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)

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Spirit of Jesus, part 7 of 13

    "The fourth evangelist sums up this characteristic
theology of the Spirit in two phrases ; the Paraclete
and the Spirit of truth.
    (a) The former (see link for Greek) has no English equi-
valent. 'Comforter' is too one-sided, unless it is
recollected that ' comfort ' etymologically means
to strengthen. ' Advocate ' is closer to the original
sense of the Greek term, but no functions of inter-
cession are ascribed to the Spirit. Neither is much
light thrown upon the Johannine usage by the fact
that the Targum employs p'raqlita for the angelic
messenger who intervenes in Job xxxiii. 23 f . to bring
man to his senses before it is too late : except that
here as in Philo the term 'Paraclete' has acquired
the meaning of instructor or interpreter in things
divine, with the natural connotation of helpfulness
and encouragement. The insight and aid afforded
by the Spirit as Paraclete, according to the Johannine
theology, may be said to relate almost entirely to
the higher gnosis of the personality of Christ. All
fresh intuitions and experiences of the Christian
life are referred to the operation of the Spirit as
Paraclete. It is also through the Church, as exercis-
ing authority in the life and witness of Christians
to the living Christ, that the Spirit convicts the
outside world 1 of the tragic error which it makes
in refusing to take Christ at His own and at the
Church's valuation. The presentment of Christ as
the light and love of God rejected by men will
bring home to their conscience the sin of crucifying
and denying Him : the resurrection, proved by the
presence of the Spirit in the Church, shows that He
did not perish as a criminal, but lives with the.
Father, while the real crime lies with those who put
Him to death as a blasphemer : finally, this vindica- 
tion of Christ by the resurrection l proves that the 
devil, as prince of the present world, is doomed, 
since the living presence of the Spirit in the Church 
means that Christ has been victorious over the forces 
of death and the devil. The three lines along which 
the world is thus confounded and condemned are 
not separate but converging. They are different 
directions taken by the same overwhelming force 
of testimony which is generated by the Spirit in the 
Christian community, witnessing through the very 
existence of that community as a spiritual body to 
the living Lord. The third is a climax only in 
form. The expectation of judgment, by being 
transferred to the sphere of the Spirit, ceases to be 
eschatological in the synoptic sense. 'The judg- 
ment upon the world which the primitive Christian 
community looked for at the future coming of the 
messiah is regarded by the Hellenic evangelist as 
already fulfilled in the fact that Christ, by His death 
and by His being glorified in the Spirit of the Church, 
had been proved to be the holy One of God, and the 
victorious conqueror of the world.' 2 The very fact 
that the writer uses a technical term of apocalyptic 
eschatology (see link for Greek) in this spiritual sense seems 
to emphasise the transformation of the conception. 
The apocalyptic counterpart left no doubt as to 
the ' conviction ' being one of doom (cf. Rev. i. 7, 
Fourth Esdras xii. 32 f., etc.), and this is possibly the 
primary meaning of the Fourth evangelist, although 
he does not develop the line of thought. For this 
reason, among others, it is unlikely that the con- 
vincing power of the Spirit in this passage denotes 
the overwhelming, mysterious effect which was 
sometimes produced on outsiders or on recalcitrant 
Christians by utterances from the lips of men who 
were possessed by the prophetic Spirit (instances in 
1 Cor. xiv. 24 f., Ignat. ad Phil. 7). 1 The impression 
which the Spirit is described as conveying, in the 
Johannine doctrine of conviction, is at once more 
general and less remedial."

*See link for footnotes.

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