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)

Monday, April 11, 2016

The apostle Paul on the Spirit in relation to the person of Christ and to the Christian experience, part 1 of 8

"Thus the sources of a Pauline idea are less important, from our point of view, than what Paul drew from them. Wherever the fruit was gathered and on whatever soil it had originally grown, he pressed the grapes himself and poured the new wine into his own wine-skins. Hence, in order to appreciate the quality of this Paulinism, as distinct from the wine of thought which nourished other Christians, it is essential to begin with some fundamental conception common, in germ at least, to both. The most vital and central is that of the Spirit, in relation to the person of Christ and to the Christian experience. It is from this, and not from any dialectic about justification, that our estimate of the subject ought to start. While the primitive apostolic view regarded the Spirit as the endowment which Jesus received at baptism for his messianic vocation upon earth, deeper reflection upon the significance of the Lord's personality soon led to a double development of this relationship between the Spirit and Jesus. On the one hand, a growing conviction of his divine nature could not rest satisfied with any tradition which left his antecedents unaccounted for; consequently the Spirit came to be associated with his birth. On the other hand, and at an earlier date, the function of the Spirit was associated with his resurrection: Jesus, it was held, became truly messiah when he was raised from the dead. Some traces of this conception lie in juxtaposition with the baptism-idea, even inside the primitive apostolic tradition, but it was Paul who gave fullest expression to it. This was only natural, as he did not belong to the circle of disciples who had known Jesus on earth, and as 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 realized 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."

- James Moffat (Paul and Paulinism, pgs. 34-37)

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