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, May 5, 2016

The Spirit of Jesus, part 10 of 13

    "(d) It is a parallel conception which is presented in
chapter vi., where again the vivifying power of the
Spirit is brought forward, this time more promin-
ently and in connection with eating and drinking.
Here it is not a question of sustaining the life im-
parted at baptism, but of receiving the divine life. 
The metaphor is changed from birth to eating and 
drinking, in order to bring out the active side of the 
relationship on the part of men, but there is no sug- 
gestion of food mystically mediating life eternal 
to those who have already been born through baptism 
into the life of God. 
    There were three elements in the primitive theology 
of the Lord's Supper : it was viewed as (a) a com- 
memoration of the sacrificial death of Jesus, which 
inaugurated the new order of things for the Church ; 
(b) as a medium of spiritual union between the living 
Lord and his people ; and (c) as a bond of brotherhood 
which closely knit the latter together in the mystical 
body of which the Lord was head. These elements 
are not separate ; they are connected with one 
another, and all are present, more or less distinctly, 
in the various representations of the Supper which 
have been preserved. But the emphasis varies : now 
one, now another, is prominent. In the theology 
of the Fourth gospel it is (b) which is uppermost. 
We can feel the vibration of (a) 1 in one or two 
allusions like The bread which I will give is my flesh 
for the life of the world (vi. 51), but (c) is absent from 
the discussion ; it is on (b) that the writer concen- 
trates his attention. Here, as in the relation of the 
Spirit to baptism, the prominent interest is not the 
social or unifying conception, but the inward tie of 
the Christian to the Lord ; the corporate aspect 
bulks less in the writer's mind than the individual. 
But although the Fourth gospel omits the synoptic 
Supper, probably owing to its eschatological associ- 
ations in part, 1 it restates a fundamental idea of the 
earlier view. The synoptic words, this is my covenant- 
blood, plainly refer to the blood which Moses sprinkled 
on the Israelites (Exod. xxiv. 8) to ratify their 
covenant with Yahveh. They imply that by His 
self-sacrifice in death men are to enjoy the long- 
promised new covenant with God. His death is not 
the end of all things for the disciples ; it is the begin- 
ning of the new order of communion with God in 
which the highest hopes of forgiveness and fellowship 
will be realised through the relation of God to men 
which His sacrifice establishes. This is corroborated 
by the other reference of the saying to the Servant 
of Yahveh, of whom it is said, I give thee for a 
covenant of the people (see link for Greek, Isa. 
xlii. 6, cf. xlix. 8). Here the function of the Servant 
is to mediate a covenant between Yahveh and His 
people. 2 Such an association of Christ's death with 
the new covenant which cannot be emended out of 
the text is sufficient to prove that the bond of 
communion is intended to unite God and His people 
through Jesus. This is the primary and original 
sense of the tradition. It is in Paulinism that the 
further conception of unity between Christians is 
introduced, not in the specific restatement of the 
supper, but in the previous context, where Christians 
are viewed as the body of Christ. We have no right 
to read this back into the synoptic (Mark-Matthew) 
tradition, as e.g. Wellhausen and Kattenbusch pro- 
pose to do, not even although the element of 
brotherhood and mutual unity in the Lord's Supper 
reappears in the liturgical passage of the Didache 
(9-10). The latter tradition makes it all the more 
strange that the Fourth gospel, which is so concerned 
to emphasise the unity of Christians through their 
relation to Jesus Christ, should fail to employ the 
Lord's Supper as a symbol and sacrament of com- 
munion. A partial clue to the omission may be 
found, however, in the so-called Epistle to the 
Ephesians, which also concentrates upon the unity 
of the Church and yet significantly ignores the Lord's 
Supper as a proof and symbol of brotherhood (iv. 4 f .). 
There is one Body and one Spirit, even as you were 
called in one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, 
one baptism. The Fourth gospel's distinctive con- 
tribution to the theology of the Last Supper is an 
emphasis upon it as the means of union between 
Christians and Christ who is the imparter of the 
divine life or spirit."

*See link for footnotes.

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