Can a Christian have a demonic spirit in them that needs to be cast out?
According to the Bible, a Christian can be carnal (unspiritual in their behavior and thinking), a Christian can harden their heart, a Christian can commit sin, a Christian can be tempted and yield to Satan, a Christian can yield to the lusts of their flesh, but there is no example, instruction, or any hint anywhere in the New Testament of a Christian having a demonic spirit cast out of them – not a single text.
Christians have been delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son (Colossians 1:13-14), and have been given authority over demons.
The authors of the New Testament epistles (the letters written to believers) address demonic influence in the lives of believers from the vantage point of repentance, instruction in righteousness, correction, sound doctrine, and submitting to God in obedience and faith. There is not a single time in which the authors of the New Testament epistles articulate the need for deliverance by having a demon cast out. The language is always that of articulating what God has done in Christ, and the Christian’s call to the obedience of the faith.
For example, Paul writes to the Corinthians describing them as carnal because of the envy, strife, and divisions among them. The Corinthians had all sorts of issues that modern day deliverance ministries would quantify as demonic activity in need of deliverance.
In his second letter to the Corinthians Paul gives a laundry list of sins prevalent among the Corinthians: quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder (2 Corinthians 12:20). Paul also addresses their indifference to sexual sin, irreverence for the Lord’s supper, and misuse of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Paul says the following regarding the Lord’s Supper:
But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not. ~ 1 Corinthians 11:17-22 ESV
Paul later tells them the following:
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world. So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another— if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home—so that when you come together it will not be for judgment. About the other things I will give directions when I come. ~ 1 Corinthians 11:27-34
Paul never addresses the issues among the Corinthians from the position of deliverance from demons. Instead Paul addresses their sin, their carnality, their idolatry, and in his rebuke reminds them that they are the temple of God and that God will judge them if they do not judge themselves
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. ~ 1 Corinthians 3:16-16
Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. ~ 1 Corinthians 6:15-20
The Corinthians needed correction and spiritual discipline. They had already been delivered from the power of darkness but now needed to learn how to live holy and godly lives because God would judge them if they did not serve him with reverence and godly fear. In fact Paul does not speak of casting devils out of any of the Corinthians. On the contrary, Paul expressed that he had delivered one of them over to Satan for the destruction of their flesh so that their spirit could be saved in the day of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 5:3-5).
Paul had spiritual oversight of the Corinthians, and rather than casting the devil out of a believer living in unrepentant fornication, he turned them over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh so they would call on God in repentance. The deliverance that a Christian needs is not that of having a demon cast out. It is that of repentance, renewing their commitment to God, renewing their minds, believing the truth, growing in faith, growing in grace, and growing in the knowledge of Christ.
With regards to any kind of oppression, depression, loneliness, fear, etc., among our fellow Christians, we are called to comfort the feeble minded and support the weak (1 Thessalonians 5:14) not cast devils out of them.
In 2 Corinthians 6 Paul reminds the Corinthians that they are God’s temple and not the devil’s.
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. ~ 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
Paul then tells the Corinthians this – Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. ~ 2 Corinthians 7:1
The Corinthians needed to understand that if they did not live for God in a manner that was reverent, God himself would judge them. Consider that Paul actually has to tell them that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed (1 Corinthians 12:3).
Throughout the New Testament we are given instructions regarding how we are to confront the devil. Never are Christians called on to cast out demons from other Christians. Instead, we are called to give no place to the devil (Ephesians 4:27), submit to God and resist the devil (James 4:7) and resist the devil steadfast in the faith (1 Peter 5:7).
Those who go around doing deliverance on Christians are not promoting sound doctrine, nor are they promoting the truth in Christ according to the gospel.
Dear Christian, you are the temple of the Holy Spirit because you have been purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ. God is your Father and you have been delivered from the power of darkness into the kingdom of God’s dear Son. If you are struggling with sin, fear, or any other form of oppression, you do not need a demon cast out of you. You need time with God. You need to grow in your faith, grow in his grace, grow in the knowledge of his word, and seek to live a godly and pure life before God, and God will help you.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. ~ James 4: 7-10