing
himself to men. In this sense God reveals himself to all men.
This Paul affirms in the first and second chapters of the Epistle
to the Romans, and in his speeches at Athens and at Lystra.
This universal revelation has been already set forth. God re-
veals himself as the absolute Being in the necessary principles
and laws of thought which underlie all scientific knowledge and
make such knowledge possible. In the universe he reveals him-
self as its first Cause and as the Power that maintains it and acts
in it. In the constitution and course of nature and in the con-
stitution and history of man he reveals himself as the absolute
Reason, the personal God. And in man's rational and moral con-
stitution and freedom God reveals himself as the righteous moral
lawgiver and judge; and reveals man to himself not only as a
rational free agent but also as a sinner against God in the trans-
gression of his righteous law. Christianity then is not distin- 
guished from the so called natural religion and theology by the 
fact of revelation, but by the fact of an additional revelation pe- 
culiar to itself. 
    In the first place, it is distinguished by a peculiar line of his- 
torical action in which God reveals himself as the redeemer of 
men from sin. It is God in Christ reconciling the world unto 
himself. From the beginning of history we trace a line of action 
in which God reveals himself as gracious to sinners. This action 
looks forward to Christ and culminates in him. From the God 
in Christ proceeds the divine Spirit. He illuminates the minds 
of men, darkened with sin, with the knowledge of God revealed 
in Christ as the Redeemer; he bears the influences and energies 
of God's redeeming grace through all the world and perpetuates 
them through the earthly history of mankind; thus he from age 
to age is gathering out of the world a community of the re- 
deemed, a kingdom of Christ, a kingdom of righteousness and 
peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, comprising all who under the 
influence of God's grace are willing to turn from sin and to trust 
and serve God in a new and spiritual life."

- Samuel Harris (The Self-Revelation of God, pgs. 448-449)

*Re-post from 8/4/15

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

God's redemptive action centring in Christ constitutes a revelation, part 2 of 5

    "Accordingly the word in which God communicates his fullest
revelation is the living word made flesh in Christ; God in Christ
reconciling the world unto himself. "No man hath seen God at
any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the
Father, he hath declared him." The prophet Malachi, in mes-
sianic vision, sees this revelation as the rising of the sun: "Unto
you that fear my name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with
healing in his wings." And in the Epistle to the Hebrews it is
said of him, under the same likeness to the sun, that he is the
effulgence or outshining of God's glory and the very image of his
substance. But God reveals himself in Christ by what he is and
does rather than by what he says. The author of the Epistle to
the Hebrews begins by declaring that God has revealed himself
in his Son, and is occupied throughout the epistle expressly in
explaining what the revelation is. But in the whole letter he
does not quote a single saying of Christ, but unfolds the signifi-
cance of the revelation made in what he is and does. The other
epistles in the New Testament are full of Christ; they profess
to know nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified. Yet in
them all there is scarcely a quotation of any sentence which he
uttered. Christ when on earth made himself the principal ob-
ject of his own teaching. He proclaimed himself as the pre-
dicted Messiah; he explained the true nature of his kingdom and
the character of those who should be admitted to it. But he said
comparatively little of his death. How could he? His death
was itself the revelation; it was itself the sacrifice of atonement.
Necessarily he must let the fact reveal its significance. He did
not come to preach redemption but to redeem. He did not come
to preach the gospel, but to give us a gospel to be preached; to
do the great work of redemption which reveals God's grace to
sinners, the glad tidings of which are the gospel. The signifi-
cance of his revelation of God does not consist primarily in "the
words of the Master," as rationalists like to express it, but in
what he is and does, the Immanuel, the God with us."

- Samuel Harris (The Self-Revelation of God, pgs. 447-448)

*Re-post from 8/3/15

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

God's redemptive action centring in Christ constitutes a revelation, part 1 of 5

    "God's redemptive action centring in Christ constitutes a
revelation. In Christ and in God's redemptive action centring
in him as recorded in the Bible, God reveals himself as the Re-
deemer of men from sin. The redemptive action is the revela-
tion. It is a revelation of God himself by what he does, as distin-
guished from a revelation of ready-made doctrines and precepts
communicated in words.
    It was shown in a former chapter that a man cannot know any
object merely by his own subjective activity. The object must
first act in some way on him and so reveal itself, and then the
mind reacts on the object, perceiving and apprehending it. The
same is true of God. Man cannot know God by dint of mere
subjective thinking. There must be some action of God in which
he comes out from the secrecy of his being and reveals himself.
It is essential in the idea of revelation that it must be made
primarily in what God does. Accordingly God's action in re-
demption constitutes his revelation of himself as redeemer. It
is a revelation of himself made in actually redeeming men from
condemnation and sin, not a revelation of truth communicated
in words.
    Here is a double contrast. The object revealed is not prima-
rily formulated truth or doctrine or precept; it is not even reli-
gion; it is God himself, the Redeemer of men. And the revelation
is made not primarily by the medium of words and sentences but
by deeds. It is not an absent father writing to his children to
instruct them as to the nature of the family and the grounds of
filial duty and informing them what he would have them do. It
is rather a father living among his children revealing himself in
all which he does for and with them. God reveals himself in
redemption as the sun reveals itself by shining to all that see its
light and feel its heat. Very different would the revelation of
the sun be by a message to men in total darkness, teaching them
by words the scientific theory of light."

- Samuel Harris (The Self-Revelation of God, pgs. 446-447)

*Re-post from 8/3/15

Monday, May 22, 2017

The consummated Presence

    "Here, then, is what the consummated Presence
means: it means that in the Holy Spirit the com-
forting, helping Christ stands by men forever; it
means that in place of the "sweet Galilaean vision,"
which appeals to the imagination and the heart,
but which was only temporary, we have a spiritual
Presence which is eternal. The spiritual Christ
is ever with us. Although we cannot see him with
our bodily eyes, he is present to our faith. When
he commissioned his disciples to go forth and
preach the good tidings to all the nations, he
encouraged them with the assurance, "And lo, I
am with you alway, even unto the end of the
world," or, more literally, "Lo, I am with you all
the days, even unto the consummation of the age"
(Matt. 28. 20, marginal reading, Rev. Ver.). This
promise in its primary application was special and
temporary. It stretched across a period so brief
that the expression used is "to the end of the days."
To the end of these approaching days of trial, down
to the consummation of the age then closing, the
Lord promised to be with his messengers. The
promise of his presence was not, however, to be
annulled at the consummation of the age then
closing. Contrariwise, it was to be confirmed and
enlarged in the new age. What Christ was to be to
a few down to the time when the destruction of the
Jewish theocracy made the world-wide kingdom
possible, he was thereafter to be to all. The con-
tents of this promise, therefore, no longer rest
upon a temporary guaranty of his personal pres-
ence, to be given to a few, but upon something
given in himself to all. Having returned in spirit,
and in the Spirit, he is present everywhere and
always to the world-encircling body of his follow-
ers. He will be with us all the days; in the day
of gladness when the world is bathed in sunshine,
and in the day of sorrow when the world is draped
in black; in the day when the heart is light and toil
a joy, and in the day of weariness, when the back
is bending under its heavy burden; in the day of
victory, and in the day of humiliating defeat; in the
day when we dwell in some peaceful retreat, shel-
tered from the noontide sun, and in the day when
we cross the wold facing the bitter blast; in the
day when we are rejoicing over some surprise of
happiness, and in the day when we are smarting
from the pain of a secret wound; in the day when
we are glad because the treasures of the heart have
been preserved to us, and in the day when in desola-
tion of soul we sit beside our dead, or go to the
grave to weep there. Yes, ''all the days" he is
with us!
    We are not, therefore, to pray for the coming
of the Comforter, but for his incoming; we are
not to pray for the return of Christ, but for the
realization of his presence. To discern the pres-
ence of the Comforter as the presence of Christ
within us is to be brought at once into contact with
the source of life and power; it is to have an
Almighty arm upon which to lean; it is to have
the darkness of despair changed into the sunshine
of eternal hope."

- James Mann Campbell (The Presence, pgs. 96-98)

*Re-post from 8/2/15

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Now they knew him as an indwelling spiritual reality

    "All of the above items combine to show that in Pentecost
the disciples got Jesus again. But they got him in a new way.
During his lifetime they had known him as the Teacher who had
spoken to them on the hillsides and with whom they had compan-
ied along the roads and shores of Palestine. After the Res-
urrection they had experienced him as a presence that was
inaccessible and uncertain. Now they knew him as an indwell-
ing spiritual reality, more accessible than he had ever been
before, nearer to them than he had ever been before because
now even the barrier of physical being had been broken down
and he was with them in spirit."

- Ralph Winfield Decker (The First Christian Pentecost, pgs. 166-167)

*Re-post from 8/2/15

Saturday, May 20, 2017

'I will send Him unto you', part 2 of 2

" ' "Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you"--(John xvi. 7).

    'Why do I now dwell upon these things? Simply that you may be assisted to recognise that my life on earth, however marvellous and glorious as part of the Divine system by which God is bringing you to Himself, is yet of itself unable to effect your spiritual redemption. It is one thing that the image of God should have been placed before you; it is a very different thing that you should be changed into that image. Man foolishly asserts that he only needs to know the true, the good, the beautiful, to be himself the embodiment of truth and goodness and beauty. Heaven has come down to earth; the very King of Heaven has tabernacled among men; He whom Isaiah saw in the temple, high and lifted up, adored by seraphim, has come down from His throne, dismissed the seraphim to heaven, and dwelt with the people of Isaiah year after year, yet it is not seen that the men so amazingly distinguished have been rendered seraphic in holiness and love. Something else, then, is necessary that men may not only be made acquainted with the image of God, but changed into the same.
    'But not only must you be sensible that you have little remembered, little learned, little obeyed, of all that I have told you and shown you; you must be keenly cognizant of the fact that your influence as my servants and the expounders of my gospel is all but nothing. In presence of a perverse and rebellious race your hearts sink within you, and you ask yourselves, How shall we ever be able to bring men over to our views of Christ? You feel your need of some unknown power by which the minds of men may be rendered obedient to the truth. You find yourselves utterly at a loss to communicate your deepest convictions. You are ready to ask, Is there not something beyond miracles even? something beyond the power of a holy life? Is there not in the resources of God some means of reaching the hearts of men, and subduing that hostility by which they are hindered from receiving the testimony of a holy life and a blessed gospel? There is. I die that you may have life, and that you may have it more abundantly. I ascend on high that the Comforter may come unto you. Then shall you be strengthened with a strength of which you have hitherto had no consciousness. Rivers of living water, even of the water of life, shall flow forth from you. Then the wilderness shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.' "

- George Bowen (Love Revealed)

Quote taken from Andrew Murray's The Spirit of Christ, Note F, pgs. 348-349.

*Re-post from 8/1/15

Friday, May 19, 2017

'I will send Him unto you', part 1 of 2

" ' "Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you"--(John xvi. 7).

    'Strange and scarcely credible though the announcement may appear to you, I nevertheless tell you but the simple truth when I say that it will be for your advantage that I ascend unto the Father and send to you the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, to be your perpetual guide. And when I say that it will be for your advantage, I do not mean that the Holy Spirit is greater than I am, or that He will prove a truer friend to you. In fact, the special office of the Spirit will be to bring you and myself into a more intimate and a more blessed union than has yet been revealed to your consciousness. Though you have journeyed with me during these latter years of my earthly pilgrimage, yet there is no use in disguising the fact that a moral chasm yawns between us. You yourselves must often have felt the deepest pain in reflecting upon the very feeble amount of influence exerted upon you by One who is manifestly God in the likeness of men. You have mourned that the words and acts of One who was proclaimed the Only-Begotten of the Father, who was transfigured before you, was served by angels, who spake unto the winds and the waves and they obeyed Him,—you have mourned that the discourse and acts of such a One should have wrought so feebly in your hearts. The desire for sanctification exists in you, but the new and elevated conception of holiness, which has been introduced into your minds, only makes you the more sensible of your great moral deficiencies. If miracles could have given you the victory over your sins, you would now be the holiest of men. Since that hour when one of you fell at My feet, exclaiming, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man," how many glorious displays of my power have you witnessed! Yet are you still sadly aware that pride, ambition, worldliness, have authority over you.
 'Surely you must have admitted to yourselves that if three and a half years of such stupendous exhibitions of power have left you the unsanctified men you are, ten years of such displays would not give you the victory over your evil natures. For three and a half years you have listened to a greater than Solomon,—to one who spake as never man spake, to the wisdom of God; and you have enjoyed such opportunities as never before were enjoyed by mortal man to know the mind of God concerning the way in which He would be served, and what is the result? You yourselves are constrained to admit that the result is very unsatisfactory.
    'Ah, if all that man needed were to have a teacher, were to have lessons of Divine wisdom set before him in the most intelligible and most expressive forms, then would you now be incomparably the holiest of men, proof against all temptation, superior to all earthly influences. But what is the fact? Was it not necessary that I should this very evening begin the work of instruction over again, as it were, by washing your feet? Have you not this very evening been disputing among yourselves who shall be the greatest? Are you not this very night to make even the unprofessing world astonished by deserting me in my hour of trial?' "

- George Bowen (Love Revealed)

Quote taken from Andrew Murray's The Spirit of Christ, Note F, pgs. 347-348.

*Re-post from 8/1/15

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The realization that Jesus was with his disciples and accessible to them in spirit

    "In view of the considerations set forth above, it is
our contention that Pentecost was the realization of the
presence of Jesus in spirit form. We have tried to show that
many things prior to Pentecost point to the coming of such
an experience, and that many things subsequent to Pentecost
are best accounted for as the results of such an experience.
We have pointed out that the experience took place within
the movement growing out of the life and teachings of Jesus;
that the participants in the experience were those who were
bound together in a Jesus-centered group by their disciple-
ship to Jesus; that the preparation for such an event is
found in the expectancy of a Jesus experience or revelation.
With this as a background we set forth the Pentecost event
as we see it — as the realization that Jesus was with his 
disciples and accessible to them in spirit. In support of 
this contention we traced the results of Pentecost which are 
best accounted for by this answer as to the nature of the 
experience. We showed that the troublesome glossolalia is 
best understood as an ecstatic result of this realization; 
that Peter's explanation of what was happening is most in- 
telligible when connected with the presence of Jesus in 
spirit; that the repentance called for, the baptism admin- 
istered, and the share in the experience of the disciples 
offered are related directly to Jesus and are therefore best 
understood in the same relationship as Peter's speech; that 
there emerged a Jesus-motivated and Jesus-dominated fellow- 
ship in which the union was not only of member with member 
but also of all members with Jesus; and that the later 
activities of the disciples are best accounted for as being 
carried on in Jesus' presence and with his help."

- Ralph Winfield Decker (The First Christian Pentecost, pgs. 165-166)

*Re-post from 7/31/15