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)

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The apostle Paul on the Spirit in relation to the person of Christ and to the Christian experience, part 6 of 8

"The second (b) aspect of the relationship appears in the fact that the experiences of the Spirit which Paul verified throughout his mission served to authenticate the faith of Gentile Christians. If they could enjoy the promised Spirit of Christ, it proved that they had a right and standing of their own within the new messianic realm of Jesus. This is the point of Galatians iii: 14 f. The argument does not appeal to any words of Jesus. For his conception of the Spirit, as evoking a faith independent of the Law, Paul had even less authority, so far as the word of Jesus went, than for his mission to the Gentiles. His authority for the former rested upon his own experience of all that the Lord had been to him and done for him, and he based the latter upon his consciousness that this experience was neither a personal nor a Jewish idiosyncrasy. For both he sought and found proofs in the Old Testament. Thus from the well-known passages in Genesis he once argued that prior to the Law God had promised the blessing of justification by faith, and that to Gentiles. Was it not written that Abraham's faith was reckoned to him for righteousness? Then it followed (i) that those who have the same faith in God are sons of Abraham, whether they are of Jewish or of pagan birth, and (ii) that the Mosaic Law, which was subsequent to this basis, became obsolete when Christ arrived to realize the original condition of faith. This method of reasoning is quite characteristic of Paul's rabbinical training. When Agrippa II asked Rabbi Eliezer why circumcision was not one of the ten commandments, if God attached such value to it as the Jews alleged, the rabbi is said to have retorted that circumcision had been enjoined prior to the ten commandments, and to have quoted as his authority the words of Exodus xix: 5: If you will obey my voice and keep my covenant, then shall you be a peculiar treasure unto me from among all peoples. This covenant, said the rabbi, was one of circumcision. Paul is using the same kind of argument (in Galatians iii : 6 f.) in order to prove that the Law was inferior and subsequent to the primary requirement of faith. The promise to Abraham, he declares, came 430 years before the Law. It anticipated the gospel. His contention is that the Law, instead of being, as his opponents held, the sole revelation of God's will, was only a transitory phase; previous to the Law, God had dealt with men (as represented in Abraham) on the basis of a grace which implied personal faith, and this basis was now ratified to the full in the revelation of Jesus, whose death meant the supersession of the Law as a means of attaining righteousness. The one alternative now open to men was the Law or Christ. If they chose the Law, they were done with Christ. If they chose Christ, they were done with the Law. Furthermore, in choosing Christ, that is, in accepting the basis of grace and faith for their religion, they were simply reverting to the original purpose of God, which evokes the faith, not of assent to a juridical process, but of personal trust. Had Paul made the saving faith of his theory anything less than that, he would have been reintroducing a modified legalism."

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