“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.” (Luke 11:24-26)
This may seem to have changed topic, but it is continuing Jesus’ thought train. He had been talking to the Pharisees about casting out demons and which kingdom He’s from, iterating that those who aren’t for Him are against Him and that those who don’t gather with Him scatter. He’s now talking about a person who has been freed from demon possession and gets themselves cleaned up so to speak, but not filled with God, which just opens themselves up to even worse possession later. If they are not with Jesus, they are against Him and therefore prime real estate for the kingdom of darkness since they are not filled with light.
Now I want to preempt this by clearly stating that Christians cannot be possessed by demons. If someone has the Spirit of God dwelling inside of them, they are sealed as set apart to God and satan has literally no power or control over them. They are not of this world, they are living in it as a light of the world. Just as darkness cannot penetrate light since darkness is the literal absence of light, so too is a Christian who is in the light cannot have the demons of the kingdom of darkness dwelling in them simultaneously. Simply put, being bought and paid for by Jesus, as followers of Christ we belong to God and are not the possession of satan; therefore, a follower of Christ cannot be possessed by demons.
The State of a Person
This issue of the state of a person is an important one to know, even if you’re a Christian and therefore cannot be possessed by any demons. Why? Because you never know when you may come across a demon possessed person. If you were to come in contact with a demon possessed person, which is common when serving in homeless ministries for example, casting out a demon would only be half of the battle. After they’re free from possession, they still have sin to deal with. If they aren’t willing to surrender to Christ and receive salvation, they are then open to being possessed in a worse state than before.
We must remember the context in which Jesus says these things. Because Jesus is saying it’s not enough to simply cast a demon out of a person, they must be filled with Him in order to not be a clean vacancy that invites demons back in. Jesus is the stronger man who has authority to cast out demons AND completely redeem anyone who accepts His salvation.
Don’t Open the Door
By these verses, it appears that demons are at rest when possessing a person, and they look for vacancies. Now we know that a follower of Jesus cannot be possessed by demons, but what about non-believers, are they free game for demon possession? Well, that’s not an easily answered question where we have a clear bible verse on this, but if God allows man to have free will and doesn’t force salvation upon us in which we’d be filled with the Holy Spirit, then it’s reasonable to think that God would not allow satan to overpower our free will with demon possession either.
A person becomes available for demon possession when they open the door to demonic activities. Messing around with tarot cards, Ouija boards, occult practices, etc – these are all activities in which a person uses their free will to open the door to demonic spirits. We need to warn people, and especially children, not to dabble in these things.
So what is Jesus’ point here? The point is, if someone is freed from demon possession, they also need to be freed from the bondage of their sin to be truly free and the only way to do that is through Jesus.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36)