It is my belief that a person sealed with the Holy Spirit of God, cannot at the same time be indwelt by a demon, an unclean spirit. To me, such an idea is an affront to Holy Spirit. I would like to review a few references made by P.H, June 2007 regarding the claim that a true Christian can have a demon.
The writer begins in point (a) “Deliverance from demons is for Christians only”. Then Matthew 15:24-26 is referenced.
The passage refers to the Canaanitish woman, whose daughter the Lord healed from demon possession. She was neither a Christian – the Holy Spirit had not yet come – nor was she an Israelite. The Lord states that he had “not been sent save [except] to the lost sheep of Israel’s house”. This tested her faith because she was not of Israel, which people had a link by promise with the Christ. She was therefore an outsider. But she was prepared to be nothing and to be as a dog under the table, and her request be heard on the basis of pure grace, recognising that she had not the claim on the Messiah as a Jew had. The Lord honoured her faith as “great”.
Then the writer goes on to speak of God’s “covenantal people”. Again, that people is Israel, not Christians. The first covenant was made with Israel via Moses, and the new covenant is with Israel! See Jeremiah 31:31, “Behold days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah”. Also in Romans 9:3-5, Paul states it formally: ”my kinsmen, according to flesh; who are Israelites; whose is the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants…and the promises”. How clearly stated is that? Surely we now enter into the good of the new covenant, and the spirit of it, plus more. Truly Paul and those with him were “new covenant ministers”.
We must remember that Christ’s ministry was for Israel, as he stated so clearly in Matthew 15:24. Israel’s long awaited Messiah was presenting himself to them for their acceptance; but they “would not”. It was not until the Lord was glorified and the Holy Spirit came, that the apostles went out to the nations. All scripture was written for us, but it is not all about us.
From the above it can be seen that deliverance from demons was not for persons indwelt by the Holy Spirit. It is this last feature that characterizes a true Christian.
In point (b) the writer rightly states that it is vital to have the Spirit to replace the unclean spirit. While on this point it is well to get the benefit of the Lord’s teaching in Matthew 12:43-45. If the unclean spirit returns and finds things “unoccupied, swept, and adorned”, he finds seven others worse and they enter. I believe that although this can be applied to an individual, the Lord was speaking of Israel in its primary application. This can be seen from the context. Idolatry had been swept from Israel by the broom of Babylon. After the return from the 70 years of captivity, there was no more idolatry. But their refusal of Christ and their attributing his works of power to that of the prince of demons - rather than the Spirit of God - meant that their house was unoccupied, or empty. I believe that before the great tribulation, the time of Jacob’s trouble, idolatry will have returned to that people in a very big way, as the Lord indicates here at the end of that paragraph.
We are to be filled with Spirit – room for nothing else! See Ephesians 5:18. What is the effect of being so filled? Is it great demonstrations of power? Verses 18-21 tell us: singing hymns, giving thanks to the Father at all times for all things, and submitting ourselves to one another in the fear of Christ.
I agree wholeheartedly that true believers can be influenced by false spirits, the spirit of error, etc. In fact “our struggle is not against blood and flesh, but against principalities …against spiritual power of wickedness in the heavenlies”, Ephesians 6:11,12. I can, as an individual, grieve the Spirit; I can act in the flesh rather than in the Spirit; a company of believers can collectively quench the Spirit. But once I have been sealed with the Holy Spirit, and my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, I submit that a demon cannot dwell there with the Holy Spirit.
Let us look at the verse quoted in point (d), 2 Corinthians 11:4, “For if indeed he that comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or ye get a different Spirit, which ye have not got, or a different glad tidings, which ye have not received, ye might well bear with it”.
This refers to one who is falsifying the character of Christ to others, e.g. teaching that the Lord only takes up orators to preach – someone at Corinth said that Paul’s “presence in the body is weak, and his speech nothing”.
“A different Spirit” – again, I see it as a misrepresentation of the Spirit of God. Notice it is “Spirit” spelt with a capital, so it cannot mean a demon. Examples at Corinth - a person’s teaching setting aside the conduct exemplifying the fruits of the Spirit and gathering others around themselves instead of pointing to Christ; harshness in their manner with fellow believers – see also 2 Cor. 11:20 - “For ye bear [put up with it] if any one bring you into bondage, if any one devour you, if any one get your money, if any one exalt himself, if any one beat you on the face”.
Some years ago, after a series of sermons, one person remarked to another: “This is another voice; it is not the voice of the Shepherd; it is another spirit”. By going against his conscience and by sitting under such teaching for a time, I would accept that the Holy Spirit was grieved in that brother during that time, but that did not mean he was possessed, or indwelt, by a demon.
The spirit of a thing often just means the essence of that thing. In regards to the law of the land, we speak of the spirit of the law – meaning its intent, its purpose or direction, as opposed to the words.
As a footnote, I would say that an addiction is not a demon. An addict takes a substance because he wants to; it gives gratification. He is not forced by an external power. It is an internal desire. Alcohol, as an example, is a liquid in a bottle, not a demon. The person drinking to excess is not forced to buy it, nor is forced to drink it. The demons described In the Gospels caused people to do things that were against their will - casting one into the fire and into the water, other forms of harm to self, and causing a person to be deaf and dumb, as opposed to a defect of nature.
MM July 2007