From time to time teachings circulate through the body of Christ that are neither Scripturally nor historically held. The Apostle Paul calls such unsound teaching “wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14).” Tragically, as these winds blow through the church some people find themselves caught up and blown out!
Recently, there has been interest in the so-called “deliverance ministries” which claim to have cast demons out of Christians. They often report of demons being coughed up and vomited out of believers.
What about these experiences? Let us always be careful never to let experience supersede the Word of God. The Word is the only authority upon which we can build doctrine. Paul said, “but though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:8).”
So what does the Bible say about demon possession in Christians? First of all, we are told, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12).”
These demonic forces seek to hassle our walk with Jesus and hinder our work for Jesus. Sometimes, for no apparent reason, you may find yourself bummed out and feeling down and discouraged. This can be the work of a demonic attack, but a demon cannot enter into or exercise control over the life of any true believer. Let’s see why.
First, you are in Christ Jesus
When you accepted Jesus as your Lord, you were placed into Christ Jesus. Jesus said, “… ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you (John 14:20).”
In that same teaching Jesus went on to say, “… for the prince of this world (Satan) cometh, and hath nothing on Me (John 14:30).”
Satan and demons have nothing in Jesus for Jesus is, “Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named … (Ephesians 1:21).”
Where are we? “And (He) hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6).”
We see that Satan or any of his powers have nothing in Jesus Christ and, therefore, have nothing in us either! Praise the Lord!
Secondly, Christ Jesus is in you.
When you accepted Jesus as Lord, Jesus came into your heart to live in you (see Revelation 3:20).
He is, “… the light of the world . . . (John 8:12)” and Scripture declares that, “… God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).” Darkness and light cannot dwell in the same place at the same time.
Now, those who teach demons can possess Christians often hide behind a semantical smoke screen and say, “Demons possess or invade the body and the mind but not the spirit.” But the Lord dwells in the body as well, as the word clearly states, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you … (1 Corinthians 6:19).” The Lord also dwells in our mind for we are told, “… we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).” There just is no room for darkness when the Lord of light lives in us!
Thirdly, the Bible gives absolutely no example or teaching on demons in Christians
If such a major problem as demon possession in Christians was possible, without a doubt we would see several examples of this in the Gospels and the Book of Acts. We would also have clear teaching on this in the epistles, but it is just not there. The one example some do use as a “proof text” is that of Ananias and Sapphira. A careful study of that text, however, seems to indicate that they were not true believers at all. Even if they were, there was not an “exorcism or deliverance” that took place but rather instant judgment (see Acts 5)!
Also, is it not arresting that nowhere in the epistles is a teaching on demon possession or demon invasion of believers? Would God ignore such an important issue if it were such an important issue?
Then, why do people have such experiences of demons being regurgitated, cast out, or coughed up? I believe that these unscriptural practices come from sincere people who have a tendency to pass the blame for their carnal acts onto the devil. remember Flip Wilson’s famous comedy sketch in which he said, “The devil made me do it?”
It is interesting to me that often the supposed demons identify themselves as the demon of lust, envy, impurity, witchcraft, anger, etc. But Galatians 5:19 specifically lists these activities as being “works of the flesh!” We are told to “… put off the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts (Ephesians 4:22),” and recognize these things to be dead (Romans 6:11). We are never told to, “cast them out.”
I believe we, as Christians, should avoid pitfalls of looking for demons and focusing on Satan; rather, we should keep our focus, teachings, and attention on our Lord Jesus Christ. The way to overcome darkness is to turn on the light. The way to overcome the devil is to resist him, and he will flee from us (James 4:7). We resist him by keeping close to our Lord (James 4:7), for “greater is He (Jesus) that is in you than he (Satan) that is in the world (1 John 4:4).”