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)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Spirit of Jesus, part 2 of 13

    "(i) In the synoptic gospels, the only occasion on
which Jesus mentions the Spirit in connection with
His mission is in self-defence, when the Pharisees
declared that His power of expelling evil spirits was
due to collusion with Satan. He claims that He
exercises this power by the Holy Spirit, i.e. as pos-
sessed by the Spirit of God, which works for the
establishment of the divine reign on earth by over-
throwing the reign of Satan (Matt. xii. 28, a passage
from Q, where Luke characteristically cf. i. 55,
66, 71, 74 changes the Spirit into the finger of God). 1 
In the following paragraph, which asserts that no 
one can pillage a strong man's house unless he first 
seizes the strong man himself, Jesus implies that His 
exorcisms are the result of a previous victory over 
Satan. This consciousness of messianic authority 
over the great antagonist of God reaches back to 
the experiences of the temptation which followed 
his reception of the Spirit at baptism (Mark i. 9-13= 
Matt. iii. 13-iv. 11), and Luke corroborates the con- 
nection by associating the Isaianic prophecy of the 
Spirit with the opening of the mission of Jesus at 
Nazareth (iv. 17 f.). According to the naive cos- 
mogony which is presupposed in the theology of the 
gospels, Jesus in or by the Spirit of God confronts 
the authority of Satan as represented by the evil 
spirits of disease. The sufferers whom He cures are 
(see link for Greek phrase), 2 possessed by unclean spirits, 
as opposed to the pure Spirit of their deliverer, and 
it is the sense of His irresistible approach, heralding 
the reign of God, which excites the anger and dismay 
of the unclean spirits. According to Mark especially, 
they recognise their conqueror and yield sullenly 
to His superior power (cf. i. 23 f., iii. 11, v. 2 f., 
vii. 25, ix. 17 f.), as He invades their territory. 
It is this consciousness of being an organ of the 
Holy Spirit which prompts the saying of Jesus 
(preserved in Q, Matt. xii. 32= Luke xii. 10, as well 
as in Mark iii. 29), that blasphemy against the Holy 
Spirit, such as the Pharisees uttered in ascribing 
his exorcisms to Satanic influence, was beyond all 
pardon. These works of supernatural power authenti- 
cated Him as God's representative, whom it was 
perilous to despise, according to the Hebrew con- 
ception of prophetic authority (cf. e.g. Num. xvi. 
29 f., Deut. xviii. 19). Jesus, however, claims not 
simply to speak the divine prophetic word, but to 
act under the divine Spirit, as the messiah or medium 
of God's redeeming purpose upon earth. 
    In Mark's version, blasphemy against the Holy 
Spirit is unpardonable, whereas the sons of men 
are forgiven any other sin of blasphemy. Thus 
it is pardonable to curse God for sending trouble, 
as Job was tempted to do, because man is often 
ignorant of the truly wise and kind purpose which 
lies behind apparently hostile dealings of God. 
Jesus was perfectly frank in His teaching on this 
point. He knows that God often seemed indifferent 
and callous, e.g., in the sphere of answers to prayer. 1 
Men are sometimes tempted to be unjust to God 
because He seems unjust to them. 

         'Behind a frowning providence 
              He hides a smiling face,' 

but those who see only the frowns are apt to criticise 
Him harshly. Such transgressions, even although 
they are unfair, are pronounced pardonable, because 
they are due to the sufferer's inability for the time 
being to understand the mysterious ways of pro- 
vidence. It is a very different matter when acts 
of God, such as the expulsion of the evil spirits by 
Jesus, which are obviously beneficent, are attributed 
to Satan. Here there can be no question or plea of 
inadvertence. 1 The sin is blasphemy of a deliberate 
kind, and when the scribes out of sheer malice sneered 
at the cures of Jesus as due to collusion with the 
devil, when they would do anything rather than admit 
or let other people admit His claims to be acting 
in the power of God, He declared passionately that 
their malignant attitude put them beyond the reach of 
forgiveness. Whosoever shall blaspheme against the 
Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an 
eternal sin. Here the Holy Spirit is the power of 
God manifested in the works of Jesus. He spoke 
in this way, Mark adds, because they said, He has an 
unclean spirit. But the identification of Jesus with 
the Holy Spirit, in this connection, does not depend 
upon the evangelist's comment; it is implicit in the 
argument."


*See link for footnotes.

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