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
- 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 by 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,
“Some refuse to entertain the possibility that born-again Christians can be demon possessed, but we need to move beyond asking if Christians can be demon possessed. Most scholars agree that since possession means ownership, the children of God who have been bought with the prize cannot be owned by an evil one. And so, the term demon-possessed is an example of poor translation. The biblical word for demon possessed is daimonizomenis, it comes from the Greek word daimonizomai, which is better translated as demonized. The passages using daimonizomai are Matthew 4:24, Matthew 8:16, Matthew 8:33, Mark 1:32, Mark 5:15, and Luke 8:36. In his book, Demon Possession and the Christian: A New Perspective, Dixon states that the term demonization conveys a demon caused passivity or control to some degree by inhabiting demons, not possession as in ownership. Along the same lines, Merrill F. Unger, in What Demons Do to Saints, describes demonization as a control of a person by one or more demons. Another Greek word used to convey demon harassment is an echo, meaning ‘to hold or to have.’ Which, combined with the Greek word for spirit, creates the phrase ‘having the spirit of an unclean demon’ in Luke 4:33.”
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.”
It’s notable how Peter did not say Jesus went around healing the 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 a demon-possessed message. However, Peter did not say Jesus freed the demon-possessed, he said that Jesus went around healing people from demonic oppression.
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.
Gospel to the poor, He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, 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.
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.
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, and 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!