Can Christians be Demonised?

Can a Believer be beset by Demons

Many denominations teach that it is impossible for a christian to be demonised or some part of their life controlled by demons. However, before we go on, it might be wise to define what a christian is from scripture.

What does it take to be a Christian?

Lets take our first scripture reference from John 3 vs 3 - 8

3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

A Christian therefore is someone who has repented of their sins and by having a personal faith in Jesus, has received him as their personal saviour and Lord. 

As Jesus says in vs 3 he is Born Again,

Also see John 1 vs 11- 13 and Mark 16 vs 15 - 17.

So clearly here I am talking about a man or woman who has heard and believed the gospel, been baptised and is therefore there is no doubt about their salvation.

When Jesus began his public ministry, the most striking thing to people was how he dealt with evil spirits. Notably, this was a unique miracle that hadn’t been recorded in the Old Testament. Most of his other miracles—healing the sick, providing food, controlling nature—were already mentioned in the Old Testament. But there’s no Old Testament record of casting out evil spirits. Those who witnessed it were immediately captivated and excited by it.

The first account of this happening is in a synagogue in Capernaum, as stated in Mark 1:23:

“Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit...” (NKJ)

The Greek text says “in an unclean spirit,” which doesn’t translate well into English. The best contemporary English might be “under the influence of” an unclean spirit.

Now before we go any further we need to understand that there are three terms that are often used interchangeably:

Evil spirits and
Unclean spirits.

The Bible also mentions specific types of spirits, such as the spirit of infirmity or a spirit of fear and so on.

In Mark 1:23-25, there's a story about a man in the synagogue under the influence of an unclean spirit. The spirit cried out,

"Leave us alone! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God."

It's important to note that it’s the spirit speaking, not the man. The evil spirits immediately recognized and feared Jesus. This mix of “we” and “I” is typical of demons, similar to when Jesus asked a man in Gadara for his name, and he replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.”

Jesus rebuked the spirit, saying (vs 25),

"Be quiet! Come out of him!"

The Greek text literally translates to "be muzzled." The unclean spirit then convulsed the man and left him with a loud cry, showing dramatic physical manifestations that we can assume were uncommon in the synagogue. 

“Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, What is this? What new doctrine is this? [or what is this, a new doctrine?] With authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him. And immediately his fame [his reputation] spread throughout all the region around Galilee.” (vs 27-28 NKJ)

The key point here is that Jesus addressed the spirit within the man or you could say another person in that man and not the man himself. There’s no indication the man had behaved unusually before. It was Jesus’s presence, with the Holy Spirit’s anointing, that revealed the demon in the man.

Later in Mark 1:32–34, we see further development of Jesus's ministry:

“At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to Him all who were sick and those who were demon-possessed...” (NKJV)


Personally, I do not like the translation "demon-possessed." The Greek word used here is "daimonizomai," which comes from the noun "demon." The passive form "izomai" means "to be demonized." So, a better translation would be "demonized." The term "demon-possessed" has unfortunately caused confusion for many people, leading them to ask, "How can a Christian be possessed by the devil?" My answer is that a true Christian cannot be possessed by the devil; a true Christian is possessed by Jesus. However, many true Christians have areas in their lives where they are demonized, afflicted, and affected by demons. These are areas where they are not fully in control. They are demonized but not possessed by Satan. Clearing up this translation issue would help us better understand the reality.

“At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to Him all who were sick and those who were demonized...”

It's important to note that Jesus did not differentiate between healing and casting out demons or curing sickness. He almost always addressed both the sick and the demonized in one comprehensive act. The ministries of healing and deliverance were intertwined. People came to Jesus because they were sick, but often their cure required expelling evil spirits. Also, notice that Jesus laid his hands on every one of them. There used to be, and perhaps still is, a Pentecostal tradition that says it's unscriptural to lay hands on someone with an evil spirit. If that's the case, then Jesus was unscriptural. I prefer to follow Jesus's example over any tradition.

Even today, the ministries of healing and deliverance are clearly interconnected.

There are numerous example in scripture of people hearing the gospel, responding and receiving the gift of salvation often being baptised in the spirit as part of the same process. But... The case of Simon the sorcerer is one in which we see how it is possible for someone to receive the gospel yet still have areas of their life that are not under submission to Christ as lord and master.

Let's start the narrative at verse Acts 8 vs 5.

  5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.
6 And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.

7 For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.
8 And there was great joy in that city.
9 But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:

Let us stop here and say that as Simon was a sorcerer, it would not be unreasonable to believe that he was under domination by many demons. Lets continue...

10 To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.
11 And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.
12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued* with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.

So as you can see, Simon believed and was baptised and continued with Philip...

Going on with the narrative, we see that Peter and John came from Jerusalem and laid hands on the new believers and they received the Holy Spirit.

Simon the offered money to be able to impart the Holy Spirit by laying on hands. Continuing in Acts 8...

20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.

Clearly we can see that not every part of Simons life was submitted to Christ and that his heart was 'not right in the sight of God' and he was 'in the bond (or bound by) Iniquity' 

It would be  reasonable here to say that Simon was still heavily under the influence of demons - even though he was saved.

So can it be possible for believers to need deliverance from evil spirits?

The answer has to be YES!

So what can we do about it if we find a Christian who needs freeing from a demon?

I would encourage you to go through the two videos below by Derek Price. They go quite a way into looking scripturally at the problem and more importantly what believers can do about it if they find that either in their own lives or those around them need need help to be free of demonic influences.

How to Identify the Enemy - The Basics of Deliverance Part One

This is an original Bible Study, teaching by Derek Prince. Controversial, yet scriptural. Deliverance from demonic influence is a relevant and needed ministry in today's church. Drawing on decades of personal experience, Derek Prince imparts the foundational keys to spiritual freedom.

How to Expel the Enemy - The Basics of Deliverance Part Two

In this second video, Derek covers How demons come in, Occult Involvement, Sinful acts and Habits, Why some are not delivered and so much more.