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)

Friday, April 22, 2016

H.R. Mackintosh on the Christology of St. Paul, part 4 of 6

   "There is nothing more luminous or creatively original in St. Paul's thought than his living correlation of Christ and the Spirit as they are manifested in experience. It is not merely that the phenomena of the Spirit are for him a decisive proof of Christ's Messianic position; still further, the presence of the Spirit as a fact of power in the believing life is a self-communication of the Lord Jesus, who as Spirit dominates the new order of being into which Christian men have been translated. Spirit means supernatural power, yet not for St. Paul power revealed most typically in ecstatic rapture, but the ethical force from which spring such normal Christian graces as love, joy, peace, long-suffering, and kindness (Gal. 5. 22), which he sees to be more wonderful by far than speaking with tongues.1 In Dr. Moffatt's words, "his first experience of the Lord was a vision of Jesus as the risen and exalted Christ. The reality of Christ's nature was Spirit, on his view: Jesus was installed or constituted Son of God with full powers by the resurrection, which revealed and realised his true nature as life-giving Spirit. His life in the flesh had limited him. It was a phase of being which could not do justice to him. But when that temporary impoverishment of nature was over, the heavenly reality shone out in its fulness. The Spirit radiated on men, it was poured into their hearts, as the Spirit of one who had died and risen for the sake of men. We must extinguish, however, the misconception that Paul regarded the Spirit as acting on the lines of a natural force in the evolution of the religious life. To him it meant the gracious power of God which evoked faith in Jesus as the crucified and risen Christ, and then mediated to the receptive, obedient life all that the Lord was and did for his own people."2  Life "in the Spirit," his characteristic term for personal religion, can have its source only in the exalted or spiritual Christ, so that, when he describes men as being "in Christ" or "in the Spirit," he is thinking not of two rival or parallel realities, but of one revolutionary experience seen from two points of view; for life flows to men from Christ and the Spirit indifferently. The ground of this epoch-making combination is clearly to be sought in his conversion. He had met the Exalted One face to face; and that spiritual event, in which the Spirit was energising, had had the Lord Jesus for concrete and substantial content. This once for all fixed his conception of the Spirit, lending it precision of outline, and protecting it against the wandering and unethical fancies of paganism. The Spirit of God, long promised for the latter days, was now known to be the very Spirit of Jesus. It is a salient example of how God reveals new truth through the medium of life. Not only so; but we are thus once for all secured against the temptation to explain the Pauline Christology either as the product of mere theological reflection or as a mosaic of fragments borrowed from the traditions of Jewish apocalyptic. In point of fact, it is the offspring of creative religious intuition, working upon the felt realities of experience. "This inner fusion with the conception of the Spirit," as Olschewski puts it, "constitutes the specific and distinctive essence of Paul's Christology, and just on this account we must hold that its roots lie in the fundamental experience of Damascus."1"

- H.R. Mackintosh (The doctrine of the person of Jesus Christ, pgs. 57-59)

*See link for footnotes.

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