Demon possession is the name given to describe when a fallen angel takes control of a person by taking up residence in the individual’s heart. The Bible does not use the phrases “demon possession” or “demon possessed.” However, the phenomenon is clearly described in Scripture and evidence suggests demon possessions still occur today. Many questions can be asked about this phenomenon. One question in particular troubles many believers. Can a demon make his home in the heart of a Christian and control the believer’s life?
Christians can fall into sin and come back under bondage to sins which take over their lives. Christians can become addicted. Christians can fall so greatly under the power of sin that it seems as if they have no control over their lives. Christians may find themselves attacked by demons or by demon controlled people. None of these things are demon possession. Demon possession is when a demon moves into the spiritual heart of a person to become a controlling inhabitant of the individual. The subject is not directly addressed in Scripture, but several related passages work together to lead to the conclusion that demons cannot possess Christians.
In Matthew 12:43-45 Jesus tells a parable about a demon who goes out of a man but later returns. When the demon finds the man’s heart empty he gathers additional demons and they all take up residence in the heart of that unfortunate man. Caution needs to be exercised when interpreting and applying parables, but Jesus’ words hint that demons seek out empty hearts to take over.
The Christian does not have an empty heart. Romans 8 clearly declares that the Holy Spirit dwells in the heart of the Christian. First Corinthians 6:19 says the Christian is “the temple of the Holy Ghost.” At the moment of salvation the Holy Spirit takes up residence in the believer’s heart. From that time until the person enters heaven the Holy Spirit never departs from the Christian’s heart. (Ephesians 1:13-14) If demons require an empty heart to inhabit they will not find one in the child of God.
Second Corinthians 6:15 asks the question, “What accord has Christ with Belial?” That rhetorical question is one of a series of questions which declare God has no fellowship or camaraderie with any evil thing. Psalm 5:4 says of God, “Nor shall evil dwell with you.” God the Holy Spirit will not share a dwelling with demons.
Demons cannot force their way into the heart where the Holy Spirit dwells. Demons are created beings. They are angels who rebelled against God. As creatures all demons are under the complete control of God. If God the Spirit refuses a demon access to the heart of a person then the demon has no choice but to submit. Consider the ease with which Jesus cast out demons. Jesus is God the Son who operated in the power of God the Spirit. When Jesus commanded demons obeyed. No demon has the ability to force his way into the Holy Spirit’s residence or to drive the Holy Spirit out of a Christian’s heart.
The prospect of the Holy Spirit sharing a heart with a demon is incredibly implausible. The presence of God the Spirit will keep the Christian safe from any demons making his heart their home.