My Commentary: I have a received a couple of comments/questions on this article so I am adding my own commentary as I probably should have done to begin with. I posted this article as I found the points the author is making to be interesting – that being said I do NOT agree with the premise of this article.
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The author makes it seem to be that a demon can live in the soul (mind, feelings etc) but not the spirit where Christ resides. I don’t buy this for a minute and neither should you. One can play all the word association games they like – definitions aside, demonic possession (though the definition of possession can mean occupy for what that is worth) means that a demon resides within a person – period. I make no separation here between soul and spirit. A person that has accepted the Lord Jesus Christ cannot have a demon within!
2 Corinthians 6:15-16 makes this truth abundantly clear:
And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said , I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
In every instance of Jesus or the Apostles casting out a demon from within a person – that person was NOT a Believer, only after the demon was removed did these people become Believers in Christ. There is not one time in the Bible that a Believer was delivered from a demon. The Holy Spirit shares His home (within us) with no one!
That being said, a Believer in Jesus CAN be very much affected by a demon. Just because we cannot be possessed does not in any way mean we cannot be seriously influenced by the demonic realm. If the demons and Satan were no threat to us as Believers – then we would not need the armor of God, further Paul would not have spent the time and effort he did warning us of where the true fight is, the spiritual realm not the physical.
Believers can be and are led astray by the devil and his hoard. Demonic forces need not possess someone to wreak serious havoc in a person’s life. Way to many are those who believe in Christ but not Satan, this is foolish and dangerous not to mention unbiblical. Our own sins can open the door to Satan and his demonic hoard to influence us, influence and not possess. Possession of a Believer in Christ is not possible.
Countless numbers of people (Believers) have reported being attacked by demonic forces – this is especially true of those working in ministry. The more godly you are, and/or successful and influential in ministry – the more likely you are to be attacked because you are a threat to Satan.
This is not to say that we need to see Satan and the demons behind every bush, that is ridiculous. Yet at the same time the realm of evil does need to be taken seriously. Ever had a thought completely out of character for you and then your reaction was, “where did THAT thought come from?” Good chance it came from the demonic realm. How about actions – “oh my goodness I can’t believe I did that!” Of course some things just happen because we are human and therefore sinful by nature.
It does however behoove us to remember that the ruler of this world IS Satan for a time. Remember when Jesus was tempted by Satan, Satan offered Christ all the kingdoms of the world (Luke 4) if He (Christ) would worship Satan? Ever notice that Jesus did not dispute that the kingdoms of earth were Satan’s and later even acknowledged this (John 14:30) in the Bible?
Bottom line: Take Satan and the demonic realm seriously remembering though that Believers cannot be possessed – but take Christ even more seriously.
Greg – Publisher The Olive Branch Report
Original article follows:
Written by John Eckhardt
There was a time when we taught in our church that Christians could not have demons. I preached long sermons stating that Christians could be oppressed, regressed, digressed, obsessed and suppressed, but never possessed. We believed that a demon could be outside a Christian oppressing him but that it could not be inside him. The reasoning I used to defend this position was that Jesus and the Holy Spirit could not live inside the same body in which demons reside.
The problem was, our experience did not match our theology. When we ministered deliverance, we frequently prayed for people we knew were born-again, Spirit-filled believers–and they manifested demons! We had to face the fact that either our experience was wrong or our doctrine was wrong.
We couldn’t question our experience because we knew what we were seeing. So we began to question our theology.
In our search for truth, we realized that in the Bible, Jesus tells us to cast devils out, not to cast devils off. Obviously, for something to come out, it must be in. We finally came to the conclusion that our interpretation of the Bible had been wrong.
Now I am convinced not only that a Christian can have demons but also that there are demons that operate in the realm of theology, encouraging us to argue and debate endlessly over doctrine rather than meeting the needs of people who are hurting. Demons actually help promote the teaching that a Christian cannot have a demon, because they gain strength from staying hidden. They can operate in their destructive ways without being challenged!
Some may argue that a believer cannot be possessed. But the dismaying fact remains that born-again Christians, including leaders, are experiencing difficulties that can find no solution in natural infirmities or the endless conflict between the flesh and the Spirit.
It’s time to acknowledge that we are dealing with real people who have real problems and that God did not save and commission us so we could argue over doctrine. He called us into ministry so we can help people who are hurting, wounded and bruised.
When you come into contact with someone who is controlled by demons, the answer is to cast the devils out, not to argue about whether or not the person is a Christian. The answer is to bring help to that person.
Possessed or Not Possessed?
I realize I’m not the only believer who has ever had an erroneous idea about Christians being possessed. And the sensationalized picture Hollywood has painted of demon possession has not helped. It has led us to believe that if we say a Christian can be possessed, we are saying he can be fully owned and controlled by the devil and will manifest, Hollywood-style, with head spinning and eyes popping out.
The word “possessed” is an unfortunate translation because it connotes ownership, and we know that the devil cannot own a Christian–that is, have complete control of him. But in the Bible, there is no real distinction between being possessed and being oppressed, digressed, suppressed, obsessed and so forth. All these terms mean that a person is, to some degree, under the influence of a demon.
Personally, I do not have as much of a problem with the word “possessed” as other Christians do. In fact, to me the word “demonized” sounds worse.
When I looked up “possess” in the dictionary, I discovered that one definition of the word is “to occupy.” My contention is that if a demon occupies your big toe, he possesses that part of you. It doesn’t mean he possesses your spirit, soul and body. But if he occupies even a small portion, such as a physical organ in your body–as a spirit of infirmity does–then there is possession to some degree.
I often ask those who are skeptical of demon possession whether or not cancer is demonic. Most will agree that sickness is of the devil.
So then, I continue, is cancer inside the body, or is there something on the outside that’s the problem? If it isn’t on the inside, doctors probably wouldn’t cut people open trying to remove it. Evidently, as a Christian, you can have something in you that is possessing a certain organ of your body and is not of God.
Knowing that a Christian can be possessed (or demonized) in some part of his being raises the question: Is any part off-limits to demons? Here is where we can reconcile the issue of Jesus and the Holy Spirit residing simultaneously within someone who needs deliverance.
One thing that has helped us in our understanding is the realization that every person is made up of three parts: spirit, soul and body. When Jesus comes into a believer’s life, He comes into that person’s spirit. John 3:6 tells us clearly, “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (NKJV). A demon cannot dwell in a Christian’s spirit because that is where Jesus and the Holy Spirit dwell.