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 30, 2016

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

    "If the first truth involved in the general proposition, that it is the function of the Spirit to reveal the glorified Lord, be thus important, on the other hand, the second truth involved in it, that the glorified Lord in His Divine-human personality acts only through His Spirit, and not directly, upon His people, is not less so. Words of St. Paul, writing to the Romans, as given in the Authorised Version, may indeed seem to lead to an opposite conclusion: “If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you, He that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall quicken also your mortal bodies through His Spirit that dwelleth in you.”1 But the word “through” here, though still found in the text of the Revised Version, ought in all probability to give way to the reading “because of” suggested in the margin. So read, the language of the Apostle ceases to imply any material force by which the Spirit acts, and we are left to the general teaching of Scripture, that only by His Spirit does the glorified Lord carry on His work in man. That Spirit may, indeed, in ways to which human life affords clear analogies, produce an effect even upon our material frames, but there is no reason to believe that He does so directly or by bodily impact. He works upon us spiritually, and only through His spiritual operation is Christ revealed in us. This aspect of the truth is not without great importance in our day. Many powerful influences of modern life favour the materialising of our Lord's relation to us, and there is even a mysticism to be sometimes met with in deeply religious minds which falls into the same error. The invisible Lord is thought to manifest His presence by the bodily sensations which that presence awakens, and an immediate communion is supposed to be held with Him through the bodily organs.2 Scripture lends no encouragement to such thoughts. St. Paul has rather said, with a force of expression which it is impossible to misunderstand, “Wherefore, henceforth know we no man after the flesh; yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him so no more.”1 By the Spirit, and the Spirit alone, does the glorified Redeemer carry on His work; and a thorough conviction of this truth is necessary to guard us against dangers as fatal to Christian progress as forgetfulness of the fact that the Spirit in revealing cannot go beyond what Christ was and is.
    Two paths of error thus stretch before us, into either of which we may easily diverge—that of a fantastic spiritualism on the one hand, and that of a too materialistic conception of Christ and Christianity on the other. The path of safety lies between them, in the truth that to reveal the Incarnate and glorified Lord within us is the function of the Spirit."

- William Milligan (The Ascension and Heavenly Priesthood of Our Lord, pgs. 202-204)

*See link for footnotes.

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