No Place for the Devil

Neil Girrard

Scriptures Referenced in This Article:
          (Follow the Scripture links if you want to study the Scriptures for yourself.)
Gen. 2:7 π Psa. 91:1 π Mt. 27:18 π Mk. 3:7-8 π Mk. 3:10-12 π Mk. 3:11 π Mk. 3:14-15 π Mk. 3:22 π Mk. 3:29-30; 2nd π Mk. 5:9 π Mk. 7:37 π Mk. 16:9 π Jn. 5:19 π Jn. 8:31-32 π Jn. 8:44 π Jn. 8:48 π Jn. 14:30 π Jn. 16:13 π Jn. 20:26 π Rom. 5:12 π 1 Cor. 12:10 π 2 Cor. 2:11 π 1 Ths. 5:23 π Jas. 4:7 π 1 Pet. 5:8 π 1 Jn. 2:21

There are some who believe that because the Holy Spirit has come to live in a person at the new birth, there is therefore no place for a demon to reside within a believer in Christ. This has been “cutely” stated (though there is no Scriptural basis for making such a statement) that since God has now taken up residence, He’s not going to share the apartment with the devil. Further, using Mk. 3:29-30 (top) as a basis, some teach that to suggest that a particular Christian is demon possessed is to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. But is all this really so?

Let us consider all the elements that come into play so that we might fully understand this matter.

First, what is a human being? That is, what are his essential elements? The Bible clearly lists three categories to a man’s existence – spirit, soul and body. (see 1 Ths. 5:23 , etc.) Adam, the first man, possessed each of these at his creation. ( Gen. 2:7 ) His subsequent fall introduced into the human existence the carnal nature of death. ( Rom. 5:12; top ) Those who can see all this complexity and not see anywhere a clever spiritual foe could conceal himself is reminiscent of the Russian cosmonaut who “confirmed” there was no God because he had looked out of his space capsule window and could not see Him!

Second, what is a demonic being? They are unclean spirits ( Mk. 3:11 , etc.) Intellectuals trying to appear wise like to bandy about the nonsequitur question, “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” Angels, like demons, being spiritual beings, do not necessarily require space as we commonly think of it. Jesus, in His resurrected spiritual body, was not kept out of the room by locked doors and closed windows. ( Jn. 20:26 ) Seven demons were cast out of Mary Magdelene ( Mk. 16:9 ) and thousands of demons resided in one man. ( Mk. 5:9; top ) Space is not the issue.

The devil and the demonic are closely related. Jesus gave us very real insight into the nature of the evil forces aligned against us when He said, “[The devil] does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” ( Jn. 8:44; top ) Note this carefully – the devil is the father, the proginator, the architect and maker of all lies. Lies are his own natural resource, his native language at which he is expertly fluent.

Why is all this important to the question at hand? John wrote, “No lie is of the truth.” ( 1 Jn. 2:21 ) What kind of a “place” within a human being would offer an unclean spiritual being concealment? A lie. When in our own soul or spirit we hold onto a lie of any scope or proportion, we have created a place – a place made out of the devil’s own natural resources and of the devil’s own manufacture – where a demonic spirit being can conceal himself. This is why “When the Spirit of truth has come, He will guide you into all truth.” ( Jn. 16:13 - emphasis added) And, “If you abide in My word…you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” ( Jn. 8:31-32 - emphasis added; top) To be guided into all truth – a progressive process – means that we must be guided out of all lies. The truth of Christ does progressively liberate us – but no such promise is made regarding His mere presence or spiritual residence within. No new convert has ever been born again having already “arrived” at spiritual perfection nor is the new convert completely free of sin and deception just because Jesus has come to live in his heart. Anyone who even subconsciously buys into the idea that a believer has “arrived” upon his new spiritual birth has forgotten his own history in his first days after conversion!

A further wrinkle of confusion is added when we continue to think of the presence of a demonic being within as “possession.” Influence and control over certain functions we have somehow surrendered to the demon as a result of believing (trusting, relying on) some lie is a more accurate description. The Greek word is better rendered “demonized” meaning under some amount of influence or control of a demon – just as “high” or “drunk” refer to a person in a drug- or alcohol-induced state or condition. The demon possesses only his own lie but we have let him in our door and given him certain keys to portions of our lives by receiving his lie.

Now we come to the question of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Let us look at exactly what Jesus said. “‘He who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation.’ – because they said, ‘He has an unclean spirit.’” ( Mk. 3:29-30 ) “They” here refers to “the scribes who came down from Jerusalem [who] said, ‘He has Beelzebub,’ and ‘By the ruler of the demons He casts out demons.’” ( Mk. 3:22 ) Most likely, this was the official report disseminated by the Jewish rulers to the people to keep them from going out to hear and follow Jesus who by this time was already attracting large multitudes. ( Mk. 3:7-8 ) Jesus was healing many and releasing many from the control of the unclean spirits. ( Mk. 3:10-12 ) He has selected His twelve closest men and given them similar authority and sent them out to preach as well. ( Mk. 3:14-15 ) But instead of recognizing the power of the Spirit of God at work in Jesus and His men, the scribes, perhaps acting under demonic influence themselves or perhaps already envious and fearful of Jesus’ ability to draw crowds after Himself (see Mt. 27:18; top ), denounce Jesus as casting out demons by the power of Satan.

This is far different than a believer today who sees some strain of bad fruit in another believer’s life and wonders whether or not that bad fruit of the flesh is an indication of demonic activity in that other believer’s life. If the first believer passes judgment on the matter and decides for himself that it is indeed demonic, he risks confusing himself that the flesh on so evident display in the second believer is a demon – but he has not accused the Holy Spirit of being a demon. Flesh is flesh – and the flesh cannot be cast out; it must be crucified – and differentiating between mere flesh and demonically enhanced flesh is a spiritual discernment that is a gifting of the Holy Spirit. ( 1 Cor. 12:10; top )

But who is far more likely today to commit the same blasphemy of the Holy Spirit as did the scribes of Jerusalem? The “pastor” who (being jealous, envious and fearful of losing his own following) tells his flock that those people “out there” (those “nobodies” and “laymen” without seminary degrees or “church” titles who preach and live the gospel of Jesus in word and in power) are really demonically deceived “false prophets” sent to deceive the masses! Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! (Falsely accusing others of one’s own sins is a common indication of demonization – see Jn. 8:48 , etc.; top)

In concluding this article, let us consider two things. First, where does the “no Christian can be demon possessed” teaching most often come from – the “pastor” of the “church”! The “pastor,” because the congregation has been conditioned to believe they are supposed to sit under and endure his weekly monologue, has great influence over the people – in some cases, thousands of people follow this one man whom they have no chance of knowing what he is really like. He may be the most arrogant, self-centered power monger but because he exudes angelic eloquence and piety from the pulpit and labors long to perfect his aura of unquestionable infallibility, he is perceived to be a godly man. This false façade, gained in seminary and years of preaching practice, may be the very lie behind which the demonic hides and, in turn, exerts its influence on his followers and listeners. Every false teaching he utters – no matter how small or trivial – can be a place of concealment for the demonic in his hearers!

Second, in Jesus’ day, the people were heavily demonized (as is evidenced by the multitudes of people whom Jesus set free from unclean spirits). But today, in our modern “civilized” culture, demonization is virtually unheard of and even scoffed at. In truth, the demons are as geared up to oppose Christ’s return as they were His first appearing – perhaps even more so. But it is the rampant blindness of modern man that gives the demonic the ability to hide, as it were, right out in plain sight. The devil’s best lie – propagated from many a pulpit, no less – is that the devil doesn’t really exist. The devil’s second best lie – propagated from far more pulpits – is that even though the devil exists, he has no real ability to harm anyone in any way.

We are called to vigilance and wariness in regards to the devil ( 1 Pet. 5:8 ) – we are not called to be careless or negligent regarding our spiritual enemy. We are told to resist the devil ( Jas. 4:7 ) – we are not told to ignore him. Paul was not ignorant or unaware of Satan’s schemes and devices and Satan was therefore unable to take advantage of him ( 2 Cor. 2:11; top ) – today’s believer is very ignorant and almost completely unaware of Satan’s schemes and devices against him and consequently the demonic holds great advantage over people who claim to belong to Christ.

No one is called to focus on the demonic and their work. Those who go beyond what the Scriptures say and make long lists of demons’ names and their functions are venturing into very dangerous territory. But so too are those who refuse to go as far as the Scriptures go remaining in very dangerous territory. The only safe place is in the secret place of the Most High and under the shadow of the Almighty God ( Psa. 91:1 ) where we are, like Jesus, able to see the Father and do only what we see Him doing. ( Jn. 5:19 ) Only then will the demonic have nothing in us (see Jn. 14:30 ) and we will do all things well, just as Jesus did. (see Mk. 7:37; top )

Let he who has ears hear.

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