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)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The chief blessing bestowed by our Lord Jesus Christ as High-priest of His people is the gift of the Spirit, part 9 of 11

    "Hence the fact that, in speaking of redeemed men, Scripture always takes for granted in the boldest manner that, while they are dependent for every Christian virtue they possess upon the free grace of God, they are engaged in a work of saving themselves—in holding fast, strengthening, and perfecting their own salvation. Not one Christian grace is theirs if to them it is no more than an outward gift. Each must spring up from within. Each must be an exercise of their own willing and doing, so that it shall not simply be God who worketh in them both to will and to do, but they also who work, working out His good pleasure.1
    Nothing, indeed, is more worthy of our notice than the manner in which our Lord in His teaching brings out the individuality and self-movement of His people, and their independent, if at the same time their dependent, strength. Two methods of expression employed by Him are in this respect of peculiar interest, and the more so that we meet them even to a greater degree in the fourth than in the other Gospels. The very Evangelist who has done most to preserve words of Jesus giving expression to our Lord's identification of Himself with us, and of us with Him, is also the Evangelist who has done most to transmit to us words of the same Divine Master pointing to the necessity for the individual action of His followers.
    (i.) In no Gospel is so much importance attached to the exercise of our own will for the performance of any duty or the obtaining of any blessing. When Jesus asked the impotent man at the pool of Bethesda whether he desired to be made whole, He put His question in the form, “Hast thou a will to be so?”2 When He reproved the Jews for being too easily satisfied with the light which the Baptist was able to afford, He said to them not that they were willing, but that they “willed” to rejoice in his light;1 and when He asked the disciples whether they too were offended by His words, He said, “Is it possible that ye also should will to go away?”2 In like manner He says, not if any man is willing, but “if any man willeth to do His will, he shall know of the teaching whether it be of God;”3 and to take but one passage more, in which the Evangelist himself speaks, we read not that the disciples, after the storm on the sea of Galilee had been calmed, “were willing,” but that they “willed,” to take Jesus into the boat.4 In all these passages there appears to be an emphasis upon the word “will,” which it is of extreme importance to observe.
    (ii.) The same conclusion is still more forcibly impressed upon us by another form of expression distinguishing the fourth Gospel, and as yet too little heeded. The peculiarity has been missed in the Authorised, but will be found in the Revised Version. On one occasion our Lord says to “the Jews,” “But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in yourselves” (not “in you,” A. V.)5 Upon another occasion He says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of man, ye have not life in yourselves” (not “in you,” A. V.)6 The expression thus used by Jesus is best illustrated by the manner in which He describes His own relation to the Father: “For as the Father hath life in Himself, so gave He to the Son also to have life in Himself,”1—words which can only mean that, while there is a certain subordination of the Son to the Father, the Son is possessed of life exactly similar and parallel to the Father's life; so that He acts in that life as the Father acts, and is a Giver of life to others. Believers, in like manner, have not only life. Life has so entered into them that in the possession of it they are “themselves.” Their appropriation of the life of Christ is so far from extinguishing their individuality, responsibility, and freedom, that it rather brings these prominently forward as characteristics especially distinguishing them. The Spirit is not bestowed upon them as a vague and mysterious general gift, in the possession of which, without knowing how, they have more than they previously had. It is a gift which enters as a principle of life into every department of their nature. It exerts a leavening and moulding influence upon all their powers, faculties, affections, emotions, tendencies, and aims. It makes all these new. It is a new life-blood in the system, a new sap in the branches. The Spirit does not rest upon the natural character of the believer as the throne of a king might rest upon a floor of clay. The relation between the floor and the throne is changed. The regal qualities of the throne penetrate the clay, so that both it and the throne have the same character, and form a homogeneous whole. “If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”2"

- William Milligan (The Ascension and Heavenly Priesthood of Our Lord, pgs. 185-188)

*See link for footnotes.

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