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)

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Life in the Spirit, part 1 of 3

"  "There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ
Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from
the law of sin and of death. For what the law could not do, in that it was
weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful
flesh and as an offering for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the ordin-
ance of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but
after the spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the
flesh; but they that are after the spirit the things of the spirit. For the
mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the spirit is life and peace: be-
cause the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to
the law of God, neither indeed can it be: and they that are in the flesh can-
not please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that
the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of
Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because
of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of
him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you, he that raised up
Christ Jesus from the dead shall quicken also your mortal bodies through
his Spirit that dwelleth in you." — Rom. viii. i-ii.

In the verses before us three points are touched on 
regarding the Gospel as God's power to sanctify. These 
are (1) the preliminary work which had to be done by the 
coming of Christ, or the basis laid in the life and death of 
our Lord with a view to our being sanctified. Next, (2) 
wherein sanctification really consists: it is the substitution 
of God's Spirit as a source of moral influence, in lieu of 
the congenital tendency or drift towards sin of our own 
nature. And, (3) how this working of the Divine Spirit 
in a believer must issue in his complete revivification — or 
the victory of life over death both in soul and body. In 
other words, we have to look at the origin, the process
and the issue of a believer's sanctification in Christ. 
(1.) Its origin in the outward provision by which God 
secured it. Here is St. Paul's account: "God, sending 
His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offer- 
ing for sin, condemned sin in the flesh" (ver. 3). 
  A great deal evidently turns on opening up the wealth 
of meaning under this very pregnant and significant term 
"condemned." The value of our Blessed Lord's incarnation 
and incarnate work, in so far as it secured His people's 
holiness, is all meant to be described by that term. Because 
in Christ, God condemned sin, therefore are they set free 
from it. The word is selected here evidently because Paul 
has already used it in the first verse. He said there: 
"No condemnation for those who are in Christ. "Here he 
says: In Christ was condemnation for sin. And he plainly 
intends the one to hang somehow upon the other: No 
condemnation for them, because in Christ their sin was 
condemned. What then does condemnation mean? It 
means whatever sin would have wrought for them of ruin 
and death had God let it alone. A like ruin and death 
He brought (so to speak) on Sin itself. The expression, 
although a peculiar one, is therefore capacious and fruitful. 
  What does it embrace? For one thing, the life and 
death of Christ exposed sin in its true evil and hatefulness 
by letting in upon it the full light of the divine love and 
goodness: and that was its condemnation. To expose a 
bad thing is to judge it. The light of heaven's own holy 
and blessed charity shone in, when the pure Son of God 
lived or died here. The bad heart of the race was tested by 
His presence, and seen to be a more hateful, loathsome, and 
evil thing than any one before had imagined it to be. "If 
I had not come (said Jesus) and spoken unto them, they 
had not had sin: but now they have no excuse for their sin. 
He that hateth Me, hateth My Father also." Men's sin then 
is of this dye: it means hatred of God Who is our Father. 
"If I had not done among them (He goes on) the works 
which none other did, they had not had sin: but now have 
they both seen and hated both Me and My Father."* God 
condemned sin in the flesh first by testing and exposing its 
hatefulness. 
  Next: God made His incarnate Son the vicarious 
expiator of the world's guilt: and by that sacrifice of a 
divine-human life in atonement for human offences, He 
once for all branded sin with its righteous curse; He 
"condemned it in the flesh." When His own Son bare 
our sins in His own body to the tree and suffered for us, 
the righteous for the unrighteous, surely this terrible re- 
volt of the human will from God, which had made such a 
vindication of Eternal Justice necessary, was judged as it 
deserved. It received its doom. God condemned our sin 
in the flesh by expiating it in death. 
  Nor is this all. The appearance of the Divine Son in 
our nature tried the power of the sinful principle and dis- 
covered it to be after all feebler than the Spirit of holiness. 
For the career of our Lord was one sustained encounter 
between the sinful forces and the holy forces of the world. 
Like another Adam, He bore the onset of whatever could 
tempt a holy human will or seduce it from loyal affectionate 
obedience to God. He came not only in the flesh — true 
man; but even in the "likeness" of such flesh as is sinful. 
That is to say, He shared in the outward consequences of 
our fall, and was assimilated as far as could be to that 
tempted, suffering, struggling kind of life which has re- 
sulted from it. Under disadvantages like these, and amid 
just such circumstances as surround other men, claiming 
no exceptional aid, declining no contest to which we are 
called, but made in all things like unto His brethren, He 
fought out the good fight of faith to the bitter end: and 
was not overcome. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit 
given Him in His baptism, He took to Him the whole 
armour of God that He might be able to withstand in that 
evil day, and having done all, He stood — good Captain of 
salvation as He was, true Man strong in God, stronger 
than sin. So God condemned sin in the flesh — condemned 
it not only as hateful, not only as punishable, but as weak 
too, as beaten where it triumphed before: overcome even 
in human flesh by the Spirit of holiness. 
  The practical result of this judgment upon the sinful 
principle which God wrought in His Son, lies here: that 
within human nature there is now one point at which sin 
has been finally atoned for, vanquished, and cast out. The 
holy life of God has made good its foothold within the 
area of our sinful race. One Man there is at least— One, 
if no more as yet — Whose humanity has been liberated 
from further contact with sin and death and saved and 
glorified for evermore. "Now," said that Man, "is the 
judgment of this world! Now shall the Prince of this 
world be cast out!" "I beheld Satan as lightning fall 
from Heaven!" It only needs that the same Force which 
in the human nature of Jesus Christ proved itself mightier 
than Sin, should operate as successfully on other men; and 
so it will if only these other men are in Christ Jesus. So 
that we may boldly say: No condemnation is there now 
to men in Christ Jesus, since in Christ Jesus God has 
condemned sin in the flesh. 

* See St. John xv. 22-24."

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