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, June 15, 2017

The fruit of the Spirit's working

"1. He distinguishes between such phenomena as were called gifts of the Spirit and those that are termed the graces of the Christian life.1 The tendency of the primitive Church was to exalt the extraordinary gifts that pointed to a state of ecstasy, and to regard all who possessed such gifts as spiritual in a pre-eminent sense. Paul, on the other hand, emphasised the surpassing worth of the moral and religious effects of the Spirit's working in the renewal of character. He held up the Christian life itself, in the normal exercise of the graces of love, humility, meekness, etc., as being in a special sense the product of the Spirit. "If," says Gunkel, in his admirable little book on this subject, "his fellow believers regarded the extraordinary elements in the Christian life as spiritual, Paul regarded the usual and ordinary ones as being such. They had respect to what was peculiar to the individual, he to what was common to all; they to what stept forth suddenly, he to what was regular. They singled out separate things in the Christian life; the value they attributed to wonderful gifts he placed on the Christian life itself."2 This marked a great advance on the thought of his age; and by his teaching on this point, as has been well said, "Paul inaugurated that decisive change of view by which Christianity made the transition from the miraculous world of ecstatic feeling and apocalyptic phantasy into the true spiritual world of religious and moral personal life, and by which it could become the regenerating leaven of the history of mankind."* In accentuating the moral and religious elements in the Christian life, Paul does not make less of the Divine energy to which they are due. In saying that moral goodness is the best result of the Spirit's working, he holds as strongly as any that only the Spirit of God can produce that goodness. By referring the entire Christian life to the authorship of the Divine Spirit, he taught, in the most explicit way, that there entered into the very conception of Christianity a passion and energy of ethical life, an enthusiasm for God and for man, a power of holiness which was not in man himself and which the Divine Spirit in man alone could awaken and sustain. The fact that the ordinary graces of Christian character were ascribed by him to the Spirit of God, is of itself a testimony to the superhuman worth and Divine origin that were felt to belong to true and noble character in apostolic times.

1 1 Cor. xii. 31, xiii. 1, etc., xiv. 1.
2 Gunkel, Die Wirkungen des Heiligen Geistes in der Lehre des Paulus, p. 82.
* Pfleiderer, Hibbert Lectures, p. 82."

- David Somerville (St. Paul's Conception of Christ: or, The Doctrine of the Second Adam, pgs. 115-116)

*Re-post from 9/4/15


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