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Intellectual Assent vs. Committed Heart

…‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ ~ John 1:33b, ESV


People seem to overlook the fact that even Christ Jesus did not perform any miracles, signs, or wonders before He received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, which happened after John the Baptist baptized Christ Jesus in the Jordan River. When the Dove (the symbol of God’s Holy Spirit) descended from Heaven and came upon Christ Jesus and remained on Him, this predicted “sign” (cf. John 1:33:a) not only determined for John the Baptist that Jesus is the authentic and promised Christ, which the voice from Heaven also declared at Christ Jesus’ water baptism (cf. Matthew 3:17), but also this predicted “sign” proved to us that Christ Jesus also received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

This heavenly sent Dove performed a Fire-filled baptism—He baptized (immersed/submerged) Christ Jesus in God’s Living Water. In other words, it was the Holy Spirit’s baptism that equipped and empowered Christ Jesus for His earthly ministry.

This same Fire-filled baptism is what continually burns away impurities from our souls while supernaturally equipping and empowering us so that we too can fulfill our individually God-given purpose(s) or earthly ministry. For this reason, we should not confuse the indwelling Holy Spirit with the infilling (Baptism) of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit’s indwelling happens immediately after we are reborn, saved, restored, reconciled, and then justified (presented to God as if we never had sinned). In contrast, the Holy Spirit’s infilling happens ONLY after we are immersed/submerged into the Holy Spirit’s Living Water, which initiates the progressive sanctification process in us (the beginning of that which eventually brings about our permanent change).

Although the Holy Spirit’s baptism can occur at the moment we receive salvation, the Bible clearly teaches that having the indwelling Holy Spirit to infill us is a separate experience from our redemption experience, and, thus, could come much later in our Christian walk. That’s right! Receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is not automatic, nor is this Baptism unavoidable—it can be ignored, avoided. Therefore, it is entirely possible to be a believer in Christ Jesus without having received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, as seen in the Samaritans’ lives (cf. Acts 8:5-17) and in the lives of John the Baptist’s disciples; the ones the apostle Paul meets in Ephesus (cf. Acts 19:1-7). Then too, it is absolutely feasible that there will be some believers who will live their entire Christian lives without ever receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit!

The bottom line is this truth: In order to receive the Holy Spirit’s baptism, we must realize that our intellectual assent is NOT enough. Intellectual assent also is not enough to receive regeneration (rebirth; being born again from above). Intellectual assent also is not enough to receive salvation. Intellectual assent also is not enough to receive progressive sanctification.

Put different, the biblical definition of faith, and by extension the definition of belief, is NOT: knowing and affirming truth, with the exception of being obedient to God’s Divine Truth. However, the definition of intellectual assent IS: knowing and affirming truth, with the exception of being obedient to God’s Divine Truth. Intellectual assent also is defined as follows: a decision made in our minds that lacks the full commitment of our hearts (human spirits). Thus, if we are accepting God’s Holy Spirit Baptism to be true only in theory (mentally comprehending this supernatural event), or accepting our need to be Holy Spirit baptized with exceptions, like not wanting to speak in tongues, then we never will be prepared to receive His Baptism.

Our preparation, therefore, involves receiving a Holy Spirit revelation about His infilling (about what it means to be Holy Spirit baptized), and our preparation involves receiving a genuine God-given desire (having the right motive) to be Holy Spirit infilled. Furthermore, before we even can have the right desire for being Holy Spirit baptized, we first would need to have a fully surrendered life in Christ Jesus, and we would need to have a disciplined prayer life.