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)

Thursday, July 14, 2016

How shall we best regard the ethical teachings of Jesus as an evidence of Christianity?, part 1 of 4

"162. Passing now to our chief consideration we may ask: How shall we best regard the ethical teachings of Jesus as an evidence of Christianity? The answer is that we should view them in relation to his Person and to his purpose as a whole. The main point may be stated thus: Jesus came not to teach a system of ethics but to inaugurate an ethical enterprise. This distinction properly observed will clarify several confusing and difficult phases of the subject, as will be seen presently. But, first, what was the ethical enterprise of Jesus?
    The reply to this question may be stated in various ways. Christ's enterprise was to introduce into the world an ethical force which should actually transform men. It was this more than it was a teaching addressed to men. These men were to form a society; this society was to grow through the ages; its end was moral character in the highest possible form. In brief, then, there was an ultimate ethical aim or final cause before the mind of Jesus. He introduced an efficient cause to secure the end. What then was this final and what the efficient cause? The final cause in the individual character was the recreation of man ethically in Christ's image. The final cause in the world at large was the Kingdom of God. The efficient cause of both was Jesus himself.
163. But this ethical enterprise of Jesus was more than ethical. First of all it was redemptive. Sin must be dealt with before an ethical transformation could begin. Man must have a new heart. The fundamental relation of the soul to God must be first dealt with. Here it is that the ethical runs back into the religious life of man. Now it was in a personal relation to Christ himself that both the religious and ethical result were to be realized. A few citations of Scripture only out of many will be given. "Whosoever would save his life shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it" (Matt. xvi. 25). In the same context Christ predicts his second coming in glory when he shall render to every man according to his deeds. In the epistles we find that the experience of New Testament writers and readers is cast in the same mould. "We have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John i. 7). "If that which ye heard from the beginning abide in you ye also shall abide in the Son and in the Father" (1 John ii. 24). So in many passages the hope of seeing Christ leads to self-purification. Faith in Christ secures victory over the world. An indefinite number of like passages could be cited from Peter and Paul. In Paul's writings servants are to obey their masters, and children are to obey their parents, "in the Lord." Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church. In short, Christ himself is so organically connected with the entire New Testament ethical and religious ideal that that ideal is destroyed by any attempt to view it apart from him. It ceases to exist save as it exists in him, and in him not merely as a historic character who lived and died but as a living force in the heart and life."

- E.Y. Mullins (Why is Christianity true?: Christian evidences, p. 162-164)

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