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 3, 2016

The Spirit of Jesus, part 8 of 13

    "(b) The Spirit of Truth is a synonym for the Para-
clete, but it is wholly confined to the operation of
the Spirit on the community (contrast xvi. 7 and
xvi. 13). The phrase itself is as old as the Testa- 
ments of the Patriarchs (cf. Test. Jud. 20), but the
specific sense of the term is determined by the
Johannine usage of truth 2 as reality, as the trans-
cendent and absolute divine life which is fully
manifested in the person of Jesus, God's Son. Christ
is Himself the truth, and the Spirit of truth is His
Spirit, mediating for men that personal participa-
tion in the eternal life of God which is described as
the knowledge of God and of His Son Jesus Christ.
The antithesis to truth is the unsubstantial as well
as the false, and the corresponding antithesis is that
between the flesh and the Spirit, or between light
and darkness. As the grace and the truth of God
i.e. the gracious reality, or the real grace came
through Jesus into the world, the Spirit of truth
carries on this full disclosure of the divine nature
to the faith of the elect and susceptible.
    Attempts have been made sometimes to connect
both epithets. Thus Dr. Abbott suggests that the
Paraclete is called the Spirit of truth, or the Holy 
Spirit, in order to safeguard the doctrine against
any superstitious notion of the Advocate procuring
special favours from God contrary to justice; simi-
larly the references to the divine origin of the Para-
clete in xiv. 16, 26, xv. 26, must be interpreted, on
his theory, as emphasising the fact that the Advocate
of Christians is not 'one of the ordinary kind the
kind that takes up a client's cause, good or bad, and
makes the best of it.' 1 It is extremely doubtful, how-
ever, if such a shade of meaning was present to the
mind of the writer. The term Paraclete was probably
used by him without any such consciousness of its
literal legal associations, and in calling the Spirit
the Spirit of truth, he simply defines its sphere as
the unfolding of the divine reality of life in Christ.
The full truth into which the Spirit initiates the
faithful is the absolute manifestation of God in the
person of Jesus Christ. He will glorify me, for he 
wilt take of mine and declare it to you. The higher
insight into the meaning of the life of Jesus, which
is presented in the Fourth gospel, is thus defended
as legitimate over against the vagaries of Gnostic
speculation on the one side, and the opposite dis-
inclination to advance beyond the Jewish Christian
or messianic categories of interpretation which had
been current among the first generation of the
disciples.
    The writer does more, however, than justify his
own interpretation of Christ. He anticipates fresh
insight into the meaning of the Lord, provided that
the historic incarnation is maintained as primary.
It is the work of the Spirit to unfold more and more
of that meaning, as believing men keep in contact
with Him who is Himself the Reality. The Fourth
gospel provides for further self-expression on the
part of the Christ to His Church, and these revela-
tions in the future and of the future lie within the
progressive witness of the Spirit to faith. They are
described in xvi. 13-14:--

He will declare to you the things that are to come. 
He will glorify me: 
       for He will take of mine and declare it to you.

The former function is the Johannine equivalent
for the synoptic eschatological predictions, and
represents the normal Church's view of the Spirit
as the inspirer of hope for the future. But the
second declaration is more characteristic of the
gospel's theology, 1 and though it would be unfair
to read the former exclusively in the light of the
latter, it is on the latter that the stress falls.
    The distinctive sense of 'truth' in the Fourth
gospel, as an equivalent for the reality of the divine
nature, suggests that the Spirit of this (see link for Greek) would
be mediated in some sense through baptism and
the Lord's Supper. In the current Hellenistic
theology the Spirit or essence of the deity was
 imparted to worshippers not simply through ecstasy
but through participation in sacred rites and creeds,
by means of which the devotee was invested with
immortality and freed from the corruption of the
flesh. It is a moot point how far the language of
the Fourth gospel, which undoubtedly recalls this
popular theology of the cults, denotes a reaction
against it or against its introduction into the Chris-
tian cult. At any rate, the connection of the Spirit
with baptism and the Lord's Supper is stated in a
fashion which has no exact parallel in the synoptic
gospels."

- James Moffat (The theology of the gospels, pgs. 192-195)

*See link for footnotes.

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