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)

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Intimate union with Christ which makes the Christian life an eternal life lived in the midst of time, part 2 of a 10 part series

"The Gospel used to be presented as an appeal to believe
in the Saviour who "did it all for me long ago," and then
retired to a remote heaven where He receives the homage of
believers till He come again to inaugurate the Millennium.
The mind of our generation, having little comprehension
or taste for such a message, is usually content to try and dis-
cover "the Jesus of history," conceived as a human example
and teacher of a distant past. Meanwhile there exists always
alongside all forms of religious belief the great tradition
of mystical experience. The mystic knows that whatever
be the truth about an historic act or person there is a Spirit 
dwelling in man. In our time even natural science abates 
its arrogant denials and admits the possibility of such 
immanence. The most deeply religious spirits of our time 
tend to take refuge from the uncertainties of belief in an 
inward sense of communion with the divine, which is too 
widely attested in human experience to be easily set aside; 
and they report that they have no need of an historic 
Christ at all. The weak point of mysticism, as seen at least 
by a matter-of-fact person, is that it is apt to be so nebulous 
ethically. What the Immanent is, those who claim most 
traffic with It can often tell us least. Is It a power making 
for righteousness, or is It a higher synthesis of good and evil? 
Or is It not a moral — that is to say, not a personal — Being 
at all? Does It work "by rapt aesthetic rote," "like a 
knitter drowsed"? 6 The raising of these questions is not 
intended to throw any doubt upon the validity of mystical 
experience as such; but we have a right to ask what 
content is given in the experience. Paul was a mystic, 
but all his mystical experience had a personal object. 
It was Jesus Christ, a real, living person — historic, 
yet not of the past alone ; divine, yet not alien from 
humanity. The Spirit within was for him continuous with 
the Spirit of Jesus Christ, and recognized by His lineaments. 
To express this fact, Paul coined a new phrase. The 
primitive Christians were accustomed to speak, in language 
which was older than Christianity, of being "in the Spirit," 
as though Spirit were an ethereal atmosphere surrounding 
the soul, and breathed in as the body breathes the air. Paul, 
too, used this expression, but he placed alongside it a parallel 
form of words, "in Christ," or "in Christ Jesus." Where 
we find those words used we are being reminded of the 
intimate union with Christ which makes the Christian life 
an eternal life lived in the midst of time. The deeper 
shade of meaning would often be conveyed to our minds if 
we translated the phrase "in communion with Christ." 

6 Thomas Hardy, The Dynasts "

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