Can a Christian Be Demon Possessed?

By Dwayna Litz

The Bible assures us that it is impossible for a Christian to be possessed by demons. In considering whether or not a Christian can be demon possessed, we have to know what the Bible teaches about God’s work in salvation—a supernatural regeneration of someone’s heart as miraculous as the resurrection of Jesus. God now dwells in a temple not made with hands. (Hebrews 9:11). He dwells within His own. The blood of Jesus has cleansed us from sin, and lives within the heart of anyone who is redeemed (1 John 1:5-10), and no fallen angel or principality can separate us from Him. (Romans 8:38-39).

Do some of us have the Holy Spirit more than others? The Bible very clearly teaches that when we become Christians, we get all of the Holy Spirit at salvation. The question is, rather, does He have all of us?

 John 3:34 teaches that God gives the Holy Spirit “without measure.” This means we have Him—all of Him—when He comes to indwell us at salvation. God does not play favorites by choosing to give some of His children more of Himself than others. Praise the Lord, all of the redeemed get the same amount of God. The question is how much of us do we give to Him? The Holy Spirit works in our lives contingent on how much of ourselves we give to Him, not the other way around.

Is there “another filling” of the Holy Spirit after salvation? The answer according to the Bible is unequivocally no. How can we confidently be sure? Ephesians 4:5 makes this crystal clear. There is “one” baptism of regeneration for “all” of the elect. Only one. There is “one Lord, one faith, and one baptism” for all who are saved, which is the only way the Bible defines people as being “in Christ.”

Does God possess us if we belong to Him? Absolutely! We read that we are God’s possession in verses like 1 Peter 2:9, Titus 2:14, and Ephesians 1:14. He lives in us, and we are His temple. (See 2 Corinthians 6:16, 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19, Romans 12:1). We are taught in 1 John 3:9 that His “seed” abides “in” us forever. We are “sealed” in Him (Ephesians 1:13), and He possesses us with His Holy Spirit. For this reason, we know that no Christian can be demon possessed. 2 Corinthians 6:14-16 teaches that God dwells “in” us and “there is no fellowship of light with darkness.” God cannot dwell in us if evil is possessing us. Christians can be oppressed by demons, and demons can certainly torment saved people, but we have assurance that demons cannot possess a Christian redeemed by the blood of Jesus. God dwells within His own, and darkness cannot dwell where God lives. Is it possible for someone to “believe” in Jesus and not be saved? Absolutely. Not all faith is saving faith. James 2:19 states that even demons believe in Jesus and tremble.

I once heard Dr. Walter Martin speak on CD about a Sunday School teacher who “believed” in Jesus but was demon possessed. I heard Dr. Martin speak about the encounter he had with the woman after church one night… with an elder there to witness how she was scared at first to pray with Dr. Martin and then was not able to renounce the witchcraft that had been in her life since childhood, only to become violently agitated when asked to renounce it…

Not all conversions are this dramatic, but in this case, Dr. Martin prayed in the name of Jesus for the demons to come out of the Sunday School teacher and for the Lord to “rebuke Satan” and the demonic spirits indwelling her (as we are taught to do in Jude 9), as she fought to the point of four elders from the church having to hold her down. It took all night for her to finally renounce the witchcraft. Only then did the woman become saved. Her husband testified that she became like a different person from then on, and they became missionaries. The point is church does not save us. Going to church is a work, and we are not saved by works. (Ephesians 2:8-9). Even saying a prayer is a work. Only regeneration from the Lord saves us, as He uses Bible study, prayer and sound teaching of the Gospel to draw us to saving faith. And when He comes to live inside us, His temple in us has no fellowship with darkness. (2 Corinthians 6: 14-16).

After doing missionary work in occult places like Venice Beach, CA, I have witnessed demonic activity in the unsaved and known people who have been sincerely converted (without an exorcism) from satanic spirits. I have also prayed for people so oppressed and possessed by demons that they are incapable of giving themselves to the Lord like a normal person who has not dabbled in biblically forbidden spiritism. (See Deuteronomy 17, 18 and Isaiah 8:19-20). The demonic spirits have a hold on them, because God promises that we reap what we sow. (Galatians 6:7). Still, demonic spirits that frighten a seeker have to flee when that person begins to read the Bible and praise the Lord, even if they do not get saved in the end. I have witnessed people very scared as they begin to come to Jesus, but when I have read them the Bible, they have found comfort or when they have sung with me a praise hymn to Jesus, they have felt the peace of God. Perfect Love casts out fear—even if it is fear produced by demons when someone begins to surrender to Jesus. (1 John 4:18).

Though a Christian cannot be demonically possessed, Satan’s counterfeit spirits don’t give up in a person’s life at the point of conversion. For instance, a fruit of the Spirit is self-control (Galatians 5:22-24), yet some Christians long for manifestations, such as speaking in tongues or being “slain in the spirit” in a state of momentary unconsciousness. How can God be glorified when we speak in tongues or fall back out of control, as if this is indicative of a Holy Spirit at work within us to bring glory to Jesus? There is no teaching in the New Testament that “falling back” is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. And Jesus had no “private prayer language.” If speaking in tongues was how we are all supposed to pray as Christians, why didn’t Jesus speak in tongues when He gave us the Lord’s Prayer to show us how to pray? Why didn’t He “fall back” unconsciously before speaking in tongues if such behavior brings God glory? Speaking in tongues is biblical when there is an interpreter, because the gifts of the Holy Spirit are for the edification of the Body of Christ, which is the church. (1 Corinthians 14:27-28). A “private prayer language” does not edify the Body of Christ. It does not even edify the person who is praying, because he or she has no idea what exactly is happening. Many people can speak in tongues while living in disobedience from God; hence, they are not experiencing “walking in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:16-17).

The charismatic evangelist Jimmy Swaggart claimed to speak in tongues yet was found with a prostitute years ago despite the practice of his “private prayer language.”[1] How about the spirit induced “laughter” and “healings” that accompanied speaking in tongues by “spiritual healer” Todd Bentley, which all came to fruition in adultery? [2] This attention grabbing chaos was never indicative of the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit works in purity to humble a person through simple, childlike faith and obedience to God. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit does not work to glorify Himself. He works to glorify Jesus. Supernatural experiences like speaking in tongues can be demonic, so we must “test the spirits” as 1 John 4 commands us to do. “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16).

There is no premium on mindlessness as we follow God. Hosea teaches “my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6). The first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. (Mark 12:30). We must test the spirits even after we are saved. Satan is the author of confusion in a Christian’s life, not Jesus. (1 Corinthians 14:33). The glory of being God’s possession is that He is at work within us, as we follow Him based on the Incarnate Word of God that has become manifest, not our feelings or experiences.

Living a Spirit filled life is to walk the road of the cross, oh Child of God, which involves death to self and suffering for righteousness sake through obedience to the Bible. Then, not only will the demons be unable to inhabit His temple in your heart, they will tremble at the Holy Spirit in you. Sing a hymn in your prayer time like “All That Thrills My Soul Is Jesus,” and mean it, giving Jesus all of you—and demons will never be found in the holy, sanctified temple where God dwells in your heart.

[1] http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20098413,00.html http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgmLqGEm10M

[2] http://blackchristiannews.com/news/2009/03/the-tragic-scandal-of-todd-bentley-and-greasy-grace-by-j-lee-grady.html

 

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