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)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The relation between Christ and the Spirit, part 3 of 3

  "In any case, none of these passages gives a sufficiently
sure foundation on which alone to build a doctrine
of the relation of Christ to the Spirit as conceived by
St Paul. We must look to the indirect evidence. What
that points to is not so much a personal identity as an
equivalence of function. In all that concerns the present
experience of the Christian, moral or spiritual, St Paul
treats the heavenly Christ and the Holy Spirit as
practically interchangeable. The Spirit and the exalted
Christ alike make themselves felt as (Greek word), a divine
Force of personality working on the personality of the
Christian *. And the character and direction of their
influence are identical. That 'Life' which was a com-
prehensive description of the Christian experience was
at once the Life of Jesus 'manifested in our mortal
bodies' (2 Cor. iv.10, 11), in a sense, Christ Himself
(Col. iii. 4) and the direct result of the Spirit's influence
(Gal. v. 25; 2 Cor. iii. 6). And the same general
equivalence appears in many details. In Romans viii.
9-11 the 'Spirit of God,' the 'Spirit of Christ' and
'Christ' are used indifferently to describe the in-
dwelling power of God. The universal presence of
Christ in the church and in each believer as well as his
presence 'at the right hand of God' found a necessary
explanation in this collocation with the universal Spirit
of God; while at the same time the varied forms of
ethical influence which were now assigned to the Spirit
were seen to be identical with the ethical ideals and
influence of Jesus. In fact, this equivalence which
St Paul gave to the heavenly Christ and to the Spirit
bore not less effectively on his conception of the Spirit
than on his Christology. It led to a transference to the
Spirit of the character, qualities and purposes which
had been seen in Jesus. And so it led to a conception
of the Spirit which can only be described in terms of
personality.
  The fact which St Paul emphasises is that to the
Christian consciousness the influence of the personal
risen Christ is equivalent as regards its moral and
religious effect to the energy of the Divine Spirit; and
that it is through our faith in Him, our union with Him,
that we experience that specific working of God's
Spirit which was exemplified supremely in His life.
The personal pre-eminence of Christ and the intimacy
of the relation in which He stands to God are involved
in this conviction that He acts on men's souls with the
power of God's Spirit and that His influence conveys
to them what is proper to the very life of God [1].

* Cp. i Cor. ii. 4 (hendiadys); i Thess. i. 5 with 2 Cor. xii. 9 and
Phil. iv. 13.
1 See Somerville, St. Paul's Conception of Christ, p.120."

- C.A.A. Scott (Christianity According to St. Paul, pgs. 260-261)

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