Deliverance Questions: Revisited and Answered

Finally going to tackle some of the questions posed by another of my new commenters, Bleeders… (interesting nick, buddy!)  Here we go! I will try to answer them to the best of my ability, and encourage more conversation on this or any other topic posted here.

Bleeders starts with this.

(1) it certainly causes angst since there is no Biblical cases of a Christ-follower, indwelled by the Spirit of God and living as a new creation concurrently wrestling with possession by a demon. The lack of that kind of scenario really does make these debates more complicated.

First, let me reiterate what I mean by ‘possession.’  I do not mean that a person is totally owned by demonic forces.  I mean that at least one area of his life may be under demonic control, and thus he does not have complete freedom to choose to do right it that area. In fact, he may feel it is totally controlled by something else, and he is powerless to resist.  Because of this very real misunderstanding of the term ‘possessed’, I prefer to use the term ‘demonized’ or even ‘influenced.’

 That being said,  I agree that there are no explicit examples in Scripture of  “a Christ-follower, indwelled by the Spirit of God and living as a new creation… wrestling with possession by a demon.”  Such is implied in Acts 5 in the story of Ananias and Saphira, where verse 3 says “Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?”  Again, I see that as not total depravity, but a choice that led to his demise.

(2) it’s been said the Devil can never own a Christian but he can certainly perch on our shoulder and whisper in our ear as long as we’re willing to be idle listeners!

Also agreed.  If someone, who says he is a Christ follower, consistently and wilfully listens and acts on the whispers of the enemy, he stops “living as a new Creation” and is in danger of being overtaken by the enemy.  Would that mean he “lost his salvation???”  A whole other topic!!!!!  All I know is that the word says that “Not everyone who says to me, ‘LordLord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matt 7:21)

(3) counter question – can a demon-possessed person receive Christ without being first exorcised of the demon? If you say (logically) no, it’s likely because to accept and receive Christ as Lord would involve an usurpment (fun word) of the prior spiritual forces.

Well, actually in experience it’s the other way around.  One is usually led to Christ first, then, as the person now has the Holy Spirit living inside them, who assists with the casting out of the evil forces.  I agree with the analogy… to accept Jesus as Lord means to reject any other masters!  

By saying no, however, it also muddies the water for thinking demons could creep back in and co-exist with the Spirit of God. I suppose [Bajan]would suggest that the Spirit of God inhabits fully the spirit of a man, thus leaving the soulical and human realms open for business…but again, if Christ coming in requires an eviction, the creeping back in to possess (versus influence, inflict, tempt, etc.) is a 1 way street.

Christ coming in does not require an eviction, but it guards against the person being reinfected as easily. Again, the Scripture – Matt 12:43-45  …

 43“When an evil[a] spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it.44Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”  (Matt. 12:43-45)

and  Luke 11:24-26 as another account of the same verse

 24“When an evil[a] spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ 25When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.” (Luke 11:24-26)

Coming to Christ and following him, obeying him and living for him is the protection against the reinfestation of the demonic into a life.  

(4) Another question (Jesus liked using them – they clarify things in process): do you believe that a fully devoted Christ follower can be hijacked by a brood of demons despite being fully surrendered to Christ in his/her life? Or is this something you’d suggest saints are succeptible to only when derelect in their devotional pursuits – like being on a lone country road at night?

I alluded to this answer in the one above.  A fully devoted Christ follower who is living right and does not sin will not open areas for the enemy to enter.  As you put it, when we as believers are “[derelict] in their devotional pursuits “, or put less poetically, when we sin, we put ourselves in danger, just  “like being on a lone country road at night.”  Sin opens doors that allow demons to manipulate, and they may manipulate only a little at first, but if we continue, we give more and more access to them, until we are fully consumed.

(5) Is succumbing to demonic influence, attack, perversion, misleadings and the like the same as being possessed? I guess it’s a case of semantics, but yet their is substance in the semantic difference. If I am led by demonic forces by “proxy” of my stupidity/slothfulness (spiritually), it is still different than being a victim, powerlessly overcome by Legion.

Succumbing to temptation, demonic attack, perversion etc is NOT the same as possession, again if you are looking at possession as total demonic control.  Every time you sin, it is as though you leave a door unlocked and slightly ajar.  In this way, the demonic may have access to an area in your life.  You will still be a Christian, still loving Jesus, but yet there are areas which you may find it harder to resist temptation, harder to shun the evil.  And every time you sin, you crack that door a little farther ajar, leaving more exposed…

This does not mean you are totally “powerless against Legion” …  it is at this point where you have two choices.  There are demonic elements in areas of your life that should be cast out – the process of deliverance… or you can go with the flow and stop  living as a “a Christ-follower, indwelled by the Spirit of God and living as a new creation”  and continue to open that door until you are fully exposed to the enemy and fully “possessed” (as you put it.)  

The Christian who has demonic entrapments in an area of his or her life can get rid of those entrapments. That’s what deliverance is.  Does that mean that they are owned by Satan? No. But that is exactly what Satan is aiming for!  He is content with a little area of weakness at first, which, if left unchecked, will grow until he has complete control of the entire being.  “The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy….” Thank God the verse in John 10:10 continues! “…but [Christ] has come so that [we] can have life, and have it more abundantly!!”  Deliverance is part of Christ’s ministry, to make sure that Satan’s plan to “steal, kill and destroy” is thwarted!


10 Responses

  1. Good stuff, Rob, and well answered. For a believer … satan is always attempting to exert as much influence as possible in our lives. The only thing that lets him actually do that is our our own choices. He has no control but that which we give him. Therefore the idea of the ‘quiet country road’ is not quite accurate, in that satan cannot overpower us of his own free will. He would have already done that if he could. He can only work within what we allow. Therefore the deception, temptation, and insidious whispers he uses to persuade us to choose against God’s will for us. And in the end, if he has a foothold – we let him in. And we can make him leave. Because the power of God keeps us … and of all the creation of God, the blood of Jesus was shed for us. That is the power of the cross which is ours when we walk in it.

    • Yeah Annie! “That is the power of the cross which is ours when we walk in it.” That’s important … it’s ours, but when we walk in it!

      I try to avoid using ‘possession’ because of this same confusion I perceived in the comments… To me, no one can be completely possessed unless they keep choosing to open that door constantly, giving the demonic kingdom more and more access until there is nothing left that is redeemed. If you are living right, you can never be possessed, but you may have unredeemed habits that cause weaknesses in our “inner man”.

  2. I’m grinning bajan. location, location, location. Have enjoyed the dialog! Jesus rules!

  3. Yes Archie!!!!!! Enjoyed it immensely! Let’s do it again!

  4. Brother Bajan,

    Casting out devils is part and parcel of New Testament Christianity. Matthew 10:5-8 lists Jesus’ charge to his disciples: “These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”

    The fact that Jesus sent the 12 to the lost sheep of Israel indicates that there had to have been some level of demonic activity in their lives; otherwise he would not have equipped them with the power to cast them out.

    The old adage still holds. When it comes to demonic oppression, manifestation, or strongholds, if you don’t feed it, IT WILL DIE.

    Cynthia Johnson

    • Great answer, Cynthia! And welcome to The Hand of God 🙂

  5. Good morning. I had to kind of speed through here as I’m in a rush, but this issue does highlight one very important thing. We must be aware of the tacitcs that the enemy employs to try and sidetrack us and maintain our post with diligence. This is a very interesting topic and I’ll to retun when time permits.

    have a blessed weekend in Jesus.


    • I agree, TimBob 🙂 Welcome to The Hand of God! I agree… the enemy is so sly that we do have to be diligent to be aware of his tactics. Hope you return soon and share your observations. 🙂

  6. […] Deliverance – Q & A […]

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