Many of you know that I believe Christians should not have demons. However, the more I have both studied and done deliverance, I realize that although believers shouldn’t have them it doesn’t remove the possibility that Christians can still have demons.
I have released a lot of content about the topic of deliverance, but I want to dive into the common arguments and Scriptures surrounding the belief that if you are a Christian, you cannot have a demon.
The Most Common Arguments
1. Having demons means you are “possessed.“
The word demon-possessed is mentioned about 13 times in the New Testament, exclusively in the gospels: 7 times in the gospel of Matthew, 4 times in the gospel of Mark, and once in the gospel of Luke, as well as in the gospel of John.
The issue stems from the word “possession.” The Greek word for demon possession, as it’s translated in our Bible, is daimonizomai; it means to be under the power of a demon. Another definition of daimonizomai is to be exercised by a demon, vexed with, or to be possessed with devils. Pay attention to the fact that daimonizomai does not carry the meaning of ownership. The proper translation for the word daimonizomai is to be demonized, not demon-possessed.
Demonization denotes being under partial control of a demon or being harassed, not being under full ownership of a demon.
During demonization, a person is under partial control of a demon in a particular area of their life. The person will usually struggle to overcome certain areas of their life. They will often experience harassment, fear, intimidation, or lust just to name a few. When a person is demonized, they must seek deliverance because they are no longer just fighting against their flesh, which can be overcome by discipline, but now they must deal with the demon that is present.
Possession vs Oppression
Christianity Today published an article on September 3, 2001, titled Possessed or Obsessed. On page 62 it reads,
It’s also interesting that 13 words for demon possession in the New Testament gospels are summarized by apostle Peter later on in Cornelius’ house as oppression.
“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”Acts 10:38
It’s notable how Peter did not say Jesus went around healing demon-possessed, in Acts 10:38; instead, he says Jesus went around healing the demon oppressed, oppressed by the devil. The word oppression is used twice in the New Testament. “Oppress” means to exercise power over, to exercise harsh control over one, and to use one’s power against one.
To summarize, the word daimonizomai, as it is used in the gospels, simply means to be under the control of, be exercised by a demon, or be in possession of a demon. It has been poorly translated as demon-possessed. However, Peter did not say Jesus freed the demon-possessed, he said that Jesus went around healing people from demonic oppression.
2. Having the Holy Spirit prevents Christians from having demons.
We are bought by the blood of Jesus, and we belong to Christ so we are able to yield to the Holy Spirit, but we can also yield to ungodly spirits out of deception and rebellion.
Many believe that the Holy Spirit provides automatic protection against demonic infiltration.
“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be!”1 Corinthians 6:15
Paul doesn’t say that since you are members of Jesus’ body, He won’t let you sleep with a prostitute. He says, “don’t make members,” which means that we still have control over what we do with our bodies, souls, and minds. Therefore, it’s possible for someone to engage with a prostitute, even though their body is a member of Jesus.
“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”1 Corinthians 6:19-20
These verses are not dealing with demonization. I have heard many preachers use 1 Cor. 6:19-20 to say that since the Holy Spirit has your body as His temple, demons cannot live in your body. Have you noticed that the Bible says, “the Holy Spirit lives in you,” not in your body? You are a spirit, and the Holy Spirit lives in you, but not in your body.
In your body, you can have sickness and even commit sins. As a matter of fact, Paul tells Christians to not sin sexually. According to this argument, if you are owned by the Holy Spirit and He lives inside your body, wouldn’t the Holy Spirit keep you from committing any kind of sexual sin? But the truth is that He does not stop us from sinning with our bodies. He convicts us, but He doesn’t control us as believers. Christians can choose to look at pornography, use their hands to masturbate, or have sexual intercourse outside of the covenant of marriage. The Holy Spirit does not control people.
Therefore, this verse can’t be used to say that since the Holy Spirit lives in your body you are not capable of committing hideous sins.
1 Cor. 6:19-20 deals with sexual sin, not with demons, so its purpose is to motivate us not to commit such sins. We can use the same application to say that Christians should not have demons, but Christians can have demons if they choose to yield their body as an instrument of wickedness, sin, and immorality.
Christians can have demons if they choose to open the doors to sin.
You were bought with a price so honor God with your body. Scripture doesn’t say that God will keep demons away from you because you were bought with a price. No! Scripture instructs us to purify our bodies, meaning that we must choose to submit to God and present ourselves as a living sacrifice. The Holy Spirit never controls a Christian because He gives us self-control.
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”1 Corinthians 3:16-17
If the temple of the Holy Spirit can be destroyed, then it can also be defiled and exposed to demonic infiltration. That would grieve the Holy Spirit deeply, but He cannot stop you–you have the freedom to choose.
3. If you belong to God, you cannot have a demon.
Some hold the idea that if you are defiled or defeated, you automatically stop belonging to God. People often hold onto doctrine that has no substance in scripture, like the idea that if you are defeated or defiled, then you stop belonging to God. However, there is not one verse in Scripture that reflects the belief that if you have a demon, then you must not have God.
Paul uses the temple as a metaphor for our body, and I want to use the example of the temple as well. The Bible says that Jesus goes into the temple, located in the court of the gentiles, and finds it being used as a market/business center. Angrily, Jesus drives out the merchants from within the temple and cleanses it from improper use.
“So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ”Mark 11:15,17
Interestingly enough, the same word “drive out”, is used twice in different circumstances; one, when Jesus drove out the merchants, and another, when Jesus drove out demons.
During deliverance, the same thing is happening. Jesus goes into His temple to cleanse it, and he drives things out that don’t belong there. The point here is that although the merchants operated in the temple, they did not own the temple. Jesus said the temple was His house. Even though it was defiled, it did not change its definition; by definition, it was still God’s house.
In the same manner, when a Christian tolerates demonic influence and justifies it in order to not seek help or deliverance, Jesus says you have turned your House of prayer into a den of thieves, but it’s still God’s house. Demons don’t own the places they are operating in. Many times, demons will operate in the life of a Christian, but that does not mean they own them. We are a royal priesthood, a chosen generation, we are God’s people.
If we belong to God, it does not mean that other things cannot operate in us as a result of our negligence, our ignorance, or our choice to engage in sins.
It should be noted that God called Israel His people, even though they were in Egypt. They were not Egypt’s people even if they were in bondage by Egypt.
“And the LORD said: ‘I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows’”Exodus 3:7
It is possible for a believer to be in bondage as John 8 shows. When Jesus told people who had believed in Him to abide in His words and let His words make them free, they responded that they had never been in bondage to anyone. That is the deception caused by bondage, it often makes the person feel as though things are okay, even if things are falling apart all around them.
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?”John 8:31-33
4. The Holy Spirit and demons cannot occupy the same place.
The verses used to uphold this view are based on 2 Corinthians 6.
Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk along them; and I will be their God, and they shall be y people” ‘therefore, come out from their midst and be seperate,’ says the lord. ‘And do not touch what is unclean’; And I will welcome you.”2 Corinthians 6:14-17
The context of this deals with believers dating non-believers, it has nothing to do with deliverance. For the sake of the argument, let us picture that 2 Corinthians 6:14-17 is referring to deliverance. People conclude that light and darkness cannot coexist based on these verses. However, that is not what this verse means. This portion states that light and darkness do not have communion, it does not indicate that righteousness and lawlessness do not coexist, it’s referring to fellowship. In the following verses, Paul even mentions that as a believer, one should not have communion or a deep relationship with an unbeliever.
Consider this, do you coexist with unbelievers?
Some people have unbelieving spouses, others have unbelieving children, and many have unbelieving coworkers, yet we still coexist with them. This verse is not talking about coexistence.
Does God coexist with the devil? Yes, He is present everywhere while the devil is present at another location.
Can the Holy Spirit coexist with the flesh? Yes, He is doing so right now.
This portion of Scripture is not referring to a coexistence, it’s dealing with communion. The Holy Spirit doesn’t have communion with demons, and He doesn’t have a covenant with demonic spirits. He can, however, coexist with demons in the same way He can coexist with your flesh.
The big difference is that you are able to get rid of the demons living within you. When they stop operating in you, they still exist, but they can no longer harass you. Having the Holy Spirit does not mean that demons cannot influence you, just like it does not mean that the flesh cannot influence you.
5. Demons can’t enter Christians because they are secured.
This is the argument made, stating that demons can’t enter Christians because they are sealed by the Holy Spirit, and such Christians don’t have the ability to expose themselves to the demonic or be demonized. But Ephesians 4:27 clearly instructs “nor give place to the devil”, another version states, “an opportunity.” The word place is mentioned as “a place” 80 times, as “the room” 5 times, as “a living-quarter” 2 times, and as a “where” 1 time.
We see that “a place” is mentioned 80 times! Do not give place, where? Where do anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, and malice live? They live in our hearts and go into our emotions; that is where we can give them a place. It is possible for a Christian to give place to demons; that is how demons operate, they have access through open doors.
“But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land?”Acts 5:3
After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus *said to him, “What you do, do quickly.”John 13:27
Demons cannot own Christians, but they seem to be able to fill Christians. You may argue that neither Ananias nor Judas were born again, but we do not know for sure. The Bible clearly calls Judas an apostle.
“For he was counted among us and received his share in this ministry.”Acts 1:17
Judas had a position, and he had the anointing and power. And even still, the enemy was able to plant evil thoughts in him. Judas was not born possessed, meaning the devil did not reside in Judas from the beginning. Judas entertained the thought put there by Satan, worked it into a plan, and then the devil entered him.
Satan still works that way; he attacks our minds, and if we don’t fight or resist those thoughts, then we yield to our flesh by conjuring up plans and opening a door. The Word is clear when it comes to giving an opportunity, a place, or opening a door to the enemy, do not do it!
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7
6. Demons are removed when one meets Jesus.
This view is supported by the fact that people in the world have demons. And I agree, that there are verses that confirm this statement.
…In which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.Ephesians 2:2
However, I think it’s worth mentioning that when Jesus arrived, demons manifested, but they did not leave upon meeting Him. It wasn’t until Jesus cast them out, that they left. Therefore, the idea that if you meet Jesus, demons will automatically leave, is not scriptural.
You will not find one verse in the Bible where demons left when they encounter Jesus. You will, on the other hand, find verses where demons left because they were commanded out. In fact, if you read Matthew 8:16; 9:33; 10:1,8; 12:28; Mark 1:34,39; 3:15; 6:13; 16:9,17; Luke 13:32, you’ll see that Jesus casted out demons every time.
When Jesus was present, demons didn’t leave automatically; and, if that never happened while Jesus was on this earth, what makes you think it happens now? Why didn’t Jesus tell his disciples to preach the Gospel and demons would just leave? That is not what happens. I’d also light to point out that Jesus did not cast demons off of people; we can see from these examples that He cast them out of people.
Just then there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, saying, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!” And Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” Throwing him into convulsions, the unclean spirit cried out with a loud voice and came out of him. They were all amazed, so that they debated among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.”Mark 1:23-27
“But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”Matthew 12:28
Notice that Jesus does not say the demons leave when He shows up, but He says, “I cast out”. This belief, if held, can cause a lot of harm to new believers. By holding this belief, and teaching others it, you are telling people they only have to come to the altar, give their life to Jesus, be born again, and all their problems, demons, and curses will disappear. That makes it seem like from that moment on, they will live in paradise. It’s true that you are a new creation, and your name is written in the book of life, but demons are not gone because you are saved, demons only leave when they’re driven out.
7. Jesus only cast demons out of the evil and unredeemed.
Who got delivered out of Egypt? The Egyptians or Israelites?
God delivered His people, not their people. To limit Jesus’ ministry only to outsiders is using the prophecy of Isaiah and applying one part of it to the gentiles and the rest of his prophecy only for the Jews.
And He came to Nazareth…He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor, He has sent me to proclaime release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are opressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” And He closed the book…And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”Luke 4:16-21
Jesus’ ministry was not limited to the outsiders, it was also for the insiders. I don’t see one instance where Jesus, before doing deliverance, asked people if they believed in God; Jesus just delivered them. I don’t see one instance where Jesus tells his disciples to go, preach the gospel, and cast out demons, but remember to only cast demons out of the evil and unredeemed. In the Bible, we do not see a distinction being made between believers and unbelievers before helping the poor, ministering love, or praying for healing. The same thing can be applied to the ministry of deliverance.
It should be pointed out that Jesus did not force deliverance on anyone. The two demon-possessed men ran to Jesus and bowed before Him; the gentile woman came on behalf of her daughter; the father brought his epileptic boy. They each approached Jesus on their own. Jesus did not go around casting demons out of anyone who had them, He only cast them out of people who wanted them out. He never told Judas to get rid of his demons, and Peter never forced deliverance on Ananias. Why?
Because you don’t get demons on accident and you don’t get them out by force, you can’t have somebody just get them out on your behalf, you have to want them out.
If you are friends with your demons, Jesus will never cast them out.
Others may argue that there is not one instance in the book of Acts or in Paul’s writings that mention Christians casting demons out of other Christians. That is true, but that is the argument of silence, and you cannot build a doctrine on the argument of silence. We also don’t see the word trinity mentioned in the Bible, but the concept is and will remain one of the core doctrines of our beliefs.
The letters of Paul did not address demonology, among other issues because the issues that were prevalent in those days were different.
People may even suggest that Jesus cast out demons only to establish his Kingdom, and now that issue does not apply to everybody. Let me ask then:
What about His teaching on the new birth, was it limited to Nicodemus, or does it apply to us today?
Was the sermon on the mount only for His hearers or is it still applied to us?
Should we just rip the whole New Testament to shreds?
Or we can simply believe Jesus when he said, “The works I do, you will do greater works.”
I understand that the early church did not leave us a manual explaining the process by which to get demons out of people. The process is quite simple; it is done by the power of the Holy Spirit, in Jesus’ name, by commanding the demons out. It would be amazing if Christians could not have demons, but they can.
However, Jesus wants to set you free. How? There are many ways: He can use His word, it can happen at a Bible study, or during a sermon, but keep in mind that Jesus’ method was the casting out of demons.
As Christians, we should follow His example in dealing with demons. Remember, that it’s our flesh we crucify, and the demons we expel. If you have demons, there is hope and freedom for you in Jesus’ mighty name!
I pray this was a blessing. Please share this blog and let me know what you think!