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)

Friday, May 27, 2016

What is the function or work of the Spirit in man?, part 1 of 4

"The remarks just made upon the special nature of the gift ought to furnish an answer to this question. If the Spirit that we receive be not simply a gift from Christ, but the spirit, the breath, the life of Christ Himself; and if it is implied in our receiving Him that He enters into and identifies Himself with every part of our nature, it follows that His chief work must be to form the Living Christ within us. The spirit of parents is inherited by their children, the spirit of an ancient and honourable house by its descendants; and in both cases the effect may be traced in the likeness of the later to the earlier born. The same thing must take place here. Christ's own Spirit, the Spirit by which His humanity has been moulded into what it is, passes into His people, so passing into them as to pervade every part of what they are. What can the effect be but the revelation and formation of Christ Himself within them? Our instruction on many subordinate or preparatory points is no doubt also due to the operation of the Spirit. He convinces us of sin and misery; so that we are led to long for One who may guide us to holiness and happiness. He enlightens our minds in the knowledge of Christ; so that we behold a Divine glory shining beneath His lowly form and tragic fate. He renews our wills; so that, instead of choosing the evil or the false, we may say to the holy One and the true, “Lord, to whom can we go but unto Thee?” All these operations, however, are only preliminary to the execution of the great work committed to Him. They lead to the goal, but they are not the goal. That goal is Christ offered to us in the Gospel.
    It is hardly necessary to say that this was the teaching of our Lord Himself when He was in the world. “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden; and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls;” “Ye will not come unto Me, that ye may have life;” “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink;” “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me;” “This is eternal life, that they should know (that is, experimentally know) Thee the only True God, and Him whom Thou didst send, even Jesus Christ.”1
    But it was not the teaching of our Lord only when He was on earth; it is not less His teaching by His Apostles now that He is in heaven. With them the entrance of Christ in His glorified humanity into us, and communion on our part with it, constitute the Christian standing and form the Christian character. In their eyes Christianity is always the impartation of a new life in Christ, not the improvement of an old life. Believers receive “the right to become children (not sons) of God”;1 and by abiding in Christ their life, thus given, is maintained.2 They are new creatures not merely “by” but “in” their Lord; and they grow up in all things unto Him which is the Head, even Christ.3 As with their individual, so also with their social life. By living in the risen and glorified Lord as their Head, they are made members of His Body, and “it is the life of Christ which is the bond of unity.”4 Hence that remarkable double series of expressions describing the relation between Christians and their Lord, not only as He may be before them in the memories of the past, but as He is now. On the one hand, they are “in” Christ, in the living and present Lord: “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature;” “Who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ: even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world;” “That I may gain Christ, and be found in Him;” “In whom we have our redemption, the forgiveness of our sins;” “As therefore ye received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and builded up in Him;” “Your good manner of life in Christ.”5 On the other hand, Christ is “in” them: “If Christ be in us;” “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and of death;” “Let Christ dwell in your hearts through faith;” “Know ye not as to your own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you? unless indeed ye be reprobate;” “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”1"

- William Milligan (The Ascension and Heavenly Priesthood of Our Lord, pgs. 194-197)

*See link for footnotes.

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