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)

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Paul's method of goodness, part 4 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.

   "And how does Paul find that closeness to Christ, union with Christ, enables him to solve the problem of goodness? How does Christ's grip upon him make him good?
    He goes first to Christ's cross, and there the self-sacrificing Christ takes hold upon him and enables him to sacrifice himself. Then he goes to Christ in His resurrection, and the risen Christ takes hold upon him and enables him to live His own high and glorious life.
    He goes first to Christ's cross. He seeks to know the fellowship of Christ's sufferings, to become conformed to Christ's death. Would we have Christ's spirit take hold upon our spirits, Christ's soul absorb our souls into itself, as it were, in such wise that Christ's goodness may be made ours, we too must go first to Christ's cross, know the fellowship of His sufferings, become conformed to His death. For, as we stand in spirit close to the cross on which He died, we realise the utter hostility that exists between the world's ideals of life and the best ideals of life. In Him the best ideals were gathered up: He brought them into and realised them in a world devoted to other ideals than His; and His life-ideals brought Him to this—to the Cross. And the world's baser ideals possess us in part: not free from their presence and their power can we declare our hearts to be; and the wrench of surrendering those baser ideals, the pain of sacrificing them, must our hearts know, would we share the holiness of our Lord. And from His cross, when we go to Him there, Christ takes such hold upon us that the wrench can be gladly suffered, and the sacrifice unmurmuringly borne. "Thou didst bear this, and lose so much— then I will bear with utter willingness whatever there is to bear, and lose without repining whatever must be lost, that I may share the goodness which drove Thee to Calvary." Our sacrifices for the sake of goodness grow lighter to us as we look upon His: He takes hold upon us and carries us through our sacrifice with Him. Would we possess Christ's spirit of holiness, we must go first to the Cross and seek to know the fellowship of His sufferings. At His cross He will grip us so powerfully that the first step in the attainment of holiness—the sacrificing of that which is contrary to holiness—will be past.
    We have sought sometimes to live the life of holiness without a cross in it. We have known nothing of the fellowship of Christ's sufferings: we have not been conformed unto His death. We have not let Christ grip us first from His cross. Yet His holiness, His goodness, will never, never be ours, till we betake ourselves there, and say to Him in utter surrender, " Let Thy spirit of sacrifice take hold of my spirit, and make it to be a spirit of sacrifice too. As for holiness Thou didst become submissive unto death, even the death of the cross, so for holiness may I become submissive to whatever loss and pain the pursuit of holiness may bring." Something must be sacrificed if Christ's goodness is to hold us; and the spirit of sacrifice comes to us at the cross. Christ's own spirit enters into us there, and itself bears the sacrifice which, without His cross, we could not face."

- Henry William Clark (Meanings and Methods of the Spiritual Life, pgs. 35-37)

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