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)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The apostle Paul on the Spirit in relation to the person of Christ and to the Christian experience, part 3 of 8

   "This identification was one of Paul's most characteristic and fruitful achievements in the field of Christian doctrine. Jesus was the Christ of God, and the proof of that was the Spirit. So far Paul and his contemporaries were at one. Where he went beyond them was in his definition of that proof. To the primitive church in Jerusalem the death of Jesus seemed primarily a crime of the Jews which, in God's order of providence, was connected with the forgiveness of sins. The resurrection of Jesus led them to seek proofs of this in Old Testament prophecy, and to anticipate the speedy return of Jesus in full messianic glory in order to complete the establishment of the divine kingdom. Meantime the ecstatic phenomena of the Spirit were hailed, according to Joel's prophecy, as the harbingers of this final era. Paul took what was at once a wider and a deeper view. Though he never appealed, as the primitive church did, to the miracles of Jesus as proof of his messianic authority, he too regarded the contemporary phenomena of the Spirit as an authentic proof of Christ's messianic position. Had there been no resurrection of Jesus, there would have been no Spirit visible and audible in the lives of believing men. But the Spirit came to represent not so much an ecstatic as an ethical power to Paul; it was the vital principle of the Christian life, rather than an endowment for special occasions, and he verified it, not in sudden raptures or transient fits of religious emotion or any mysterious excitement of the personality, but in the normal life of the Christian within the church. The vine of the primitive church throve on volcanic soil. But the ardent hope of the end was not nourished upon mere inferences from prophecy; it was rooted in the leaf-mould of experience. Only, this experience was an infinitely richer and deeper thing to Paul than to most of his contemporaries; what they took usually to be primary seemed to him secondary and subsidiary. It was one of those changes of emphasis in religion which are epoch-making. He did believe that miraculous, intermittent powers were an endowment of the Spirit; he was conscious of possessing them himself, and he included them among the gifts of the Spirit to the church. God supplies you with the Spirit, he told the Christians of Galatia, and works miracles among you. And yet the characteristic outcome of the Spirit, after all, lay not in extraordinary phenomena, but in love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, beneficence, fidelity, meekness, and self-control."

- James Moffat (Paul and Paulinism, pgs. 38-41)

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