Christians do it all the time. They say things they think are in the Bible. “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” John Wesley supposedly said it in a 1778 sermon. But it’s not to be found in Scripture, as some suppose. “God helps those who help themselves.” Think that’s somewhere in Holy Writ? Wrong again. It’s probably traceable to ancient Greece and one of Aesop’s Fables. (Benjamin Franklin was also fond of the phrase.) Now try this one on for size: “Light and darkness can’t dwell together.” Many Christians really do believe it’s somewhere in the Bible, even though when pressed they can’t give a chapter and verse. Still, the argument is used to claim that Christians can’t have demons. “The Holy Spirit and an evil spirit can’t dwell together in the same vessel,” they piously insist. Really? Says who?
The nearest you’ll get to this is 2 Corinthians 6:14: What fellowship can light have with darkness? Let’s be real. This verse does not say light and darkness can’t coexist. It posits that they shouldn’t. Paul is telling us the way things should be, not what they can’t be. Be honest, if you think Christians can’t be demonized. You know about plenty of instances when light and darkness operated in the life of the same individual: the fallen pastor who once preached holiness and frequented prostitutes; the newly saved believer who habitually returned to drug abuse and suicidal attempts of self-destruction; the Christian leader who influenced many for the Gospel’s sake but who ended up in jail for fraud and thievery. The examples of light and darkness being present in the same person are legion. It’s disingenuous to suggest otherwise.
How can light and darkness exist simultaneously? When the spirit of a man is born again, no evil can ever live there, that’s true. But in the mind, thoughts, feelings, and emotions of the soul, it’s possible to entertain ideas and actions that are reprehensible. The solution is sanctification, the discipline of cleansing and purifying the soul by spiritual austerity and the progressive work of the Holy Spirit. But while on that journey to a surrendered life in Christ, there may be tormenting demons left over from an individual’s previous life of sin, remnants of disobedience that still plague the mind. Some of these challenges are the result of old patterns of sinful living. Sometimes, the hindrance comes from demons that were never dealt with at conversion, because it was assumed that salvation settled everything.
More in my next blog on this subject. Stay tuned!
An encouraging word: GOD’S WAYS ARE PERFECT
Admit it. You and I are prone to failures and bad decisions sometimes. If someone were to say they were perfect, we’d roll our eyes or call him a liar. Worse yet, we might lock him up as delusional. But God is perfect. The Bible says so in Psalm 18:30: As for God, His way is perfect. That’s a record that can’t be beaten. Without perfection, God couldn’t be God. And without his perfect ways, we’d all be lost without hope of eternal life. Plus, we’d have no way to find the right path through this life. I know this, when I’ve done things God’s ways, it turned out well. When I didn’t, well, you can imagine. If you are tempted to trust your own ideas as being better than what the Bible says, remember this. You aren’t perfect, and He is.
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