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)

Friday, August 12, 2016

The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, part 4 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.

   "Pass now to Paul's view of what obedience to this law involves. It is a living in the spirit of Jesus Christ—" the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus." In order to ensure that development of Christly character which the law of Christ's gospel aims to produce, we must live in the spirit of Christ. You notice how the apostle is careful, in the midst of all his reasoning, to lay stress upon the personal element in the relationship of the Christian disciple to the Christian life: he keeps constantly before the attention of his readers the fact that the personal influence of Christ Himself is the all-important factor in that relationship; and in their ideas of Christian methods and Christian practice, he will allow nothing merely mechanical to find room. He insists on Christianity as giving a law: it is not, however, a law which does its work in blindness, but a law of the Spirit of life, leaving free play for the exercise of human volition and the conscious adjustments of human power—and a law, besides, which centres in and carries you back to the influence and authority of a personal Lord— the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. We secure for ourselves a growth of Christly character as we set ourselves under the personal influence of Christ Himself: it is the perfectness in Him that is to draw out and fulfil the aspirations after perfectness in us; it is from Him that there comes forth the attracting force to draw us upward, and it is to Him that our mounting spirits return. The law of Christ's gospel operates through the personal influence of Christ Himself. "The Spirit of life in Christ Jesus "—that is the secret our experience is to realise.
    Now, we live in the spirit of Jesus Christ when we set our lives to the principles which controlled His, live from the same motives as He, acknowledge the same inspirations and answer to the same guiding impulses from above. To live in the spirit of Christ is something far larger and deeper than a mere imitation of His actions: there is no virtue in merely saying His words and doing His deeds, even if down to the minutest particular we could say and do them; and to transfer the external colouring and aspect of His life to ours is a process that could have little or no influence upon character, and would do absolutely nothing to make the law of Christian progress and development realised within us. It is in the inward attitude of mind and heart toward purity and righteousness that we are to be like Christ: to live in His spirit is to be open and free, as He was, to every passing breath of God—to thrill, as He did, responsive to every touch of a holy presence—to wait, as He waited, prepared for the coming of any sacred voices from on high—to stand at His side, one with Him in His absolute inward surrender to eternal righteousness and truth, one with Him in the homage of His heart and the bowing of His spirit before the supremacy of the purity of God. And thus, united with Him there at the springs of life, we pass within the range of the influence and power He exerts: so living in His spirit, we attain slowly to the perfectness manifested in its fulness in Him; and, through the ascending steps of the life in the spirit of Christ Jesus, the law of Christ's gospel is realised and embodied in us."

- Henry William Clark (Meanings and Methods of the Spiritual Life, pgs. 60-62)

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