Doctrines About Demons

Among the powers at work in our world are demonic powers. The doctrine about demons is famous among Pentecostal churches. We have churches that have specialized in casting out demons week in and out. The study of the origin and operation of Satan and demons is called demonology. Demons go by several names in the Bible, which include devils, unclean spirits, and evil spirits. All of the above terms refer to the same thing. A demon is a disembodied spirit of malevolent (evil) power and assignment; they seek to hinder God’s will and destroy man’s life. They work to make God look like a liar. 

The Nature of Demons

As mentioned earlier, demons are disembodied spirits seeking to possess a body. Human bodies give demons their most expansive range of expression (Mark 5:8, 9:25). Demons have personality traits. They are patient and well-planned, having strategies and intellect (Ephesians 6:11, 2 Corinthians 2:11, 1 Peter 5:8). Their first strategy is to attack the Word of God (Genesis 3:1). They are organized into rank and file (Ephesians 6:12). The demons are hopelessly evil and cannot be redeemed. They await their ultimate destruction (Matthew 8:29). Demons do have a will and desires (Matthew 12:43-45). They also have doctrines they seek to get into the Church (1 Timothy 4:1). Demons cannot be cast into hell as some pastors claim to do, nor do they come from hell. They are bound to the earth for this season. The Bible says they roam dry places when cast out (Matthew 12:43). 

Demon Possession

The term demon possession is often used to imply a state in which a person has lost complete voluntary control; the person has no remaining power left to choose right over wrong. Given this definition, we must affirm that Christians cannot be demon-possessed (Rom 6:14; Col 1:13), though they may fall under demonic attack or oppression (Luke 4:2; 2 Cor 12:7). A Christian can suffer a significant level of demonic attack or influence, mainly if they engage in ongoing sin or fail to pursue a healthy Christian life (Luke 22:31-32, 2 Corinthians 12:7-9, Job 1:6-12, 2:1-6). However, demons cannot possess Christians because the Holy Spirit dwells in the heart of the believer in Christ (1 John 4:4, 1 Peter 2:9, Acts 26:18). 

The demons ultimately want to possess humans. Non-believers are the ones at risk of being possessed because they have not been delivered from the domain of darkness (Acts 26:18, Colossians 1:13). Demon possession can cause physical ailments (inability to speak, epileptic symptoms, blindness, etc. (Matthew 9:32-33, Mark 9:17-18)); in other cases, the demon causes the individual to do evil (Judas is the primary example, Luke 22:3-6). In Acts 16:16-18, an evil spirit gave a slave girl some ability to know things beyond her learning (a spirit of divination); in the case of the demoniac of the Gadarenes who was possessed by a multitude of demons, he had superhuman strength, cut himself, went around naked, and lived among the tombstones (Mark 5:1-17). After rebelling against the Lord, King Saul was oppressed by an evil spirit (1 Samuel 16:14-15; 18:10-11; 19:9-10) that led him to pursue David to kill him. 

Should Believers Fear Demons? 

After reading about demon possession, one could fear them and their influence in their lives. Thinking about meeting the demoniac of the Gadarenes, who most likely had several thousand demons in him which aided him with incredible chain-breaking strength, is very intimidating (Mark 5:1-17). However, we have not been given a spirit of fear but of power (2 Timothy 1:7). We need to fight fear in our lives with faith, remembering that if we resist demonic forces firm in our faith, they will flee (1 Peter 5:7-11, James 4:7-8). Demons have no way of separating us from Christ (Romans 8:38-39), and Jesus said that we should fear him as opposed to demons (Matthew 10:28). Therefore we shouldn’t worry about the security of our souls because of demonic forces. 

Even if demonic forces are involved in our death, we shouldn’t fear because we will be automatically transferred to heaven (Philippians 1:21). Jesus has total control over demonic forces, to the point that the gates of hell cannot overpower the church of which you’re a member if you’re in Christ (Matthew 16:18). The power of our Savior is incredible against demonic forces, to the point that we see them beg Jesus not to cast them in hell. The book of Job also teaches us that demonic forces are subject to the absolute authority of God (Job 1-2). Preach truths to yourself: you have been transferred from the domain of darkness (Colossians 1:13), and you are no longer in the power of Satan (Acts 26:18). Remember also that Jesus, your Saviour and Lord, has disarmed and ashamed demonic forces through canceling your record of sin on the cross (Colossians 2:13-15). With these truths in mind, we should not fear demonic forces but walk in confident faith that we’re in Christ. Even if demonic forces oppress us as they did with Job, it can be used for good (1 Peter 5:8-11, Romans 8:28-39). 

Waging War in the Spiritual Realm

The Bible has admonished Christians to put on the armour of God to wage a good war against the dark kingdom (Ephesians 6:10-18). James 4:7 teaches Christians to submit to God, to resist the devil, and that he will flee. He will run from us. To resist means to set oneself against. We must be against everything evil and demonic. 1 Peter 5:9 calls us to resist steadfastly. The enemy will flee, but be prepared for a return visit. Ephesians 6:11 teaches us to stand against the schemes or strategies of the devil. God has given us the shield of faith to quench the devil’s darts (Ephesians 6:16). We are to extinguish thoughts that don’t align with God’s word as soon as they come to us (2 Cor. 10:4-6). Many people struggle with forgiving others, but 2 Corinthians 2:10-11 calls us to be aware that walking in forgiveness is not optional but a must to keep Satan from taking advantage of us and outwitting us (Ephesians 4:26-27). In fact, unforgiveness is one of the enemy’s schemes in holding us hostage (2 Cor. 2:11). Therefore, we must know our enemy and his schemes to wage a good war. 

Ministering to those Possessed with Demons

Through Christ, believers possess the authority to rebuke demons and command them to leave (Lk 9:1; 10:17–19). Jude 9 does not limit this ability; Jude instructs believers to act only within the bounds of their God-given authority (Jude 6–10). Our God-given authority to resist the Devil (James 4:7; Eph 6:10–18) finds its basis in Christ’s work on the cross (Heb 2:14; Col 2:15). In our lives, this may take the form of a brief spoken command in the name of Jesus Christ or more commonly through prayer (Mark 9:29). When Christians minister to others in the area of spiritual warfare, a few things will prove helpful: 

  1. Our conversation and behaviour must encourage confidence rather than fear (1 Cor 14:33; 2 Tim 1:7). 
  2. We should avoid communicating with demonic forces; instead, we should focus on ministering to our fellow believers with the truth of Scripture. 
  3. We must avoid an inappropriate level of curiosity and fascination with demons.
  4. We must encourage non-believers to accept Christ immediately (Matt 12:43–45). 
  5. We must take heed for our spiritual health, or we will find ourselves weak in spiritual warfare (Matt 17:18–20).

The body of Christ needs to become sensitive to the reality of the unseen realm. The enemy exists to oppose the work of God and his plans. Jesus was involved in casting out demons, and the disciples were aware of the reality of a dark kingdom. Therefore, the Church cannot ignore this reality since the enemy is still here with us. 

Reference

https://africa.thegospelcoalition.org/article/demons/

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