The spiritual world exists and is more powerful than what we may think. That’s why when God touches our lives, we can be transformed in an instant. In the same manner, there are people whose lives are influenced by demons and evil spirits. In the Gospels, Jesus Himself cast demons out of people and set them free. Demon-possession is real and cannot be denied. However in Matthew 12, where Jesus speaks about deliverance, he was speaking before the Cross and was referring to a wicked generation, not to the Church. So, my point is this: do born-again Christians, who have repented of past sins, and truly surrendered their lives to Jesus, still need deliverance from demons?
BORN-AGAIN OR NOT?
I cannot find a single case of born-again believers being set free from demons in the early Church of the Bible. Either you are born-again, or you aren’t; there is nothing in between! Before we came to know Jesus, we were under Satan’s control. We didn’t know God; and we were all in fact, under the influence of evil spirits, or possessed by them (Ephesians 2:1-5). When an unbeliever truly repents of his sins, and believes in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, God Almighty Himself comes to live in his heart. Colossians 1:13 explains it thus: “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.” Having been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, the nature of sin that controlled us previously has been replaced by the nature of God. Often, it isn’t even necessary to pray for deliverance. The unbeliever is already under so much conviction and so willing to surrender his life to Christ, that he is set free by the power of the Holy Spirit in a split second. In other cases, prayer for his deliverance is necessary. You may rightly ask, therefore, what all these demonic manifestations in churches today are about? The answer is that many people only come for healing and deliverance, to be blessed, and not to seek God first and foremost. And, not being born again,
demonic influences continue to rule their lives. However it’s impossible for truly born-again Christians still to be under the power of demons, unless they backslide to the point that they have completely broken fellowship with Christ, have denied the Lord and opened their hearts and lives to demonic activity. For, how can the Holy Spirit possibly dwell in the same body as a demon? Many of the problems and issues attributed to demons have their roots elsewhere. If we are not on the foundation of the Cross, we quickly find ourselves swallowing all sorts of false teachings and strange doctrines. We blame demons for anything and everything that goes wrong…
IT’S THE FLESH!
It must be clear that, as a Christian, just because I find myself in trouble with the _ esh, does not mean that I have an evil spirit in me…but rather that I have simply yielded to the passions of my flesh. Of course we can be tempted, but we must differentiate between being tempted and being possessed by an evil spirit. It is only when I deny myself, am prepared to give up my rights, and lose my life by taking up my Cross, that I can have the victory in that speci_ c circumstance. I have no need, whatsoever, for any demon to be cast out; I am already demon-free!
DELIVERANCE ISN’T THE ANSWER
God has opened a way for us not to bow to our flesh, or to surrender to its desires. It is the Cross. That’s why our lives have no connection with demons. The Spirit of the Lord lives in us. He intercedes for us and helps us, by God’s Grace, to crucify that _ esh. What God wants to do in your life through the walk of sanctification cannot be substituted with a prayer of deliverance. Don’t let anyone try to cast out of you the demons of anger, laziness, jealousy, etc. Likewise, you cannot solve the problems you have with your spouse, your children, or another Christian by trying to cast out a demon… These are manifestations of your flesh; the fruit of a life not surrendered to the Lord. Many believers today are discouraged because they know what they should be; but, faced with the reality of what they are, feel only failure and defeat. So they resort to deliverance. Victory is in the Cross. Be ready to lose your life and you will see the results… We can be weak in many areas, but still manifest the life of Christ. We are demon-free, and walking on that road to perfection; Glory to God! For a description of the works of the flesh, just look at the list in Galatians 5:19-21. And, let me tell you, you don’t need to be delivered from demons to give you victory over any of these things. Simply take up your Cross!
IDENTIFICATION WITH CHRIST
It’s important for us to understand the purpose of the message of the cross for our lives. We must be willing to be identified with the death of Christ in order to carry His life and be free. As soon as the Cross is set aside, we look for a short cut, or a substitute like deliverance, a kind of press-a-button Christianity. Yet in Galatians 2:20, Paul’s statement, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God…” is such a wonderful declaration of his way of life. Through the revelation he received, Paul learnt that he needed to identify his life with Christ’s, to deny himself, to crucify his flesh. He lived that revelation and was able to preach it; his life was a testimony of the transformation the Cross brings. The message of the Cross is a constant warning and a reminder that exposes the weakness of our flesh, and allows us to see our real state. It brings us to repentance, to deny ourselves, to return to the Cross once again.
So, dear brother or sister, if you are sure that deep down in your heart, your life is surrendered to Christ, then do not confuse the weaknesses of your flesh with being demon-possessed. You may be a weak Christian but you are nonetheless demon free. Hallelujah! That is why Apostle Paul spoke so much about the dangers of the flesh. He was fully aware of its weakness. Remember: “If the Son of man has set you free, you are free indeed!”
Used with permission from Joy Magazine