The born-again believer can have demonic oppression because while the spirit is totally made new by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the body and soul (the mind, will and emotions) are still being sanctified. “But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time He waits for His enemies to be made His footstool, because by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” (Hebrews 10:12-14) Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins was a full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice for our sins but our sanctification is ongoing every day and is our part in working out our salvation with fear and trembling ( reverential awe of God). You can see that Jesus’ perfect sacrifice made us perfect forever in our spirits, but in our body and soul we had “pockets of resistance” or ungodly reactions, thoughts and emotions which war with the Spirit within us. It is in those places of unrepented sin and ungodly reactions that demonic power takes ground.
Many scriptures refute the concept that a Christian cannot have demonic oppression. Ephesians 6:10-18 speaks of the Christian putting on the whole armor of God to fight against the schemes of the devil. The devil wants us for his kingdom to serve him so we will spend eternity with him in hell. So there are fiery darts flying at us from Satan and we are to hold up the shield of faith to quench those darts. But if a Christian’s faith in God becomes weak and he or she does not hold up the shield of faith, those darts hit the Christian and begin to permeate the places that are weak. If then the Christian does not become strengthened in his or her faith, they may begin to join in with Satan’s suggestions that God does not care and the ways of the world, the flesh and the devil are the way to go. When a person practices the ways of the evil one over a period of time, Satan has the right to “take ground” in the person and send demonic spirits to harass, influence and try to control that area of the Christian. This same passage speaks of the battles in high spiritual places between believers and the powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Jesus warns in Matthew 24:4-5, “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name claiming ‘I am the Christ’ and will deceive many.” St. Paul has a similar warning in I Timothy 4:1-2, “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.”
In Acts 5:1-5 there is a very clear picture of a man and a woman who were in the early church and lived together with the saints in community and shared everything they had. There were no needy people among them. From time to time those who had houses or lands sold them and brought the money from the sales and laid it at the apostles’ feet and it was distributed to anyone as he had need. The man was named Ananias and he and his wife, Sapphira, planned to sell a piece of property and keep back part of the money and lay the rest at the apostles’ feet. When he did that, Peter said to him, “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? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.” When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body and carried him out and buried him. This is a clear picture and statement of demonic oppression taking over in a believer’s life. His wife, Sapphira, came in later and lied in the same manner and fell dead as well.
In I Corinthians 10:18-21 we see the problem of people eating and drinking at the Lord’s table and also at the table of demons. “Consider the people of Israel. Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons.” This practice brought demonic oppression because of honoring and partaking at the demonic communion table.
In Daniel 11:35, we read, “And some of those who are wise, prudent and understanding shall be weakened and fall (thus then the insincere among the people will lose courage and become deserters). It will be a test to refine, purify and make those among (God’s people) white (pure), even to the time of the end, because it is yet for the time (God) appointed. (Amplified Version) In War on the Saints, Page 24, Jessie Penn Lewis comments on this passage, “Yes, the truth must be faced. The elect may be deceived and, from Daniel’s words, are apparently permitted to be deceived for a season, so that in the fire of testing they may be ‘refined’, (the word refers to the expulsion of dross by the smelting fire), ‘purified’ (the removal of dross already expelled), and made ‘white’ (the polishing and brightening of the metal after it has been freed from its impurities.”) The enemy is a deceiver and as a deceiver he will work and prevail in the later times. ‘Success’ or ‘defeat’ is no criterion of a work being of God or Satan. Calvary stands forever as the revelation of God’s way in working out His redemptive purposes. Satan works for time but God works for eternity. Through death to life, through defeat to triumph, through suffering to joy is God’s way.” (War on the Saints, pages 25-26)
By the evidence of these scripture passages we can truly say that a Christian can be demonically oppressed. But one should never think that that is the end of the story. God has given us power to cast out demons and Jesus gave His disciples the injunction to cast out demons, so we see that Christians need not fear demonic oppression. We are given that power and command so that Christians can be set free from demonic oppression. We thank God for this great gift and for His taking up residence in us as His Temple. Yes, there are demonic spirits that infest Christians and oppress them. “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (I John 4:4)
Can a Christian be Demonically Oppressed?
by Joanne Highley