Can a Christian Be Demon-Possessed? - Radical

Can a Christian Be Demon-Possessed?

There are numerous opinions on the spiritual warfare movement today, yet do they all align with Scripture? What does Scripture say about Christians being demon-possessed? What do we even mean by possessed? In this message, Pastor David Platt explains the nuances of Christians and demons, as well as the Scriptural basis as to why Christians cannot be possessed.

  1. What Does the Bible Say About a Christian Being Demon-Possessed?
  2. Christians Cannot be Demon-Possessed

Watch Full Message Of “Secret Church 7: Angels, Demons, and Spiritual Warfare

Can a Christian be demon possessed? Most voices in the spiritual warfare movement today would say yes. One author wrote, “A genuine Christian may become possessed, at least to some degree, by a demon.”

Meryl Unger wrote a book called What Demons Can Do to Saints, and he said, “Who dares assert that a demon spirit will not invade the life of a believer in which the Holy Spirit has been grieved by serious and persistent sin and quenched by flagrant disobedience. A demon enters as a squatter and an intruder, and as the believer fails to walk by faith, he falls into sin, which if it’s not confessed and curved, may ultimately result in the forfeiture of the Holy Spirit’s power to shield him from demonic evasion.” The demon can come in.

So what does the word say about this now? Some automatically just quip, well, if my body’s the temple of the Holy Spirit, then obviously the demon could not live there. But that’s really not sufficient because, well, just because the Holy Spirit is there means the demon can’t be there and God is omnipresent with his spirit and the spirit is everywhere, then that would mean demons couldn’t be anywhere. Does that make sense? At 12:00, 9:00. Okay, so the picture is, it’s not quite that easy.

What Does The Bible Say About a Christian Being Demon-Possessed?

So what does the Bible say about demon possession of the Christian? Well, there’s some confusion in terms because demon possession never appears in the Bible. We don’t see that word in the Greek, that word for possession used, attached to demon’s control over someone. So many people have started using the term demonized, being influenced or even overtaken by a demon.

So the question really is, to what degree can a Christian come under the influence of a demonic spirit? And the answer is, based on what we’ve already seen in scripture, the Christian belongs to Christ and is indwelled by the spirit of God. A demon cannot own a Christian. Issue of ownership is settled in your heart, Christian. A demon cannot own a Christian, and a demon cannot control a Christian.

However, clearly Christians can be influenced and or attacked by demons to varying degrees. Obviously, we can be tempted by demons. Luke 4. Obviously, the picture here, Satan shall filled the heart of Ananias that he lied to the Holy Spirit. We talked about 2 Corinthians chapter 12, Saul was tormented by a demon. And Ephesians 4 talks about how the devil can gain a foothold.

Now, this is where some of that flattening and fragmentation happens because sometimes people will take all these different passages, put them next to each other and say, okay, this is where it starts. First, we’re tempted by a demon, and then if we give into that temptation, then we give a foothold to Satan. And then if there’s a foothold to Satan, and that can develop into a stronghold. And then if you have a stronghold, then that can develop into possession. So we’ve gone from Matthew Chapter 4 to Ephesians Chapter 4 to 2 Corinthians Chapter 10 to Mark Chapter 5, and just put them next to each other and said this is how Satan works. It’s very common, but it’s not good understanding of scripture.

Christians Cannot Be Demon-Possessed

The picture is, yes, Satan can tempt, torment, influence Christians in many different ways, but scripture never pictures someone casting a demon out of a Christian. Not once. There is no clear example in the Bible where a demon ever inhabited or controlled a true believer, and it needed to be cast out of them. Never once. Christ in the apostles, the only ones that we even see casting out demons. And in every instance they’re dealing with unbelievers. So can a Christian be possessed by a demon? Absolutely not.

David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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