What Does This Mean?

Unless otherwise stated all Scripture references are taken from the NASB translation.

Someone has asked, “What does it mean that the Spirit eternally proceeds from the Father, through the Son?”

Luke writes the following statement concerning a requirement for those who are Apostles found in Acts 1:21-22, “Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us—beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.” Of course, this is the statement made prior to the selection of Matthias who was to replace Judas Iscariot.

The Word of Truth

Notice that the word “therefore” tells us that these words about the Holy Spirit are for the Apostles alone, and not to us Believers today. Certainly, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in the life of every Believer. However, we must understand that Luke, the author of Acts, speaks only to these chosen men had were in the physical presence of Jesus.

2 Peter 1:16 gives us this truth, “For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eye-witnesses of His majesty.”

1 John 1:1-2 tells us more, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.”

I do not believe the Scriptures teach that the Holy Spirit guides Believers into truth apart from what the Word of God instructs. The fact is that no one alive today was present before the Crucifixion of Jesus. With that in mind, what Jesus says to the Twelve in John 15:26 is of utmost importance, “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me,”

The Greek word for “proceeds” means “to come out of, to proceed from, depart out of, to leave from.” This word is used often in the New Testament and there is not one NT verse that says that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son. The NT tells us that the Holy Spirit only comes or proceeds from the Father.

No Condemnation for Those Who Are In Christ

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” Romans 8:1-9.

Because of this reference and others like it, some have come to believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds through the Son and through the Father in Matthew 10:20, in our relationship with the Son as noted above in Romans 8:1-9, and through the Son in Galatians 4:1-6, “Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father. So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

Because the Holy Spirit Proceeds from the Father

Because the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and is the Spirit of the Father as seen in Matthew 10:20, and Paul further writes that it is the Spirit of Christ who delivers him, “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.” Philippians 1:18-20.

We will not know the complete answer until Christ comes for His Church after the Great Tribulation. Until then

Jesus remains Lord.


About Bob Williford

Conservative Southern Baptist pastor, missionary, and personal evangelist. An avid supporter of Texas Tech Athletics. Enjoy oil painting, writing and woodworking. My wife, children, and grandchildren are my joy. Reading and writing are great for relaxing......
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