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, June 3, 2016

How, then, is the mission of the Spirit after the Ascension to be distinguished from what it previously was?, part 3 of 3

    "The history of the ancient Church illustrates what has been said. In the Old Testament there is not seldom an incongruity, a want of harmony, between the Spirit of God and the persons brought under His influence. He came upon Balaam, yet the prophet remained the unwilling and self-seeking servant of the Almighty at the very time when he delivered the Divine message to Balak. He came upon Saul, yet the ungovernable passions of that king were not restrained. He certainly dwelt largely in Elijah and Elisha, yet some of the actions of these two prophets are difficult to explain, so much do they seem to have gone beyond even that measure of sternness which the law required. Under the Old Testament, in short, there was no sufficient provision for the complete reduction of our human nature to order. There were high thoughts and noble deeds, but there was then an inconsistency in the best of human lives which makes us often wonder how those who led them can be described as under the influence of the Spirit, or as “men after God's own heart.” The truth seems to be that the Spirit, while Divine, was not sufficiently human to penetrate with calm persistent force into the human heart, or to “abide” there. Now it is otherwise; and when the Spirit of Christ, human as well as Divine, enters into our spirits, He takes complete possession of them, like a deep flood-tide

                                                        Too full for sound or foam.

No doubt there are still in the believer inconsistencies, shortcomings, and sins; but these are felt to be what they are. They are seen to be at variance with the Spirit's aims, and they are gradually left behind in the soul's upward path. The least in the kingdom of heaven enjoys in this respect higher privileges, and has a more glorious career in prospect than even the greatest of the prophets before Jesus came.1
    The same considerations may also help to explain the fact that, in various passages of the New Testament, so much emphasis is laid upon bringing the body into subjection to the Divine will, when we would rather expect a reference to the soul. Thus we find St. Paul writing to the Romans, “We ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for our adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body”;2 and we ask, What is the relation between the firstfruits of the Spirit here spoken of and the redemption of the body? Why should the redemption of the body, not the soul, be regarded as synonymous with “our adoption”? Again, in another part of the same Epistle, we read, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”3 Why is mention made here of bodies instead of souls? And, once more, the same Apostle, writing to the Corinthians, says, “Glorify God therefore in your body”;4 and we are tempted to repeat the question, Why not the soul?5 In answer to such questions it is not enough to reply that the body is an important part of man, or the instrument with which his spirit works, and that its sanctification is too frequently undervalued. The passages quoted might almost seem to regard it as the chief part of man; and we know that it is not. The answer seems rather to be that, although not the chief part, it is that to which the Christian, realising the ideal of his faith, has need chiefly to direct his thoughts, because it is not yet redeemed to the same extent as his spirit. The Spirit of the Lord has already taken possession of the Christian's spirit, has established His throne there, and has only to be allowed a more perfect control of every department of the spirit-life. The same work has not yet been accomplished in the body. Yet it has to be accomplished, and not till then will the whole process of our salvation be complete. While the spirits of believers even at present live, however imperfectly they may breathe it, in the atmosphere of a perfected spiritual existence, offering a full supply for every want of the soul's spiritual life, they wait for the application of a similar Divine power to the body. Only then, when that hour arrives, when the corruptible body puts on incorruption and the mortal body immortality, shall they be presented, both soul and body, in one harmonious whole, to Him who in heaven is not only Spirit, but is clothed with “the body of His glory.” "

- William Milligan (The Ascension and Heavenly Priesthood of Our Lord, pgs. 213-216)

*See link for footnotes.

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