Q & A: Demonization (Part 3)

Q: “Christ is either in your heart or not. You say that Christ can occupy some of a person’s heart, while a demon can occupy another part. That is simply not true!”

A: Jeremiah the prophet wrote, “Thus saith the LORD … The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:5a,9) This statement does not only refer to those individuals who do not know the Lord, but it also applies to people who do know the Lord; even people who have known him for many years. The apostle Paul also knew of this same struggle, when he wrote, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” (Romans 7:18) Some have suggested that Paul wrote this when he was merely defeated and not walking with the Lord, but the context suggests otherwise, for we read a few verses later: “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” (Romans 7:22-23) The fact that Paul wrote, “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man,” is a clear indication that he was walking with God and desiring to please him in every way. And yet, Paul confesses, there was this struggle.

In light of these verses, I think that it is presumptous to assume that our hearts are necessarily entirely free from any type of negative (ie. demonic) influence.

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Q: “When you say that a demon can reside in a person’s heart, and the Holy Spirit can reside in another “part” of that person’s heart (the “main control center” as you say), it seems to suggest that a person is not entirely saved! How do you explain this?

A: First of all, I did not mean to imply that a person is not entirely saved, simply because they may be bound by a demon (or two or three). Being bound by a demon in no way affects a person’s standing before God, in terms of his “position” in Christ. He is still saved (100%). He is still “seated with Christ in heavenly places” (Ephesians 2:6). He still struggles in the flesh, but that does not affect his standing before God. God sees him as pure, spotless, and redeemed. In reality — if you look at the outworking of his salvation — he still has some work to go (and who doesn’t). But Christ credits him with purity, not based on his works, or on his own degree of purity based on what he has earned, but on the basis of what Christ has done for him in dying on the cross. This then is his “positional stand before God”. It is imputed (given) by God; not earned by himself. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” (Titus 3:5) “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

So the whole notion about a person’s salvation being dependent upon how pure he is in his own heart, or whether or not he has a demon, is entirely false. We are saved because he has saved us, not because we have done anything to deserve it.

In closing, I’d like to mention that the “seal” of the Holy Spirit mentioned in Ephesians 1:13 refers to a sign that a person is saved. The “seal” (or deposit) of the Holy Spirit does not guarantee that the person who has received the Holy Spirit will have no problems in life or not be influenced by a demon. But rather it is the sign (to God, and to us), that we are his; as Paul writes, “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Romans 8:9) The key, then, to knowing whether or not we are saved, is not whether or not we have a demon, but whether or not we have the Holy Spirit. May God grant us the ability to yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit, so that he may do his work in our lives — that outworking, sanctifying, process — by which if a man walks in it, he will become freer and freer in Christ, and able to serve him with more and more authority, as he becomes like Jesus Christ his master, who, concerning the devil, was able to say, “He has nothing in me.” (John 14:30)