Of Demons and Sin

By Roger Marshall*

We are living in a time when many Christians have demonised sin. Hence we hear terms such as demons/spirits of lust, demons/spirits of envy, demons/spirits of hatred, demons/spirits of jealousy, demons/spirits of anger, demons/spirits of greed, and even demons of gluttony etc. which need to be cast out of the believer if the believer is to live a victorious Christian life.

However, the Bible describes mankind’s sinful habits, practices and attitudes as an inherently human problem. Personal evil stems from one giving into or following the dictates of one’s own evil desires which emits from the fallen human nature. As Jer. 17: 20 says: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jesus reiterated this fact when he said: “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’ ” (Mk. 7: 20-23, NIV) James picks up the same point when he wrote: “When tempted, one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he temp anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (James1: 13-15). Notice the Bible does not say that these evils result in the life because of indwelling demons but rather because of indwelling sin nature. Satan appeals to the fallen nature as he tempts man to give in to all the dictates of the sin nature.

The Bible teaches that these sins are habits which believers need to stop doing by putting off the deeds of the old man (i.e. the sinful nature) and putting on the new man (i.e. the new redeemed nature controlled by the Holy Spirit) See: Gal. 5: 16-26; Eph 4: 17-32; Col. 3: 1-10; Heb. 12: 1-2. There are no instructions in the Bible to have demons cast out of the believers to help them overcome any besetting sin. Furthermore the Bible teaches that Satan and his angels/demons are outside the believer not inside! As 1 John 4: 4 says: Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

*Roger Marshall is executive director of Project PROBE Ministries a Barbadian Christian apologetics organisation.