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)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

H.R. Mackintosh on the Christology of St. Paul, part 1 of 6

   "The living and dynamic centre, then, of the Christology of St. Paul is his experience of the glorified Lord, by whom he had been "apprehended." In this respect he is in agreement with the primitive society. Both he and they looked upward, not backward. The staple of his thought comes not from inherited ideas as to the Messiah, but from a wonderful inward sense of possession by the sovereign grace of Christ. As we shall see, it is impossible to fuse too intimately his doctrine of Christ and of the Spirit. Yet, on the other hand, this exalted One is identical with Jesus who died for sin. The apostle cannot think of Christ and not think also of the cross He bore; "I determined," he writes to the Corinthians, "to know nothing among you but Jesus Christ, and Him crucified" (1 Co. 2, vs. 2). We must conclude that his mind started from the Risen One who encountered him in glory at Damascus, moved thence to the cross, which the Lord had endured, and came finally to rest on the person of the Crucified. His present experience of Christ is decisive as to what he must think of the death undergone by the Messiah; on the other hand, the fact that such a reconciling death was possible is an index of the inherent dignity of Him who suffered. The full truth, accordingly, is not to be expressed either by saying that St. Paul's view of Christ's person is derived from his doctrine of atonement, or, conversely, that his Christology fixed his doctrine of the atonement. In reality person and work define each other. The exalted Lord, known from the first as such, would not be Lord unless He had died "for our offences" (Ro. 4, vs. 24f ); on the other hand, what Christ inherently is to God accounts, in the apostle's view, for the supreme religious value of His acceptance of the Cross.
   St. Paul, like all the writers of the New Testament, is convinced that the exalted Jesus is "the Christ" or Messiah—"Christ" for him still keeps a flavour of its official sense—but also he transcends ab initio the current Messianic idea, perceiving the cardinal significance of Jesus, not for Jews merely, but for mankind. He nowhere employs the title "Son of Man." The Kingdom of God he virtually merges in the person of Christ. The phrase "Kingdom of God" itself, which seldom occurs, was so completely Jewish in origin and associations that he must have found it unhelpful in his missionary work. At the same time, its eschatological reference is still retained in what the apostle means by "salvation" and "eternal life"; for he never ceased to look yearningly towards a consummation in which death, sin, sickness, demons, and every godless principality and power should be overcome and annihilated. Jesus the Christ was already clothed with universal power, and would ere long appear once more to bring all things to completion. Those who had accepted Him as Messianic King would at His appearance be made perfect members of the Messianic Kingdom, and thus be, in the full sense of the word, saved."

- H.R. Mackintosh (The doctrine of the person of Jesus Christ, pgs. 52-54)

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