Can Christians Demonized Be?
Can an evil spirit and the Holy Spirit occupy the same space in a human life?
I. Consider God's provision and Promise:
A. John 10: 27 – 30
Jesus is asked to give proof of who He is. His response is that He has given proof
through the miracles but that the Jews did not believe.
* My sheep listen to my voice
* I know them. They follow me
* I give them eternal life, they shall never perish
* No one can snatch them out of my hand
* My Father has given them to me
* My Father is greater than all
* No one can snatch them out of My Father's hand
* I and the Father are one.
B. Romans 8: 9 - 11
We are controlled by the Spirit if the Spirit of God lives in us. If we do not have
the Spirit we do not belong to Christ.
* Or bodies are dead, our spirits are alive because of the gift of righteousness
* The same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead will give life to our bodies
C. Romans 8: 12 - 14
We are obligated ( bound by moral duty, by our debt of gratitude) to live according to the Spirit and not according to the sinful nature
* Those led by the sinful nature will die
* Those led by the Spirit are sons of God
D. Romans 8: 28 - 39
God planned our salvation, God does the work of our salvation, God guarantees that our salvation is completed!
* God foreknew and predestined me to be conformed to the likeness of His Son.
* Who can come against me? (Who can change God's plan for me?)
* No one can charge me with anything ... God has justified me.
* No one can condemn me ... Jesus is interceding for me.
* No one can separate me from the love of Christ.
* No one can separate me from the love of God.
E. I John 3: 4 - 6
Sin is lawlessness, that is, sin is breaking the law, and Jesus came to take away our lawless deeds
* No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning!
* No one who continues to sin has either known Him or seen Him
F. I John 3: 8, 9
He who does what is sinful is of the devil
* No one born of God will continue to sin ... God's seed is in him!
* He cannot go on sinning!
G. I John 3: 24
How do we know that He lives in us?
* By the Spirit He gave us.
H. I John 4: 4
We have overcome the spirit of the anti-christ
* The One in us is greater than the one in the world
I. I John 5: 18
Anyone born of God does not continue to sin.
* The One who was born of God (i.e., Jesus) keeps us safe
* The evil one cannot harm us
J. Collisions 1: 13
God has rescued us from the dominion (i.e., authority) of darkness (evil).
* He has brought us into the authority of the Son
K. Conclusion: Do the Scriptures lie to us? No!
* We can't be snatched out of the hand of God, * we can't be separated from the
love of God by demons or Satan(a fallen angel),
* We are predestined to be conformed to Christ's likeness, * no one can change
God's plan, * if we live in Christ or are born of God we can't keep on sinning or continue sinning, * we have been given the Spirit of God by God himself * and that Spirit in us is greater than the one in the world, * we have been rescued from the authority of Satan and brought into the authority of Jesus.
II. The scriptural view of evil:
A. The scriptures show us two types of evil, the sin we do (moral sin ) and
the consequences of our sinning (suffering)
1. Moral evil has to do with our obedience or our disobedience to God.
* Satan provokes and arouses the sin we do (morally)
* The scriptures do not show demons that corrupt us morally.
2. The consequences of sin or suffering is used by both God and Satan.
* Satan uses it to harm us and bring death
* The scriptures show demons who hurt and abuse us
B. Jesus cast out demons to get rid of suffering; treating them like part of
the curse brought on by Adam's sin.
Luke 13: 10 - 17
"... a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, 'Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.'...immediately she straightened up ...'the Lord answered him, ' Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years..."
1. His approach to them is the same as with others who needed relief
from their suffering:
John 9: 1 - 7
"As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ' Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?' 'Neither this man nor his parents sinned,' said Jesus, 'but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life...Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man's eyes....So the man went and washed, and came home seeing."
Compare the attitude of the Pharisees John 9: 24 -34
".....To this they replied, ' You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!' And they through him out."
2. Notice the paralytics:
Mark 2: 5
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son your sins are forgiven."
John 5: 14
"Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, "See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you."
a. He forgives their sin
b. They were victims of the sin in the world
c. The demon possessed are treated in them same way as those
suffering from the consequences of sin
C. Conclusion: Demon possession and moral sin are "never” linked
together in the New Testament.
III. Demon possession defined:
A. The Analytical Greek Lexicon, Harold K. Moulton
* daimonizomai - to be possessed, afflicted, vexed(troubled, irritated, annoyed) by a demon (e.g. daimonion exein)
B. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early
Christian Literature, Walter Bauers:
* daimonizomai - be possessed by a demon
* daimonion exein - be possessed by a demon
* distemper - a deranged , a disordered condition of mind and body
D. Baker's Dictionary of Theology, E. F. Harrison
* afflict men with mental, moral, and bodily disordered conditions
(Mk 1: 21)
* enter men and control them (Mk 5: 1 -21)
* instigate "doctrines of demons" (I Tim 4:1)
* have power in satanic government (Eph 6; 12 cf Dan 10:13)
* stimulate idolatry, immorality and human wickedness
(I Cor 10: 20; Rev 9: 20,21)
* inspire false teachers (I John 4:1, 2 )
N.T. Anderson says in his book that Christians cannot be possessed. But that demon possession should actually be called "demonized." To be demonized is to be under the full control of a demon but not possessed. Demonization can take place at different levels up to the point where the person is fully controlled by the demon. Therefore Christians can experience demonization at various levels.
But this raises certain questions, Can the will of man be controlled? Can a demon make a Christian sin? If a Christian who is under the control of a demon dies does he go to heaven or hell? Can an evil spirit and the Holy Spirit occupy the same place at the same time? And more.
This control is supposedly seen in habitual sin, irrational feelings and negative thoughts. If it is true that sin opens the door to demonic control than wouldn't even our daily sins open the door? What about our so called nice sins, that is those sins that we yield to daily?
* judging, gossip, resentment, impatience, irritability
* self-centeredness, selfish ambition, love for position, power & praise
* lack of humility, kindness, patience...
Many of us carry these sins on a regular basis. Shouldn't we all be under satanic control?
Control - the act or power of controlling, commanding, dominating, governing, ruling, mastering, subduing
Influence - 1) the power to produce effects on others by unseen or indirect means; 2) the power to persuade or obtain advantages
IV. Scriptures that prove Christian demonization according to
Proof #1: Luke 13: 10 - 18
* the woman has a disability for 18 years caused by satanic bondage
* the woman was a god-fearing woman of faith in the
synagogue, a "daughter of Abraham "
* yet she is not protected from the demonic control
* even though this happened before the cross it indicates that believers are subject to demon control
Mt. 12; 28
"But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you."
Mark 1: 15
"The time has come," he said, The Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"
* Jesus came proclaiming the Kingdom of God, announcing that it had arrived in Him. He proved it by the works He did, the life He lived. As of yet the Spirit of God had not been given and many in Israel had yet to be born again. They believed in God but they did not have the Spirit of God living in them nor were their spirits alive to God.
> Jn 3: 3 Nicodemus had to be born again
> Jn 20: 22 Jesus, before His ascension, breaths on the disciples and tells them to receive the Holy Spirit.
* The woman may well have been a believer, although you can't prove it by this scripture, but the Kingdom of God was at hand and would not be ushered in until the cross. Therefore the woman was vulnerable to satanic attack since God's Spirit had not been poured out yet and believers had to be born again.
> this far from indicates that Spirit-filled born again
believers are capable of being controlled by satanic beings
Ø the attack was not a moral attack but a physical one
having to do with suffering.
Proof #2: Luke 22: 31 - 34
*Peter temporarily loses control to Satan
* Satan has asked to test Simon's faith not control him;
see vs 32 and remember Job
"But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."
* Satan's way was to influence his mind and not control his actions
* moral evil (sin) and demon control are not linked
Proof # 3: Ephesians 6: 10 - 17
* The armor is to prevent Satan's arrows from penetrating our bodies
* If arrows cannot harm us than there is no need for armor.
* These instructions suggest the possibility for the enemy to penetrate our lives and gain a measure of control.
* Satan's arrows may penetrate but that does not necessarily mean control
* See vs 11:
" Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the
That is his plots, plans, and projects.
* The armor is there to help us against attempts to turn our hearts from God, through:
1) living our lives in truth
2) having our hearts set on righteousness
3) being ready to maintain unity and peace
4) trusting and believing in God
5) remembering our great salvation
6) holding fast to God's Word (i.e. depending on it)
7) while praying in the Spirit
Ephesians 6: 16
"In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one."
* Notice that it is our complete surrender and submission to God that
extinguishes the arrows of the enemy:
> When we surrender our faith we open up ourselves to demonic influence. But if we hold on to it , he cannot come in .
* Notice also our only weapons are the Word of God (the sword of the
Spirit) and praying in the Spirit
> the Spirit helps us in our weakness (see Rm 8:26)
> the Spirit is greater than the one in the world(I Jn 4: 4)
> the Spirit keeps the evil one from harming us
(I Jn 5:18)
· These passages instruct us to stand against the enemies attempts to influence us to turn our hearts from God and not about the enemy gaining control.
Proof # 4: James 3: 14 -16
· Indicates that giving in to jealousy and selfish ambition opens the way to be controlled by demonic wisdom
* This passage does not indicate control but where your influence comes from, and what would happen if you allow yourself to harbor demonic wisdom, i.e. it leads to disorder and evil practice.
* See vss 17, 18 - James is contrasting heavenly wisdom with earthly, unspiritual and demonic wisdom:
> to harbor envy and selfish ambition
> to sow in peace
* This is a decision of the will. James is giving us both sides of a choice we
must make, either to harbor or to rid yourself.
* We can be influenced "strongly" but we cannot be "made" to do it
Proof # 5: I Timothy 4:1 - 3
* Satan must be working on the inside if he can deceive your mind
> the evidence of control is the unbiblical practices in their eating habits and marriages
* The use of apostesontai in vs 1:
> N.A.S.B. translates it "falling away"
> N.I.V. translates it "will abandon"
> K.J.V. translates it "shall depart from"
* According to "The Analytical Greek Lexicon," Moulton, this word comes from the word afistemi and is in the future indicative, middle voice. Meaning:
Ø It carries the sense of a sure participation in this definite act of falling away departing, going away from or making defection in the future(i.e. apostatize)
* The context does not support the idea of being controlled by demons from the inside:
> notice they make a decision to abandon or depart (even to fall away in the sense of apostatize) the faith
> This influence does not come from within but from outside in the form of hypocritical liars whose own consciences have been seared or branded
> they choose to follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons which include their eating habits and marital practices
Proof # 6: I Corinthians 5: 1 - 13
* This man is so deluded, ensnared, fooled by Satan and controlled by immorality that he flaunts it before the church
* The man may be fooled or deluded into thinking that he is trapped in immorality, but he is not controlled by any outside influence because even Paul believes he can repent.
* Paul has to deal with many problem in the Corinthian church and he has confronted them about sexual immorality before
> there were divisions in the church, immaturity, legal matters, and false teachings. All of which point to a boastful, prideful, self-centered church that was distorting the grace God had given them.
> this man was a part of that mind set
Proof # 7: Ephesians 4: 26, 27
* We may allow the devil a place in our lives if we fail to speak the truth in love (i.e. speak truthfully, honestly , openly) and manage our emotions
> anger that turns to bitterness and unforgiveness is an open invitation to demonic control
* The context shows that the "Place" here is not in our personal lives but within the body of believers who are members of one another.
> Paul is speaking corparately here and dealing with divisions among Christians
> We maintain the unity of the Spirit, by not lying about ourselves and being open about who we are.
* The reference here is of anger which opens the door for the devil to have a "place" where he can bring division in the body and not to control of our minds or deeds
> dealing with our anger A.S.A.P. and not sinning helps to maintain the unity of the Spirit.
Proof # 8: I Peter 5: 6 - 9
* The word "devour" means to consume or to swallow up. to be swallowed up certainly gets across the idea of being controlled by Satan.
> Peter would not need to alert us if it were not possible.
* To say that the idea here is certainly that of being controlled by Satan is ignoring the context in order to establish the preconceived idea that Satan can control Christians
Ø according to "The Analytical Greek Lexicon," Moulton: the word katapiein can mean "devour" or "swallow up greedily."
> The dictionary gives us two definitions:
1) to eat up hungrily and
2) to consume destructively; to demolish
> In light of the context of this letter where Peter is exhorting his readers to remain faithful in the face of unjust suffering and persecution, it seems that the idea being conveyed here is more "total destruction" than certain control.
* In our modern slang we might say what Peter is expressing with, "He's looking to take you out!"
Proof # 9: Acts 5: 1 - 11
* The issue here is that Ananias and Sapphira lie about the amount of proceeds they had saying they had given all they had.
* Ananias and Sapphira are believers
* The severity of the punishment showed that God was emphasizing the importance of truth in the community.
> God was revealing that our major problem was giving in to Satan's deception
> "eplerosev" filling Ananias' heart is equal to controlling his heart.
Ø eplerosen comes from the word pleroo : to fill with an /influence, to influence fully, possess fully
* According to " A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other early Christian Literature, Walter Baur, it is true that pleroo means "make full, fill (of things), fill someone's heart, i.e. take full possession of it."
* The issue here is not that Ananias and Sapphira did not tell the truth in the community, but that they plotted out to lie to the Holy Spirit (Blasphemy)
> they were turned against the Holy Spirit, i.e. God
> another place where this happened is with Judas Iscariot who was never fully surrendered to the Lord
* We have to look at the context and ask the question, "Why did the Holy Spirit inspire Luke to place this story here?
> In chapter four we learn that all the believers are in one heart and one mind. No one was claiming possessions as their own, they shared everything.
> Also that the grace of God was continually on the people so that there were no needy among them.
> people were even willing to sell their property and share the money with those in need.
> Then enters Ananias and Sapphira who, knowing all that God was doing, plot to lie to the church
> they keep the part of the money and give the rest as if it was all they had
> Peter ask how Satan could fill their hearts so much that they would lie to the Holy Spirit.
> they chose to lie to God and the Lord judges them right on the spot and they drop dead.
* We get a clue as to why this punishment was so severe when we compare it with other punishments like it :
> Lev. 10: 1 - 3 Nadab and Abihu took their censors and put fire in them and offered "unauthorized fire" before the Lord contrary to His command.
< fire from out of the presence of the Lord consumes them and they die
< God said, "I will show myself to be Holy..... and I will be honored."
Ø Joshua 7 Achan took some of the devoted things and kept them for himself, he violates the covenant, he stills, he lies and he makes Israel susceptible or subject to destruction (gave a foothold).
< God says, "I will not be with you... unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction"
< All Israel stones him and all his household
> II Samuel 6: 1 - 7 Uzzah irreverently reached out to take hold of the Arch when the oxen had stumbled and was struck dead.
* It seems that in all these cases God's concern is to show Himself "Holy," worthy of honor and respect. He is not a god that you can take lightly, i.e. a god made by the hands of man or in the minds of man. But He is God Almighty the one true Sovereign God who deserves all fear, all respect, all worship, all honor and all glory.
* In this passage the Holy Spirit is trying to show us that He will be honored and that He is Holy
> Ananias and Sapphira were treating the Spirit with
contempt, disrespect, defiance, mockery and ridicule when
they chose to lie to the church.
* The lesson here is not that God will not tolerate lies but that He is a Holy Sovereign God who demands that he be treated and respected as such.
* Acts is a history book. The passage is not intended to teach us systematic doctrine. It simply tells us how it happened .
* This passage is not meant to be a commentary on demon possession. It is not dealing with the problem of Ananias being "filled" with Satanic deception. Peter could just as easily, and the context bears this out, have meant, "fully influence you." So that Ananias is not being controlled by Satan but strongly motivated to lie.
* Acts 4: 32 - 37 Dr. Luke uses this passage to introduce us to Barnabas who proved to be a faithful leader in the church. It is not hard to see the possibility that the Holy Spirit uses this time to make a comparison between a sold-out, faithful servant of God and a person who professes the name of Jesus but whose heart is far from Him.
Proof # 10: Acts 5: 11
* The question arises about the state of Ananias and Sapphira, whether or not they are Christians. This passage is used to prove that they were Christians under the control of Satan, the phrase ".... fear came upon the whole church..." is quoted.
> the argument says, "If God is judging someone outside the church why would fear come on those inside the church?" Therefore they had to be Christians.
> but the passage fully quoted reads: "Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events."
> the argument can now be reversed, "If God is judging someone inside the church why would fear come on those outside the church," and then conclude that they had been unsaved.
> Therefore, the question of whether or not they are saved is irrelevant because the real issue is how they acted toward God. Did they treat Him, through His church, with all the honor and respect due a Holy, Sovereign God or did they treat Him with contempt?
* Finally this does not show that Satan had any control over them.
We live in a world where "responsibility" is being taken away from the individual. Smoking, drunkenness, sexual immorality, drug addiction, physical abuse and more are all because of sickness. This is man's way of dealing with the problem of sin. No longer is man responsible for his actions if it is caused by something else.
It is my opinion that the idea of habitual sin being under the control of demons is an attempt to do the same thing. If our sin is not our responsibility but the cause of "satanic control" than we are not accountable for it.
We all know that Satan and his demons can influence and even possess a person who has opened himself up to them and given them a place. But I strongly disagree with the idea that Satan can control a person's will who has not allowed him access or that he can control a person with the Spirit of God living in them. No one will ever be able to stand before God and say, "The devil made me do it!"
As I have just recently discovered even some modern sciences believe that how we live our lives is determined by our gene and biological make up along with all the things we encounter in our life both personally and socially. But all these factors are combined with our repeatedly reinforced choices(See, "Homosexuality And The Politics Of Truth", Jefferey Satinover,M.D.). The factors determine our make up and potential but our choices determine our actions. Our actions determine our destiny.
I believe that it is the responsibility of pastors, teachers and leaders in the church to make sure that all believers are equipped for service. This includes knowing their authority in Christ and making sure they are aware of their need to discern the spiritual war around them to influence their thoughts and emotions.
It is sad that many Christians fall under the influence of Satan and believe that they are in bondage. But they must understand that it is by their disobedience(i.e. their choice) that they do what they do and not because of some one else's will, control or power.
People sin (habitually) and are defeated daily because they disobey. Usually the attitude of these habitual sinners is more concern for themselves than God. That is, they are more angered about their failure rather than that they offended a Holy God.
The "Good News" is that God has made provision for our habitual sin. It is His grace, His gift of righteousness. We are not alone and if we take the steps towards repentance and OBEDIENCE God, through His Spirit, will empower us with the gift of righteousness. So that we can accomplish His will.