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)

Sunday, August 14, 2016

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

   "Now look at what Paul states to be the result of obedience to the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death." That is, he claims deliverance from the rule of sin because he has given himself to the rule of the Spirit of Christ: because he is living in the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, he has secured for himself that his progress shall be according to the law of spirituality and Christliness, and he is consequently free from the law of evil. The forward movement of his life is toward holiness, not toward sin. Not, of course, that he is altogether emancipated from the retarding and disturbing influences of evil; for, as we have seen, his consciousness of the presence of evil rises sometimes to an almost overwhelming height. But evil comes now as an intrusion, and does not rule as a law: formerly, it was the acknowledged sovereign, while now it is the usurper seeking to regain the throne it has lost. The law of his life is the law of spiritual progress; and, spite of passing tumults, he is free from the law of sin. Not free from its occasional visitations, but free from its law.
    And with the apostle, we too, if we be living by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, may rejoice in freedom, not indeed from the recurring entrances of evil into our experience, but from the tyranny of its constant sway. For all who seek to live in the spirit of Jesus Christ hold this as the guarantee of their ultimate perfection—that every life in which there is a dominant purpose of good is in harmony with the will and purposes of God; and, so long as God is what He is, and remains true to Himself, no purpose of good can ever fail. In yielding ourselves to the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus we commit ourselves to the faithfulness of God; for He has pledged Himself—by the proclamation of righteousness in the voices of conscience, by the supremacy of righteousness in the established arrangements of His moral government, by the frequent vindication and crowning of righteousness in the history of the world—God has pledged Himself that every effort after righteousness and Christliness must reach its aim. Live in the spirit of Jesus Christ, and here and now you are made free from the dominion of all to which the spirit of Jesus Christ is alien and strange: it may touch you, but cannot claim you for its own; and through all the struggles, be they never so passionate and never so fierce, by which the dethroned evil seeks to reassert its lost authority— through all the tears of repentance for the sudden fall which has overtaken us unawares—through the alternations of joy for temptation vanquished and of sorrow for temptation to which our wavering wills submit—through it all our striving spirits win their way, sure of their ultimate rest in the perfect righteousness of God.
    But I come back at the last to the personal impulse of it all in Jesus Christ. For in Him lies the love which can comfort us when we have sought to give ourselves to the dominion of His Spirit, and have seemed to fail. It is a life in the spirit of Christ Jesus we seek to possess; and I cannot speak of such a life as that—none of us can speak or think of it—and remember the inexpressible beauty and sweetness of it, without an almost overwhelming rush of shame. "The Spirit of life in Christ Jesus "—far enough from that are we, far enough from its sweet and hallowed quietude—far, unutterably far, how far God only knows—from its holiness and tender grace. And in the sadness of our failure He, the Christ Himself, is the source of consolation and the Inspirer of hope. He stands, not far from any one of us, with the voice of encouragement for our weakest efforts and the gentle word of forgiveness for our most grievous faults. It is the living, personal Christ, throned at the centre of our life, from whom our inspiration comes and to whom our spirit's progress tends. From the deepest depths of failure or from the darkest abysses of despair, if we do but stretch imploring hands to Him, the failure and despair are swept away as though they had never been. So, by the constant presence and changeless love of Christ Himself, we are baptized with the spirit of life in Him, set free to surmount the highest slopes of God's righteousness and to climb the loftiest summits of Christly grace."

- Henry William Clark (Meanings and Methods of the Spiritual Life, pgs. 64-67)

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