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, May 18, 2016

The chief blessing bestowed by our Lord Jesus Christ as High-priest of His people is the gift of the Spirit, part 3

   "Such is the language of the New Testament: and a similar importance is attached to the gift of the Spirit in the Old. Nothing is more worthy of notice than the fact that, amidst all the externalism often thought to be her only mark, the Old Testament Church associated with this gift the chief glory of the Messianic age. One symbol, in particular, is constantly employed by the prophets to denote the precious and abundant blessings then to be poured out upon the Church; and it is so clearly interpreted both by them and by our Lord Himself, that there can be no mistake as to its meaning. That symbol is water. It is made use of in every form—now as a fountain, now as showers of rain, now as pools in the thirsty desert, and now again as a river that brings life to the surrounding country, teems with multitudes of fishes, and is covered with the ships of the nations. Besides this frequent use of the symbol, many passages also meet us in Old Testament Prophecy in which the Spirit is expressly spoken of as the special gift and glory of Messianic times. Of these the words of Joel quoted by St. Peter on the day of Pentecost may be taken as an example.1 The feast of Tabernacles, too— the crowning festival of Israel's sacred year—was understood, at least in later ages, to testify to the same great truth. Nor can the ceremonial of drawing water from the pool of Siloam on the eighth or great day of the feast, and pouring it out upon the altar, while the assembled multitudes shook their palm-branches and made the temple resound with song, be explained except by remembering Israel's hope that at that very moment the Spirit would be given. St. John, indeed, has interpreted the ceremonial for us when, explaining the Saviour's promise, he says, “This spake He of the Spirit, which they that believed in Him were to receive.”2 There can be no doubt, then, that the gift of the Holy Spirit is the distinguishing gift of the New Testament dispensation, or that it may even be regarded as the sum and substance of all the blessings of the new and better covenant. The present dispensation is indeed styled by St. Paul “The Ministration of the Spirit.”1 It is unnecessary to say more upon this point. Other questions connected with the subject demand consideration.
    I. What is the special nature of the gift :
    The idea commonly entertained is that the Spirit promised by our Lord is simply the Third Person of the Trinity, viewed in His absolute and eternal Being. He who had been from everlasting the bond between the Father and the Son, and the thought of whose distinct and separate Personality is necessary to any just conception of the Personality of God, is supposed to be communicated to us, and in some mysterious way to take up His abode within us. This, however, is hardly the teaching of the Bible. We seem rather to be taught there that the Spirit bestowed upon us by the glorified Lord is not the Third Person of the Trinity in the soleness of the Personality possessed by Him before the foundations of the world were laid; but rather that Person as He entered into, took possession of consecrated and “perfected” the human nature of our Lord. We seem to be taught that the Spirit which, as believers, we receive is the Spirit of the Christ as Christ now is, and not as He was before He became flesh and tabernacled among us. The human nature of our Lord in His heavenly abode is filled with the Spirit. In that fulness it is now for ever united to the Divine nature of the Eternal Word; and out of this combined fulness of the Divine and human we receive, and grace for grace.1 So important is the point before us that it will be well to pursue it a little further. 2"

- William Milligan (The Ascension and Heavenly Priesthood of Our Lord, pgs. 170-173)

*See link for footnotes

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