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 20, 2016

Life in the Spirit, part 2 of 3

  "(2.) From what has now been said it can easily be
gathered how, as a matter of practical experience, each
of us has to be made holy. Two powers claim regulative
influence over us. We are the battle-ground, or debate-
able land, of gigantic moral forces. The power that
makes for sin resides in our own inherited nature. The
power that makes for holiness is the Spirit of God Who
resides in Christ, and in us too, if we are one with Christ 
by faith. Sanctification therefore can only mean that we 
take care to let the latter power rule us, instead of the 
former. We are not told simply to do the will of the 
Spirit instead of the will of the flesh, for that is precisely 
what we have no power of our own to do. To tell us that
would just be to publish another ineffectual law in the 
room of the Law of Moses. No. What we are told is that 
our whole nature is to receive into it a new power — a 
real living force from heaven moving in the line of holy 
obedience; a divine, helpful, inspiring, indwelling Spirit 
Whose impulses must in the end prove mightier than the 
downward drag of our fallen hearts. This we are told, 
and we are to believe it. What we are called upon to do 
in the matter is to encourage and trust to the action of 
that mighty holy Power of God. We are neither to grieve 
Him nor resist Him nor quench Him. On the contrary 
we are to "mind His things" — as our version has it: 
that is to say, to study how we may by all means invite 
and welcome and yield to the action of Christ's Holy 
Spirit within us. 
  It is clear to any one who does not let a one-sided logic 
run away with his good sense, that there is here a real 
though humble part for a Christian man to play in the 
great task of his own sanctification. It is true the source 
of moral power is not primarily in himself: it is in God 
the Holy Ghost. For all that, the Holy Ghost dwells in 
us, not after any mechanical or physical fashion, but as 
one moral Being can reside in and act upon another 
moral being. At the seat of our moral life He operates 
after the laws of our nature and in harmony with our 
personality and free will. He strengthens good affections, 
encourages good desires, sustains good intentions, enables 
to good performance. But all this He does in such ways 
as assume the concurrence and co-operation of our own 
will — not thwarting but earnestly falling in with the 
divine power. Thus we are to give all diligence to 
make our calling sure, and work out our own salvation, 
just because it is no other than God Himself Who is 
working in us, both to will and to do, of His own good 
pleasure. 
  Paul cannot, as an earnest teacher, touch on this aspect 
of his subject without hinting more than one practical 
exhortation to his readers. For one thing, here is the 
genuine test of Christian faith. The Christian is a man 
"in Christ" — as Paul puts it at one place; or, he is 
"Christ's man," as he puts it at another. In other words, 
the Christian has a spiritual connection with the incarnate 
Son of God of such a sort that the same divine force 
which operated with perfect effect in making Jesus a holy 
man, operates likewise in the Christian to make him a 
holy man like Jesus. The same Spirit dwells and works 
in both Christ and the Christian, to substantially the 
same result. If this be not so in point of fact you are 
"none of His." No matter what you believe or profess, 
you cannot be a living limb in that body of the new 
humanity whose Head (centre of moral life) is Christ, 
whose Spirit (medium of moral life) is the Holy Ghost. 
The test is as easy as it is practical. 
  Not only that: the Christian cannot be content to know 
that more or less he has one mind and one spirit with 
his Master. He must be ever seeking to have more. He 
is to devote to the things of the Spirit the same attention 
and effort and study which formerly he devoted to the 
things of the flesh. He owes it as a debt to God and His 
Christ that he should earnestly fall in with that design 
for which God sent His Son. It will be his endeavour to 
"mortify" or put to death the deeds of the body in order 
to fulfil the holy prescripts of the law. If men whose life 
is fleshly are found pursuing with two-handed earnestness 
those objects which the flesh desires, how ought we, if 
we are spiritual, to follow after the things of the Spirit 
of God!"

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