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, June 18, 2016

As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive, part 3 of 4

"St. Paul must here be our chief instructor. As in one
place he tells us that, "as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall
all be made alive;" so, in the more extended notice already
referred to, he enlarges on the nature of the transmission. In
Romans, v. 12—21, he affirms, among other truths, that "by
one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin;" that
"the judgment is from one unto condemnation ;" that "by
one man's offence death reigned;" that "by one man's dis-
obedience the many were made sinners." It is certain, then,
that, explain it how we will, and though we could not explain
it at all, we inherit sin (and consequently death) from Adam.
Now what is sin? That St. Paul may be his own interpreter,
we turn to the seventh chapter of the same Epistle, and we
there find, in distinct characters, St. Paul's theory of sin. I
use the word "theory" allowably, for the long and profound
passage in question is really an elaborate theological argu-
ment, and, though wrought out in those forms of rapid elo-
quence that eminently belong to the Pauline inspiration,
really approaches nearer to the exactness of philosophical dis-
quisition, than any passage of equal length in the Bible. In
a passage, then, whose decisions no man can slight, as the
pardonable exaggerations of pious ardour,—for thus men have
dared to speak of expressions elsewhere, which their hearts
had not risen to the power of interpreting,—in such a passage
as this, close, careful, and argumentative, St. Paul has told us
that sin is something inseparable from human nature indeed,
but altogether and essentially distinct from it. He had, in the
previous chapter, spoken of sin as "reigning in the body," of
men as being "the servants of sin,"a master whose "wages are
death,"—of being "freed from sin," and of sin "not having
dominion" over those who are "under grace;" expressions
which all import the real distinctness of evil from the human
personality. He now declares, as the substance of a long
series of considerations, that "if I do that I would not, it is
no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me:" and this
he asserts twice in the same words (vv. 17, 20), as if to im-
press on his readers that the principle was of the highest
importance in the theory of the Christian revelation. Nor
can we interpret the principle as importing less than that the
element of sin, though inwrought and universal in human
nature, is still foreign to it, and its government an usurpation.
While, to assure us of this, "the mind" with which "we
serve the law of God," "the inner man," which "assents to
the law of God," and "the desire" to perform it (vv. 15,18),
though ineffective,—all terms which express the amount of
natural light which survived the fall,—exclaim against the
intrusion of this tyrant of our unhappy nature. This account
of sin is verified by all those innumerable forms of expression
which attribute it to the direct and constant energy of Satan,
—of Satan, however, within as truly as without us; this point
forming the transition to the opposite (but, as I am prepared
to show, not contradictory) aspect of this mysterious influence
of evil. For while the distinctness of this principle is, as we
have seen, in every form implied, we also undeniably find the
whole strain of Scripture implying that the element of sin is
in us, becomes a part of us not naturally separable, the cor-
rupting constituent of a corrupt nature, imputable to us,
moreover, as our own choice, and thence rendering us per-
sonally subject to the aversion of a righteous and holy God.
These things show, that all acts of sin are the yielding to a
direct temptation, in the truest sense,—the yielding (and often,
as experience and St. Paul's authority establish, against our
anxious wish) to the suggestions of a tempter, himself essen-
tially hostile to God; a tempter, who so subdues our will
to his purpose, that it is, from the beginning of our life, prac-
tically, though not literally, one with his. In the intensity of
his power, that is, in the degree of our servitude of will, lies
the exact measure of the virulence of sin, under which we are
prostrate, yet with which we are blended; as, in the strong
and direct affirmations of St. Paul, in the perpetual close-
ness of the intimacy asserted, in the very nature of spiritual
energies, in the production of bodily disease and death as the
natural evolution of inward principles of physical (dependent
on moral) evil,—especially in the peculiar case of insanity,
and perhaps still more in the expressive exhibition of demo-
niacal possession at the time of Christ,—we are compelled to
recognise a mysterious inherency of the governing principle,
an indwelling, distinct from the man, but to the man insepa-
rably adherent, of an essence or nature derived directly from
that being whom we are taught to regard as to us the
fountain of all active evil. This spirit can be expelled, and
it can return, while its effects, as attested by the universal
law of death, and the imperfection of the best efforts of
even the "spiritual man," are, to a certain extent, in this
world irremediable. The evil spirit has the advantage of
priority in each soul as it springs to life, and he uses it:
no poison so virulent can leave the constitution as it found
it; and the Spirit of God in this world has to wander
among ruins!"

- William Archer Butler (Sermons, Doctrinal and Practical, Sermon XX, pgs. 377-380)

*Re-post from 06/29/15

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