Can A Christian Have A Demon?
The common religious answer is an emphatic “No!”
The correct Biblical answer is a qualified “Yes.”
Before you pull out the tar and feathers and think “Heresy!” take a deep breath, ask Holy Spirit to “open the eyes of your understanding,” and be willing to embrace a new concept that may be foreign, or even antithetical, to your walk of faith thus far.
While it is theologically accurate to assert that anyone who has faithfully completed and fully acknowledged the requirements of Romans 10:9,10 cannot be possessed by a demon, it is equally theologically correct to proclaim that they can be, and in many cases are, oppressed.
Are you tormented by ongoing, repetitive sin in your life as a Believer? Do you consistently engage in sinful behavior in spite of repeated prayer, repentance, counseling, etc.? As a Believer, do you wrestle with drug or alcohol addiction, or both? Do you find you can’t resist pornography? Is lust a constant, unwanted companion? Do you sincerely desire to quit smoking, stop indulging in gluttonous behavior, or long for freedom from anger, low self-esteem, depression, fear, or other negative emotions? Do you have other sins in your life that no matter how hard you try, you cannot stop the destructive, shameful, and tormenting behavior?
If you’ve answered yes to any of the above, or have any other similar besetting sins since you embraced Jesus as your Savior, or if you know someone who is trapped by these or other sins, you, or they, may very well be dealing with demonic entities and not just good old-fashioned “Sin.”
There is a common saying among those skilled and practiced in the Ministry of Deliverance that “You can’t repent from a demon, and you can’t cast out a sin.” Demonic oppression and sinful behavior(s) are intertwined, but it is essential to understand the causative differences between a temporary sin, and repetitive, ongoing sin in a Believer’s life. These two categories of sin can, and often do, work in concert to keep Believers in bondage. However, the good news is, “Whom the Son sets free, is free indeed . . .” (Jn. 8:36)
How, then, can demons gain access to a Believer? It is an established maxim of Scripture that man is a triune being—a soul, who lives in a body, and has a spirit. Our souls consist of our mind, will, and emotions. Prior to salvation, none of us has the ability to resist sin in any of those three components. Some unbelievers manage sin better than others in one or all of the components of their soul, but they have no power to walk free from sin as Believers do. When we accept the free gift of salvation offered by Jesus, our spirit is instantly transformed by the power of Zoë, Eternal Life. The transformation is so dramatic, that he Apostle Paul writes to the Church (Believers) in Corinth, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, [they are] a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2Cor.5:17) (Italics mine).
This is a bold statement.
Why, then, do Believers struggle so very much to overcome those sins which ruled their lives pre-salvation?
One answer lies in understanding the nature of demonic oppression.
There are eighty-eight references in the New Testament to demons, demonic spirits, unclean spirits, etc. Jesus regularly cast out demons and fearlessly confronted them whenever and wherever He encountered them. “But,” you say, “Jesus was dealing with unbelievers, not Christians.” That is true. It is also true that He was dealing with possession in those instances. However, the principle of deliverance is the same whether one is an unbeliever, or a Believer.
The contrast is found in the difference between possession and oppression.
The access point for demonic oppression in Believers is the soul—the mind, will, and emotions. Demons (think of them as spiritual parasites) infect and infest Believers, not unlike a natural parasite infests and infects human or animal hosts. They attach themselves to individuals in a variety of ways. Some gain legal authority because of generational, bloodline curses (the curse of Canaan levied by Noah on his grandson in Genesis 6:22-25). Some attach because of word curses (Prov. 26:2), some come in because of a family background in the occult or false religions (Ex. 20:3-5), negative influences prior to birth (in the womb) , pressures in early childhood, emotional trauma or abuse, sinful acts or habits (Luke 22:3), idle words (Matt. 12:36-37), idol worship, and even the laying on of hands.
(This is not meant to be an exhaustive list or detailed scriptural proof. There are a plethora of books on demonic infestation and deliverance available to anyone who desires to delve deeper.)
The Apostle Paul admonishes all Believers writing to the Church at Philippi, “work out your salvation with fear and trembling . . .” At first blush, this seems a contradiction to the scriptural maxim in Ephesians 2:8,9 “For by grace are you saved, through faith; and that not of yourself: it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.” The process of “working out our salvation” is multi-layered, but at its heart is the process of bringing our soul into submission to our regenerated spirit. Indeed, The Apostle Peter boldly proclaims that the completion, the end, the full maturity of our faith is the saving of the soul. (1Pet.1:9)
We see, then, that the battleground, or arena, for much, if not all, of the conflict that arises in our Christian walk is the soul. Demonic parasites have no access to our regenerated spirit. Indeed, as Believers, our spirit is perfect in every way and provides instant, direct, and ongoing access to Father and Son through Holy Spirit. Unbelievers have no such access. It is crucial to understand these concepts if we are to be successful in breaking demonic bondages that keep us from experiencing the fullness of Christ this side of Heaven.
In the Book of Galatians, we are admonished that our flesh (soul) lust and war against the Spirit, but that if we walk uprightly in the Spirit, we are no longer subject to the law, and by extension, the curses that come because of disobedience to the law. (Gal. 5:16-18). We also learn from 1Cor 10 that God is faithful and has made a way for us to escape every temptation, even as Jesus did! “Well,” you say, “Jesus was, is, and will always be God, and I am a mere human.” Correct. But everything Jesus did when He walked the Earth, He did as a man. This means we can boldly proclaim the scripture over ourselves, “as He is so are we in this world. . .” (1Jn.4: 13-18) (Italics mine.)
So let’s cut to the chase.
How do we get free of these demonic parasites that torment us and drive us to do things we really do not want to do?
In a nutshell, we take authority over them, in the Name of Jesus and by his precious Blood, and we command them to leave.
Sounds simple, right?
Well, in one sense, it is simple.
But it is not necessarily easy.
In the next segment, next week, we will delve deeper into these concepts and examine the process of setting ourselves free from demonic parasites, thereby enabling ourselves to move forward and walk with confidence with true power in Christ. As part of this series, we will also explore how overcoming demonic parasites in our own life give us spiritual power and authority to help others overcome anything that sets itself against true intimacy with Christ.