Demons are fallen angels, indicated in Revelation 12:9. The Bible symbolically describes Satan’s fall from heaven in Isaiah 14:12-15 and Ezekiel 28:12-15. When Satan fell, he took some of the angels with him, one-third to be exact. Some demons are already locked in darkness and bound with chains for their sins. However, others are free to roam and are referred to as the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. The demons still follow Satan as their leader and battle with the holy angels in an attempt to thwart God’s plan and hinder God’s people. There have been stories of demons possessing someone’s body, but can demons possess a Christian?
What is demonic possession?
Demons, as spirit beings, can take possession of a physical body. Demonic possession happens when a fiend completely controls a person’s body. Demonic possessions can’t happen to a child of God since the Holy Spirit resides in the heart of a believer in Christ. During his earthly ministry, Jesus encountered many demons. Of course, none of them was a match for the power of Christ. Jesus’ authority over the demons was one of the proofs that He indeed was the son of God. The monsters who encountered Jesus knew who He was and feared Him. The demons knew their end would be one of torment.
Satan and his demons now look to destroy the work of God and deceive anyone they can. Matthew 10:1 describes the monsters are as evil spirits, unclean spirits, and angels of Satan. Satan and his demons deceive the world, declare false doctrine, attack Christians and combat the holy angels. The demons, or fallen angels, are enemies of God, but they’re defeated, enemies. Christ has disarmed the power and authorities, and He made a spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. As believers submit to God and resist the devil, they have nothing to fear, as described in 1 John 4:4.
Demonic possession in the Bible.
The Bible gives some examples of people possessed or influenced by demons. There are some symptoms of demonic influence from these examples, and we can gain insight into how a monster possesses someone. These examples are in Matthew 9:32-33, Mark 5:1-20, and Luke 4:33-36. In some of these passages, the demon possession causes physical ailments like inability to speak, epileptic symptoms, blindness, and other symptoms. In other cases, it causes the person to do evil, Judas being the primary example.
In Acts 16:16-18, the spirit gives a slave girl some ability to know things beyond her understanding. The demon-possessed man of Gadarenes, possessed by many demons, had superhuman strength and lived naked among the tombstones. After rebelling against the Lord, King Saul was troubled by an evil spirit with the apparent effect of a depressed mood and an increased desire to kill David. Thus, there are many possible symptoms of demon possession, like physical impairment that can’t be attributed to an actual physiological problem, a personality change, supernatural strength, and anti-social behavior.
It’s important to note that almost all characteristics may have other explanations, so it’s important not to label every epileptic or depressed person as demon-possessed. In addition to this physical or emotional distinction, one can also look at spiritual attributes that show demonic influence. These may include the refusal to forgive and the belief in and spread of false doctrine, especially concerning Jesus and His atoning work. Concerning the involvement of demons in the lives of Christians, the apostle Peter is an illustration of the fact that the devil can influence a believer.
Some refer to Christians under a strong demonic influence as demonized, but there’s no scripture of a believer of Christ being possessed by a demon. Most theologians believe that a Christian cannot be possessed because the Holy Spirit is living with them, and the spirit of God wouldn’t share a residence with a demon. The Bible never shares how one opens themselves up for possession. If Judas’ case is a representative, he opened his heart to evil due to his greed. So it may be possible that if one allows their heart to be ruled by some habitual sin, it becomes an invitation for a demon to enter.
Based on the scriptural passages, it would appear that many people open their lives up to demon involvement through the embracing of some sin or cultic involvement, either knowingly or unknowingly. Examples include immorality, drug and alcohol abuse, rebellion, and bitterness.
Can Christians be demonically possessed?
While the Bible doesn’t explicitly state whether a demon can possess a Christian, related biblical truths clarify that demons cannot possess a Christian. There’s a difference between demonic possession and demonic oppression and influence. Demon possession involves a monster having direct and complete control over the thoughts and actions of a person. In contrast, demon oppression or influence consists of a demon attacking a person spiritually or encouraging them into sinful behavior. In the New Testament, passages dealing with spiritual warfare don’t give instructions on casting a demon out of a believer.
The Bible tells believers to resist the devil, not cast him out. Romans 8:9-11 reminds us that The Holy Spirit indwells Christians. Undoubtedly, the Holy Spirit wouldn’t allow a demon to possess the same person He’s indwelling. It’s unthinkable that God would allow one of His children, whom he purchased with the blood of Christ and made into a new creation, to be possessed and controlled by a demon. Yes, as believers, we wage war with Satan and his demons, but not from within ourselves.
The Holy Spirit that lives inside every believer is more powerful than any demon Satan has. Although demons can’t possess a Christian, they can influence a believer. That said, believers should know when a devil tries to control them and do their best to fight it. The Bible has all the tools you need to battle Satan and his minions. When you feel a cloud of negativity over you, it may be a demon trying to control your thoughts. If that happens, grab your Bible and start reading some of your favorite scriptures.