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)

Sunday, May 29, 2016

What is the function or work of the Spirit in man?, part 3 of 4

    "To reveal the Incarnate and glorified Lord in us is therefore the function of the Spirit, and each of the two parts of this proposition is to be kept steadily in view.
    On the one hand, the Spirit is not an independent authority, taking the place of Him who has gone to the Father, and leading us into new fields of truth and holiness. At the moment when our Lord promised the Spirit to His disciples, He did it in the words, “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He shall guide you into all the truth: for He shall not speak from Himself; but what things soever He shall hear, these shall He speak: and He shall declare unto you the things that are to come. He shall glorify Me: for He shall take of Mine, and shall declare it unto you. All things whatsoever the Father hath are Mine: therefore said I, that He taketh of Mine, and shall declare it unto you.”1 In these words our Lord undoubtedly speaks of the Spirit's guiding the disciples into “all the truth,” and showing them the “things that are to come.” But it is of the utmost importance to observe that the truths thus referred to are not really new. They are old truths made new, expanded, unfolded, illuminated by history,–when history is read in the spirit of Christian insight, trust, and hope. There will not be in them one revelation, strictly so called, that was not in the Person or the teaching of Jesus Himself; but their ever greater depths will be seen as the relations of the Church and the world become more complex. It has been so in the past; it will be so in the future. The treasure in the words of Christ will never be exhausted. According to the seeming paradox of the Apostle, it contains what we are “to know,” although it “passeth knowledge.”1 But no revelation given by the Spirit may go beyond the revelation given us in Christ, or supersede the necessity of our seeing that its contents are involved in what He was or is. The Spirit which we receive is the Spirit of Christ, bestowed by Him, descending upon us from Him, and so flowing as a new life-blood, but still the blood of Christ, through the veins and arteries of our spiritual frame,that we shall be “new creatures,” yet new creatures not in the Spirit, but “in Christ Jesus.”2 To look at the matter in any other light not only opens the door to the follies and fanaticisms which, in connexion with the doctrine of the Spirit, have defaced the history of the Christian Church, but overturns the rational character of the Christian faith, eliminates the immediateness of that human element in the application of redemption which is essential to real mediation between God and man, leads to an undervaluing of those instrumentalities—the word, the sacraments, and the ministry —which have been appointed by Divine wisdom for our edification and comfort, and deprives the Christian life of that stability by which alone the aberrations of individual zeal can be corrected. Nay, more. To separate the function of the Spirit from the historical Redeemer is nothing else than “to substitute the Holy Ghost in the place of the Son; or rather to maintain that, whereas the work of man's government and salvation was at one time discharged by God under the name of Christ, at a later period there was a new title adopted, and the same Being reappeared under the name of the Holy Ghost.”1 The fundamental principle of the New Testament, that the whole Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—co-operate in the work of our redemption, thus disappears, and the doctrine of the Trinity itself is in danger of becoming a metaphysical speculation, without any practical bearing upon our life and character. It seems only necessary to add that, in speaking of the historical Christ, we are not to think simply of our Lord as He was on earth. It is the glorified Christ whom it is the peculiar function of the Spirit—that is, of the Spirit of Christ as glorified—to reveal within us. To Himself as glorified our Lord obviously refers when, speaking of the aspect of the Spirit's work now before us, He says, in words already quoted, “What He shall hear, that shall He speak;” “He shall glorify Me.” "

- William Milligan (The Ascension and Heavenly Priesthood of Our Lord, pgs. 200-202)

*See link for footnotes.

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