By Clarence L. Haynes Jr., Crosswalk.com
Though we don’t often see the manifestation, demon possession is real. So, the question arises, can a Christian be demon-possessed? In the Bible there were people who were demon-possessed but demonic activity is not just limited to the times of the Bible, this continues even today. As a Christian we are reminded of this reality in Ephesians 6.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. –Ephesians 6:12
We know we fight against spiritual forces of evil and we know that Satan is our enemy. Knowing that demon possession is real and that we are in a spiritual battle, it may cause some people to wonder if a Christian can be demon-possessed?
While there are many things that we need to concern ourselves with in spiritual warfare, I want to put your mind at ease. When it comes to whether a Christian can be demon-possessed this is something you don’t have to be concerned about. Regarding the question of can a Christian be demon-possessed, I will tell you right now the answer is an emphatic no. It is not possible for a Christian to be demon-possessed.
I could stop right there but I would be doing you a disservice because you need to know why, so let’s find out.
What Is Demon-Possession?
Let’s clear up what demon possession means. To be demon-possessed is to be completely controlled by a demonic or evil spirit. This demonic spirit can direct your actions, your thoughts, even the things you say. I hope you see by this definition alone there is no way a Christian can be demon-possessed.
But let’s not stop with a definition, let’s go further and investigate the word of God so we can really know why.
Can a Christian Be Demon-Possessed?
To have this conversation honestly, I must define what a Christian is. I am not talking about someone who just goes to church, or who says they are a Christian by their words only. I am talking about someone who has admitted they are a sinner, repented of their sins, and has put their faith completely in the finished work of Christ for their salvation. Their hope is in Christ and nothing else. When this type of conversion happens in a person’s life and they become a Christian, they become marked.
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit. –Ephesians 6:13
The moment you believed and gave your life to Christ you were marked with a seal, which is the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God came to take up residence in your heart and he dwells in your heart at this very moment. I know you may not always feel or sense the Spirit of God in your life, but if you are in Christ this is your reality.
Because the Holy Spirit dwells in your heart it is not possible for a demonic spirit to come in and push out the Holy Spirit. It is not going to happen. If you walk in the Spirit and live by the Spirit, then no demon will ever be able to possess you.
You cannot be filled with the Spirit of God and be possessed by a demon at the same time. It can’t happen. It won’t happen and that’s why if you are in Christ you don’t have to worry about being demon-possessed.
What about Spiritual Warfare?
As Christians we don’t have to worry about demonic possession but what about the spiritual warfare we must engage in? While you don’t have to worry about being possessed it is possible you may face demonic oppression. What is the difference? Dictionary.com defines oppression as the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner.
A person who has been possessed has a demonic spirit operating within them. A person who is being oppressed has a demonic spirit trying to exercise some type of authority over them. The goal could be to intimidate or to instill some type of fear.
Regardless of the goal the oppression originates from outside and is not coming from within you. Despite the amount of power or authority a demon or demonic spirit seeks to exercise over you, as a Christian, the most they can do is oppress you, they cannot possess you.
Demons Have Power, but You Have More
One of the things that we must realize as Christians is that we have the power to fight back against any type of demonic oppression. Demons may be strong, but they are no match for a man or woman full of the Holy Spirit and operating in his power. I want to be clear that this power is reserved only for those who are in Christ. As I mentioned before you are marked by the Holy Spirit and demons know this as well. Consider this story from Acts 19.
Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding. –Acts 19:13-16
What I want to point out is how the demons recognized the mark on Paul’s life. If the Spirit of God dwells in you, they will acknowledge that mark in you as well. It is important to understand that the power we have over demonic spirits and forces comes only because of the Holy Spirit living in you. If he is ever removed from the equation, your fate could be very similar to the seven sons of Sceva.
Something to Rejoice About
I want to leave you with a thought. Consider these words from Jesus.
The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” –Luke 10:17-20
While we don’t have to ever worry about being demon-possessed and we have authority over them, that is not anything to boast about or even rejoice about. What we rejoice about is that our names are written in heaven. One day we won’t have to deal with demonic forces anymore and we will be with God in heaven forever.
Until that day comes rejoice. Your names are written in heaven. Simply put, to answer the question “Can a Christian be demon-possessed?”: You are marked and sealed with the Holy Spirit and as a Christian you cannot be demon-possessed. These are things to truly rejoice over.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/ra2studio
Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club. He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. He has also just released his new book The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. Do you want to go deeper in your walk with the Lord but can’t seem to overcome the stuff that keeps getting in the way? This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com.