A reader recently sent in the following question:
Can a Christian be demon-possessed? And do Christians have the authority to say someone is demon-possessed? The Bible says to discern the spirits, but what if you’re wrong and say something is from the devil, but it is actually from God?
There are three questions here, each one requiring a careful answer. So let’s take each questions one at a time over the next three blog posts… When they are done, I will include links to all three at the bottom of each post.
So let’s tackle the first question in this post:
Can a Christian be Demon-Possessed?
I do not think a Christian can be demon-possessed.
Christians cannot be demon-possessed because we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
There is a whole lot of theology behind the nature and origin of demons (I do not think demons are fallen angels), but the main thing to remember is that they are unclean spirits. Demons are unholy spirits or evil spirits.
When a person believes in Jesus for eternal life, they are immediately regenerated, indwelt, baptized, and sealed by the Holy Spirit. Believers are the dwelling place of God. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19).
Since God dwells in us, I do not think that God is going to share His dwelling place with an evil spirit.
For the Holy Spirit to share His dwelling place with an evil spirit, or to get replaced by the evil spirit, would imply that the evil spirit was more powerful than God. We know this cannot be true, for greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).
There are numerous other Scriptures which help answer the question of whether or not a Christian can be demon-possessed (cf. Col 1:13; 1 John 2:13; 2 Cor 6:15-16). One resource I found online which does a pretty good job showing this is an article by Don Stewart called “Can a Christian be Demon-Possessed?” He summarizes his article this way:
Scripture does not teach that a Christian can be possessed by a demon. The believer is “in Christ,”- one of His. Every example in the Bible of a person being demon-possessed concerns an unbeliever – there are no examples of believers being possessed. Furthermore, we must be careful not to rely on stories of believers and demon-possession – many other explanations are possible. The Christian, who is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, need not fear demon possession. Yet, demons do attack believers in various ways. Therefore, it would be wrong to say that they cannot have any affect on the Christian
So can a Christian be demon possessed? I say no.