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, August 11, 2016

The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, part 3 of 6

"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death."—Romans viii. 2.

   "It would not be difficult to show, by a comparison of the apostle's words in this and many another place, that what I have sought to present was really Paul's view of the gospel—the law of the development of holy character. And even without travelling beyond the immediate surroundings of the text, you can see how, if this was his view of the gospel and its working, all that passionate crying of his soul and that oscillation of his spirit between triumph and despair, to which the preceding chapter bears a witness so pathetic—you can see how all that is explained. He delights in the law of God "after the inward man," but there is another power, a power of sin, within him, which every now and again drags him down into captivity to its imperious might. That is, the power of God and of the gospel of Christ is at work within him to produce and draw out the beauties of holiness, to direct the whole tendency and growth of his being above; and all the sympathies of the man are directed to the same object when he is true to himself. He delights in the law of God after the inward man. Only, because his will—set as it is upon the attainment of holiness—cannot take all the powers and capabilities of his nature with it, there is the ceaseless conflict between the law of Christ's gospel, which impels him up, and the tendency of the flesh, as he calls it—of the unpurified and unredeemed instincts of his being—which drags him down. And does not our experience confirm the apostle's account of his? We, too, feel how the law of the gospel of Christ, the law of spiritual growth, is checked by the hindrance of downward and sinful tendencies we cannot overcome: we, too, could cry out, when the struggle is bitter and the issue doubtful to our thought, " Who shall deliver us out of the body of this death?" and our pain of spirit is sharp as the apostle's was, our tears of despair quick and sincere as his. And with him and with us that inward struggle bears witness to this fact—that the gospel of Christ brings in a new growth of character, opens up little by little the full development of holiness from the first beginnings of grace, and through the conflict of antagonistic elements and the hostility of opposing impulses in the soul, guides steadily onward the progress of the spirit toward God.
    The gospel gives a law to life — the law of development of spiritual and Christly character."

- Henry William Clark (Meanings and Methods of the Spiritual Life, pgs. 58-60)

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