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)

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Paul's method of goodness, part 3 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.

   "That is the moral secret of Christianity, for us as it was for Paul, be sure of it, whether we have ever realised it or no. What distinguishes the life of goodness according to Christ from all schemes of moral reform is just this—the Christian disciple has not to win goodness, but only to surrender to it. Christ doesn't want just to make our hearts a little purer and our wills a little stronger and our lives a little more fair. He wants to grip His disciples with so absolute a grip, that there shall no longer be any question of patching up the imperfection of their imperfect lives, but that His own perfect life shall be theirs. What we are to set before ourselves is not to make ourselves good, not even to have Christ make us good, but to subject our whole nature so utterly to the nature of Christ that all we think and say and do may have its source, not in us, but in Him. The Christian ideal is not that the disciple is to toil, weary step after weary step, over a road which leads to goodness, having a Christ of love and power at his side to hold him up when the faltering feet refuse to go further and to cheer his heart when despair steals in. But the Christian ideal is that the disciple is just to turn—to turn, as it were, away from himself and his weaknesses—to find Goodness close to him in Christ, and to fall into its arms. My thoughts impure —then I will let Christ have such power over me that He will think within my mind. My heart loves so many wrong things—then I will let Christ have such power over me that His desires will take possession of my heart. To know Him—to be found in Him— to lay aside the winning of goodness, and to call to Him, " Come and live in me, Thou who art Thyself Goodness "—to yield up soul and spirit, so that in the closeness of the bond between us we may catch our life from Him—that is the way in which the Christ will make His children good.
    "Then the attaining of goodness is after all an easy thing," are you inclined to say ?" Not the long and anxious struggle we thought it was, not the tiring task for which all the energies of our nature could hardly prove enough: nothing but the giving up our nature to the dominance of Christ's nature—the ceasing from all our struggle and letting Him take hold upon us— nothing but that! An easy thing, after all." Nay, but surely as difficult a thing as we can be called upon to do. Nothing but that, indeed ; but that is a great deal. It is just against this Christian method of goodness that so many instincts in us will rebel. Tell us that we are to do something, and right gladly would we set about the doing of it. Show us the long courses of toil at the end of which, if we are faithful, goodness will be found, and we would not care how long and hard soever they might be. Still, it would be our power that was being bent upon the task: it would still be on us that the achievement rested; and goodness, when at last it was attained, would be a prize which our strength had won. But because Christ says to His own, "Put aside your doings, and devote yourself to fixing your heart and mind and will down into My heart and mind and will—make your life to lie submissive and acquiescent upon Mine"—because He asks that of us, does our rebellious nature find the Christian method of goodness hard. We want to do and fight and strive for goodness: we will bear it all if only at the end we can say, " I have fought and won and laid my hand upon the prize." But it is hard to do nothing, to school ourselves into letting Christ take possession of us and do all. An easy thing! Nay, but a hard thing in very truth. Self-control we shall need still: self-sacrifice we shall need still; but they are, as it were, only the soul's preliminary steps with which it starts out upon its way. Control ourselves we must, because our natural impulse is to tear ourselves away from the absolute dominion of the Christ who is goodness; sacrifice ourselves we must, because so many things have made their abiding home within us which hinder the absolute dominion of the Christ who is goodness; but when we have controlled and sacrificed ourselves, we have only just begun. For ever will there rest upon us the task—and it is a task which all the world seems to make almost impossible to us—the task of keeping our nature, our life, firm, fixed, fastened, to and into the nature and the life of the Christ. Not an easy thing, but a hard thing, to our fretful and feverish souls, is that. As the apostle said, so must we say, even after Christ's secret of goodness has been learnt, "Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect: but I press on, if so be that I may apprehend that for which also I was apprehended by Christ Jesus."
    But, however hard it be, that is the secret. "That I may know him." Not to win goodness, but to get so close to Christ that He, who is Himself Goodness, may transfuse His life through mine."

- Henry William Clark (Meanings and Methods of the Spiritual Life, pgs. 32-35)

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