Q: I have been following your dissertations on the subject and feel compelled to write and suggest you reconsider some of the things you are postulating. In “Demonization (Part 3)” you state: ‘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)’ Jeremiah 17:10 goes on to say: “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” People who truly know the Lord not only confess with their mouth but believe in their heart and I suggest that when a person has that belief in their heart, no demon in the world can enter in to it.
A: It sounds good, but you have to rememeber that demonic bondages of the heart begin before a person has learned to abide in Christ. When the person then comes to Christ, perhaps in his teens or twenties or later, Scripture does not guarantee that he will automatically “get delivered” of his evil spirits. What Scripture does guarantee is that the Holy Spirit will come in to live inside that person (Ephesians 1:13) — into that “secret place” of the heart that only He can reside. It is what I have called in my analogy, the “master control center.” Theologically, the person is “regenerated” by the Holy Spirit — his spirit that was once dead has now been made alive with God’s Spirit. But can demons still occupy ‘unconquered regions of the heart’. Yes, they certainly can.
It is a difficult scenario, in fact, coming to Christ as an older person who has for years carried out the desires of the flesh. For the devil has “put his teeth” into such a one, and he/they (the demons) are very much like “leeches” that hang on to the new believer (albeit unknowingly, in most cases, because they are masters of deception, so that the demonized individual usually is not aware that he is demonized. On this note, the closer a person gets to Christ, the more likely he will be to understand if he is demonized or not; because God will reveal that to him.)
If the person can learn to abide in Christ, he can be FREE from his demons, but depending on the reasons why the demons are there, they may not leave until he has learned submission to God first (James 4:7). Now you may argue that submission can be learned at the time of conversion, but I think it could also be equally argued that it is NOT learned by MOST people at the time of conversion. Indeed, I would have to say that “real” submission to God can only be learned through time, and through suffering. It is even said of Jesus himself that he “learned submission by the things that he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). How much more for us “mere” human beings? Thus it may be hard for a demon to enter once the person has become a Christian, and particularly as he learns to abide in, and submit to, Christ, but what about those demons that existed prior the the person’s conversion? We don’t read anywhere that deliverance is “automatic” at the point of conversion, in such circumstances. There is a “working out” process that needs to happen in such cases (Philippians 2:12).
Q: Demons can attack spiritually, and through the senses, but they cannot enter the heart of the believer. Paul was writing, specifically, about the ‘flesh’, the physical body. It is carnal and it alway will be, that is why the believer is to be given a ‘new body’. You can be sure that, in Paul’s heart, the seat of his inmost desires, there dwelt nothing bad, only good, and with the Spirit of God in him he was able to perform ‘that which is good’. We are able to do the same if we do not let the demons lead us astray but rebuke them in the all powerful Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Praise the Lord!
A: If Paul’s heart is described as the “seat of his inmost desires” as you write — if this is where the Holy Spirit has made alive the person’s once dead spirit, then, yes, I agree with you — that is not where the demon resides. The demon resides outside of this area. We may be dealing with semantics at this stage, but there is a place where the Holy Spirit dwells where no demon can touch. It sounds like we are in agreement on this point.
God bless you and thank you for writing.
Note to the reader: Tomorrow we close off our study on demons and demonization for “this time” (we’ll return at some later time, after we’ve enjoyed a ‘breather’ for a while). Thanks for bearing with us. This is exceedinly important information for some and it would behoove us not to give it prayerful consideration.