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)

Saturday, May 28, 2016

What is the function or work of the Spirit in man?, part 2 of 4

    "Language of this kind cannot be read without conveying to us the distinct impression that personal identification and union with Christ is the fundamental and regulating conception of our state as Christians. We are “in” Christ Jesus; that is, as a man who is in the world lives and moves and has his being in it, so we live and move and have our being in Christ; encompassed by Him as in our natural condition we are encompassed by the atmosphere; His gracious influences pervading everything around us, and flowing into us, in order to preserve our souls in health and vigour. Again, Christ is “in” us. He stirs, moves, and acts in us, so that, except in so far as we are troubled by sin and weakness, His thoughts are our thoughts, His words our words, His acts our acts. The two modes of expression, when taken together, bring out the closest and most intimate idea of union which it is possible to form. The members are in the Head, and the Head is in the members. The branches are in the Vine, and the Vine is in the branches. There is a constant play of influences between them, and in that play of influences they are one. And all this is effected by the Spirit; so that in one passage of St. Paul the two expressions “to be in Christ” and “to have the Spirit of Christ” alternate with each other as equivalent in meaning, showing that if Christ be in us it is only by the Spirit.1
    Not only so. It would seem to be the lesson of Scripture that Christian men have to repeat in the world, though of course they can do it only in an imperfect form, the life of the Redeemer; and that, in a deeper sense than is implied by the mere cultivation of His spirit or the imitation of His example. The distinctiveness and reality of the Christian life ought, indeed, most of all to appear in this, that, in its aims and efforts, in its toils and sufferings, it shall present to the world the life of Jesus. The fact that in our day Christians may not be placed in exactly the same circumstances as their Lord; that they may live at ease, without toil or suffering or the cross, makes no difference in what the Christian faith really is. Our immunity from persecution and other outward ills ought rather to lead to the inquiry, not so much whether our lot is cast in happier times than our great Master's, as whether our Christianity is of precisely the same type. No view of the Christian revelation can be conceived more utterly at variance with its essential nature than that which leads many to imagine that their Lord toiled in order to free them from toil, and suffered that they might escape suffering. Were that Lord to show Himself on the earth at this moment, not less true to His Father in heaven, to the thought of a spiritual world, or to the value of the eternal in comparison with the temporal, than when He spoke in Jerusalem and Galilee; were He to treat the pretences and superficialities of an outward religiousness, the vain shows of wealth, or the self-indulgent luxury of so large a portion of the professing Church, as He treated such things before; were He to denounce every form of sin, in the high as well as the low places of the land, with the faithful and plain speaking with which He once denounced it, who will venture to say that His reception would be very different from what it was? But, if so, how shall His people in their living action exhibit Him except by repeating Him? except by being and doing and suffering what He, had He been still in the midst of us, would have been and done and suffered? This identification of Christ's people with their Lord, this carrying forth of the life of Christ in the world, is the idea lying at the root of the Revelation of St. John, and is one of the keys to the interpretation of that mysterious book.1 No intellectual knowledge of the Redeemer, no Imitatio Christi, no effort to comply with His demands as those of an authority which it is our duty and interest to obey, no zeal in the observance of His ordinances, no hope of the fulfilment of His promises, is sufficient to make us His in the full and proper sense of the term. He must Himself dwell in us and walk in us; must Himself be the spring of our new and higher being; must be one with us, and we one with Him; so that all that He was and is may be “fulfilled” in us, before the great end of salvation is accomplished for us."

- William Milligan (The Ascension and Heavenly Priesthood of Our Lord, pgs. 197-199)

*See link for footnotes.

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