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, July 31, 2016

Paul's method of goodness, part 1 of 5

"That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming conformed unto his death ; if by any means I may attain unto the resurrection from the dead."—Philippians iii. 10, 11.

   "Out of the many great questions which the world has to face and answer, greatest of all is the question, How may goodness be attained by struggling human souls? That this is really the most momentous practical problem with which our minds can grapple, we cannot for an instant doubt, when we pass from reckoning the importance of things by their immediate and transitory advantages to the truer method of reckoning the importance of things according to their absolute and permanent worth. Important it doubtless is to ask, in regard to society, how the greatest good of the greatest number may be secured : time and thought spent on social problems can never be wasted; and yet it is at least possible to give to the consideration of social problems some of the energy which might be more usefully employed in striving to make the individual members of society, not happier or more comfortable, but better. I am not sure that this is not the mistake made on many hands to-day. For ourselves, too, there are insistent questions to be met as to what use our life may most profitably be put to, and what purpose our strength may best be made to serve : long and anxious thought may have to press upon us before a satisfactory reply is found; and it is possible to build up whole philosophies of life round about such inquiries as these. It has often happened that men have taken these as the first and last questions that concern them, and, having answered them to their own content, have fancied that they have found all the needed secrets for their true and worthy living. Yet, if it be from a God of goodness that our life came, if it be as children of a God of goodness that we are here, if there be Goodness throned in heaven and if Goodness rule our world, then every other question fades into insignificance beside this, How, by us, may goodness be won? When we get down to the depths of things, to the reality beneath all deceptive appearances, to the heart of life, there is no problem that can for a moment be compared with that.
    And as the question, How may goodness be attained? is first and foremost in order of importance, so perhaps has it been met by more answers than any other question ever asked. Prophets have prophesied, oracles have spoken, seers have dreamt, concerning the path over which men, though on weary feet, might find quickest access to those far heights where the white lights of holiness should lie on them for ever. Leaders of men have sent their followers to painful labours of sacrifice and to long vigils of prayer, that so the foulness should be scourged out of them and purity come in. Yet many who have set out to climb the steep ascent to holiness have come back with downcast look and bleeding feet and hearts from which the shock of failure has driven all hope away. The ascent has been too steep. Sacrifice and prayer have often and often left the soul scarce purer than it was before; and, though these things may help to goodness, not all the secret is there. Still one asks, How may goodness be won?
    This is Paul's answer to the question. Through knowing Christ, and the fellowship of His sufferings, and the power of His resurrection, he reaches to the righteousness "which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith." And to unfold something of the apostle's rich thought may help us the more assuredly to answer the great question for ourselves.
    What, then, is Paul's method of goodness? It is, in brief, this—that he cannot win or hold goodness, but that goodness, in Christ, is to win and hold him. He is not strong enough to keep his grip upon righteousness ; but he will submit himself so entirely to Christ and to the righteousness which is in Christ, that Christ and Christ's righteousness will keep a strong grip upon him. He wants to know Christ so well, to be united with Christ so intimately, that he may catch from Christ the holiness which for himself he cannot attain. He cannot win or hold goodness; but goodness, in Christ, is to win and hold him.
    And as that was Paul's method of goodness, so is it the method of goodness that must be adopted by Christian disciples to all time."

- Henry William Clark (Meanings and Methods of the Spiritual Life, pgs. 27-30)

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