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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The Identity of the Holy Spirit

Don Stewart :: Why Is the Holy Spirit Compared to Clothing?

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Why Is the Holy Spirit Compared to Clothing?

The Identity of the Holy Spirit – Question 27

After Jesus Christ rose from the dead He told His disciples to remain in Jerusalem until God clothed, or dressed, them with power from on high. We read about this in the Gospel of Luke where it says the following.

I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:49 TNIV).

In this context, the work of the Holy Spirit is compared to clothing. Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would clothe with power those who believed in Him. The idea is that God would clothe the believers with power – not that they would clothe themselves. Consequently, the emphasis is what God does for the believer not anything that the believer can do.

The Power of the Holy Spirit Comes from God

The Bible emphasizes that the power of the Holy Spirit allows believers to testify about Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself said.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8 NRSV).

This power is available to every believer the moment they trust Christ as their Savior. They are now in a position to tell everyone about the risen Lord.

Clothing Is Used Elsewhere in Scripture to Reveal Spiritual Truth

We find a number of examples in the Bible where clothing is used to reveal spiritual truth. They include the following examples.

We Are to Clothe Ourselves with His Attributes

For one thing, we find that God’s people are to clothe themselves with the attributes of God Himself. Paul wrote the following to the Colossians.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (Colossians 3:12 TNIV).

There are a number of attributes of God with which believers are commanded to clothe themselves with. In other words, like physical clothing, we are make these attributes part of our person which completely cover us.

Our Spiritual Clothing Is Compared to Armor

Paul told the Thessalonians that we are to clothe ourselves with faith and love in the same manner that a solider puts on armor.

But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet (1 Thessalonians 5:8 TNIV).

These are further attributes that those who trust Jesus Christ as Savior should clothe themselves with.

The Bride of Christ Returns with Pure Clothing

The Bride of Christ is to wear fine clothing when she returns with Christ. We read about this in the Book of Revelation.

To her it has been granted to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure—for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints (Revelation 19:8 NRSV).

The bride will be dressed for the wedding. Jesus is the groom.

In sum, clothing in Scripture can mean more that mere material clothing. Indeed, there are times it speaks of important biblical truths such as the reception of the Holy Spirit.

Summary – Question 27
Why Is the Holy Spirit Compared to Clothing?

The illustration of God clothing believers with the Holy Spirit emphasizes an important truth. The Holy Spirit completely covers the believer. This is something the Spirit does by Himself– the believer has nothing to do with it. We do not clothe ourselves with the Holy Spirit – He clothes us.

Furthermore, God clothes us with His power to become a witness for Him. Indeed, we are given the power of the Holy Spirit to testify of Jesus Christ. He clothes us to accomplish this task.

Yet there are times that we are told to clothe ourselves with certain attributes or characteristics of God. We are to “put on” these attributes; to be Christlike in our behavior. Again, we can only accomplish this through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Clothing is thus used as a figure of speech in Scripture to reveal vital spiritual truth.

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