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)

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, part 5 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.

   "We experience a growth of Christly character, then, by being baptized with and living in the spirit of Jesus Christ. And you will see, if you think of it, that this participation in the spirit of Christ is really the only imitation of Him that is possible to us. I insist on that because too often we mean, by the imitation of Christ, the simple copying of His outward life. It is a similarity in the visible ordering of our lives to the ordering of His, not a oneness of the inward motive which reigns over us with the motive which reigned over Him, that we strive after. To walk in the footsteps of the Master is too frequently held to be just the diligent reproduction of His actions and His words. Now you see that if by the imitation of Christ we intend only such a mechanical repetition of His life as that, there are very few things indeed in which we can imitate Him at all. In many, indeed in all, of the sublimest experiences of His earthly course He must stand alone. The outward details of His temptation, the miraculous powers He could summon to His aid, the sharp pangs of His passion, the bitterness of His cross or the triumph of His rising — all these things are entirely remote from the plane of our experience, and in these points our history cannot resemble His. Moreover, as I said, a mere external resemblance, though it were never so exact, could do little or nothing to spiritualise character, to realise in us the law of the gospel of Christ. But you take that other idea of which I spoke—the idea that a true imitation of Jesus Christ means a living in the spirit which filled Him; and at once every incident in His life has its lesson for us, speaks with a voice of exhortation and command, and touches the deepest springs of life in us to cleanse them. You stand before the tragedy of His death: it is in that He is furthest from us, wrapped in a lonely grandeur we cannot approach. How can we be like Him in the experience of that supreme hour? We have not a world to redeem: for us no call to martyrdom has come: must we say that the possibility of Christly imitation stops short for us just when Christ reaches the point where He is greatest, and is cut off just as 'He manifests the divinest qualities of self-sacrifice and love? Not so: though we be not bent, as He was, beneath the weight of any cross on which we are to die—though we be not summoned, as He was, to become obedient unto death—yet the spirit that lay behind His voluntary giving up of Himself may dwell in us, the spirit of perfect willingness to suffer or die even with the very bitterest accompaniments that suffering or death can bring; and so we may know the fellowship of Christ's sufferings, and so be made conformable unto Christ's death. And if we once accept and seek to live by that spirit of complete self-surrender, it becomes one of the moulding forces of character, working in us to produce the graces of Christliness and the beauties of a spiritual life. Thus, as we live in the spirit of Christ, the law of Christ's gospel—the law of the growth of Christly character—has free course within us. And the influence of every incident in the life of the Christ is to work in the same way. Always pass from the word or the act itself to the spirit which it manifested, admit that spirit among the governing powers of your -nature, and let it do its part to guide your courses and shape your ways; and thus everything in Christ's life comes to have its spiritual counterpart in yours. You are like Him, not in the outward machinery and detail of existence, but in the spirit that inspires and moves the whole. This is the true imitation of Jesus Christ: this is the spirit of life in Christ Jesus—to acknowledge the same directing voices as He, to live by the same inspirations, to follow the same guiding lights.
    Well, Paul says that if you would realise and obey the law of the gospel, if you would set your inward life in the direction of spiritual progress, you must thus make your existence the spiritual counterpart of that of Christ. "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus." "

- Henry William Clark (Meanings and Methods of the Spiritual Life, pgs. 62-64)

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