After hundreds of years and numerous church councils the doctrine of the trinity was finally formulated with the final statements made on the person of the Holy Spirit. The Nicene Creed of AD 325 stated simply: “We believe in…the Holy Spirit.” This was enlarged at the First Council of Constantinople (381)with the words “the Lord and Giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father.” What is significant about this is that the Spirit was said to proceed only “from the Father.” But in 589 at the Council of Toledo, in Spain, the church added the clause “and from the Son.” This was the famous filioque (from the Latin; “and from the Son”) clause that would cause so much division between the Eastern (Orthodox) and the Western (Roman) Churches.
Why is the filioque clause so important? It is important in our understanding of the nature of the Trinity. But it is also important in our understanding of the application of redemption and the building of the Church of Christ. Having ascended up into heaven Christ had accomplished redemption (John 14:22), silenced the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10) and appeared victorious at the right hand of God. Only now could the Spirit proceed from the Son and take on a distinctly different role than before. This was the “supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ” given at Pentecost. This was the promise that Jesus made to His church—to us. The promise was that the Holy Spirit will continue the work of Christ in the hearts of men and teach us what we ought to say in the time of difficulty (Matthew 10:19-20; Luke 12:12).
Our strength to stand for Christ and not bring shame of the gospel comes, as it did for the imprisoned Paul, from “the supply of the Spirit if Jesus Christ” in answer to the prayers of God’s people. May this thought be as “settled
Reading: “For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.”—Philippians 1:19-20