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, April 10, 2016

Newness of the spirit, and not in oldness of the letter, part 2 of 2

" "Or are ye ignorant, brethren (for I speak to men that know the law), how that the law hath dominion over a man for so long time as he liveth? For the woman that hath a husband is bound by law to the husband while he liveth; but if the husband die, she is discharged from the law of the husband. So then if, while the husband liveth, she be joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if the husband die, she is free from the law, so that she is no adulteress, though she be joined to another man. Wherefore, my brethren, ye also were made dead to the law through the body of Christ; that ye should be joined to another, even to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bring forth fruit unto God. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were through the law, wrought in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we have been discharged from the law, having died to that wherein we were holden; so that we serve in newness of the spirit, and not in oldness of the letter.''—ROM. vii. 1-6.

   But this unfruitful alliance betwixt the unregenerate heart and the outward Law of duty as a condition of divine favour is broken only to be replaced by a better. "Made dead to the Law," says St. Paul, "that ye should be joined to Another," or should become Another's. A new Lord steps into the vacant seat of moral control and begins to exert His quickening influence upon the moral life. That Other is Christ Himself, risen from the dead and reigning in virtue of the "grace" He brings. If I am so joined to Him as to be delivered from the Law through His death, then I must be so joined to Him as also to be animated by His life. In the room of the dead letter of Moses' decalogue, prescribing duty to a dead soul, Christ breathes into the man a living Spirit. His Spirit quickens love, and love is the principle of obedience. His Spirit operates from the centre of the moral being, new-making us, right out to the circumference. At the centre He kills the lawless principle of pride, self-will or rebellious desire. He generates instead a dominant love for the will of God. That love for what pleases God proves itself the parent of a troop of happy impulses, and pure affections, and glad obediences to all the holy and perfect will of our Father in heaven.
   The Gospel, it is plain, cannot be fairly judged of until it has been traced to the very end of its operations. It will not do to halt midway and raise the premature objection against it that it loosens the foundations of morality by proclaiming men "free from the Law" of God. Wait till you see what follows. When the issue of the whole process has been reached, it is found to be profoundly ethical. Its express design is "that the ordinance of the Law might be after all fulfilled in us" (Rom. viii. 4); only not by the old method, but by a new one. The route is changed, because the former one had been blocked by human sin; but the end is the same. God can have but one end in all He does—a kingdom of saints. Let no one then misunderstand the scope of the Gospel according to St. Paul because it seems to begin with a perilous and retrograde movement, cancelling the bond which was supposed to bind men to their duty. If it appear at first to abrogate the Law, it is only in order to get the Law obeyed in the end. If this be a roundabout road to holiness, it is at all events the only practicable road that is left for us."

- James Oswald Dykes (The Gospel According to St. Paul, pgs. 199-200)

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