Bible Question:

Can Christians be demon possessed?

Bible Answer:

To answer this question we will want to look at a parable that Jesus taught, and at several New testament passages. The parable was given by Jesus after He was confronted by the Pharisees.

Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places, seeking rest, and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. Then it goes, and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation. Matthew 12:43-45  (NASB)

Just before Jesus gave this parable, the Pharisees had decided that Jesus was casting out or exorcising demons by the power of Satan (Matthew 12:22-25). Jesus gave them a great question to think about, “And if I by Beelzebub cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out?” After Jesus finished, the Pharisees challenged Jesus by asking for a sign. Jesus responded by giving them a sign about Himself – the sign they were looking for. This is the sign of Jonah (Matthew 12:40-42). Then Jesus gave them a parable about their sons’ exorcism.

Human Exorcism

At first the parable seems to be out of place, but what Jesus has done is to give the Pharisees a test of true exorcism. The Pharisee’s sons did exorcise demons, but the demons could come back to their victim with more demons. Their sons’ exorcisms were like “self-help” spiritual renewal. It works for awhile, but it does not last. The demon would leave and wander around (Job 1:7; 1 Peter 5:8) looking for a new home. If it did not find a home, the demon could return with friends in order to take over the person again. That is a sign of exorcism by human power. The demon can come back.

Jesus’ point is clear. When he cast out demons by the power of the Holy Spirit, they did not return.

But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Matthew 12:28 (NASB)

Notice that in the parable Jesus described the man as being “unoccupied” after the exorcism. The demon had gone looking for a new home. Did he find some person occupied by other demons? The demon was not welcome elsewhere and had to came back to the empty “house.”

Jesus’ Exorcism

A true Christian is not “unoccupied or empty.” A true Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. That is, the Holy Spirit lives in us.

Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16 (NASB)

If the Holy Spirit does not live inside you, then you are not a Christian.

However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. Romans 8:9 (NASB)

The Holy Spirit lives inside a true Christian. He is more powerful than any demon or Satan.

You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4 (NASB)

Christians do not need to fear being possessed by demons, because we are already “occupied” by the Holy Spirit and He is absolutely powerful – He is God!


Jesus defeated Satan and broke His power and death. God loves us and He has promised to protect us.

But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3  (NASB)

Praise the Lord Jesus.

Suggested Links:

Angels - Good & Evil