Can a Christian be Demon Possessed or just Oppressed?
Can a believer in Christ ever be demon possessed? Does the Bible speak on this issue? I believe that the Bible does speak on this issue and it is clear that a Christian who is indwelt with the Holy Spirit cannot be demon possessed.
There is no case in scripture where a believer is possessed by a demon. A Christian may be oppressed, tempted, Hindered, or influenced by a demon but never possessed and that is a big difference.
Some examples of Satan oppressing, hindering, influencing, or tempting believers:
"For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain."
1 Thessalonians 3:5
"Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us."
1 Thessalonians 2:18
"And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel."
1 Chronicles 21:1
"And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren."
"And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat."
One way to describe the difference between demon possession and oppression is in the following analogies:
Demon possession is like a man driving a car, he has control of that vehicle and he can turn it in any direction that he chooses. Just like that man driving that car the demon has control of that person and he controls their actions at times.
Demon oppression is like a demon standing on the side of the road yelling instructions to that same driver of the car. The driver has complete control of that car but if he listens to the demon giving wrong directions he becomes oppressed by that demon.
Below are scriptures that I use to base my belief that a Chrstian cannot ever be demon possessed:
Colossians 1:12-13 clearly says that we have been delivered from the POWER of darkness:
"Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son."
1 Corinthians 6:19 says that our body is the Temple of the Holy Ghost:
"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?"
1 Corinthians 6:19
1 John 4:4 says "Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." Obviously a demon cannot inhabit the same temple as the Holy Ghost because the demon would have to be stronger than God in order to inhabit the same temple.
"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."
1 John 4:4
Ephesians chapter six clearly states that we can resist the devil:
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 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. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."
In the book of James we have these words of encouragement:
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
With these clear verses of scripture how is it still possible for certain evangelical groups to still believe that a Christian can be possessed by a demon?
They will argue the Holy Spirit dwells in our spirit thus leaving our bodies open to demonic possession. 1 Corinthians 6 refutes this ingenious attempt to "prove" their teaching by any means neccesary by clearly stating "Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you."
"Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? Know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? For two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
1 Corinthians 6:15-20
Some missionaries in pagan regions believe that they have witnessed repossession of Christian "converts." These anecdotal experiences cannot disprove what the above scriptures teach. I submit that these "converts" did not actually accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. What these "converts" had was a "said" faith rather than a real faith. Many people claim to be Christians when they really are not:
"Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
The above "converts" who were repossessed are like the story that Jesus told about a man who tried self-reformation apart from the power of God:
"When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation."
So, how far can Satan or his demons affect a believer in Christ? Well, there are some pretty clear verses in scripture where a professing Christian was turned over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh because of gross sin.
"It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife...To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus."
1 Corinthians 5:1, 5
The Apostle Paul delivered two men over to Satan in his epistle to Timothy:
"Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme."
1 Timothy 1:20
There is a sin unto death for Christians who persist in willful disobedience:
"If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it."
1 John 5:16
In some Christian circles demons are blamed for every sin that a believer commits. If a Christian lusts it is a demon of lust and if a Christian is jealous it is a demon of jealousy, etc., etc.
Christians can indeed be oppressed and tempted by demons but I believe the vast majority of our sins as believers are caused by our own sinful heart and our wicked flesh. In all of these scriptures below concerning sin not a single demon is mentioned as its cause:
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"
"Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."
"For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man."
"Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
"For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do."