Known to the Demons

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, June 17, 2015 1 comments

by Logan Ames

There is a popular question that has been asked in Sunday morning sermons, in books, and in movies. If you were in a place where Christianity was illegal and you were put on trial and accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? This is something that every person who claims to be a Christ-follower must examine. It’s not really something that those around you can decide, so don’t rely on your reputation and don’t get down on yourself if others say you are “not Christian enough." However, it is important to look at your own life and honestly evaluate whether your life reflects what you say you believe. There are far too many people in churches who assume their eternity is secure based on nothing more than how they were raised or how many years they have been coming to church.

In Romans 8:1-4, Paul begins by sharing the wonderful promise that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (v. 1). But what is meant by the phrase “in Christ Jesus”? Some Bible translations have the phrase “who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” as the qualifier for this promise. If you click on the link above and read the passage in the NIV, you’ll notice that it agrees with most other translations which place the phrase at the end of verse 4. It’s almost like some translators couldn’t bear the thought that Paul would have suggested there is no condemnation for believers regardless of their continued sins, so they added the qualifier themselves. But the truth is that the gift of salvation is free for those who confess Jesus as Lord and believe that he was raised from the dead by God (Romans 10:9). There are no other requirements. But it doesn’t end there. If it did, we would automatically be transported to heaven immediately following our confession of Christ.

We still have the rest of our lives and we still have to answer the question of what it means to be IN Christ Jesus. For this, let’s go to what Jesus himself said. In John 15:1-13, he shares with his disciples what it means to remain in him as the branches stay attached to the vine. He states that we can do nothing apart from him, but can bear much fruit IN him (v. 5). In verse 10, he says that remaining in his love means to keep his commands. Then in verse 12, he tells them that his command is to “love one another as I have loved you." Are you following the train of thought from Jesus to Paul? To remain IN Jesus means to keep his commands, especially to love each other. If we do that, there is NO condemnation even when we slip up along the way!

This does not mean, however, that love is tolerating everything and always making sure people feel good. True love “does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6). So, to remain IN Christ Jesus means to love one another while also understanding and obeying the truth of his other commands. Even though none of us can do this perfectly, Paul promises that we will not be condemned. God is merciful to us and may allow us to suffer consequences so that we get back on track, repent, and change our ways. But he will not condemn us.

A great example of God allowing consequences that were designed to bring about repentance and not condemnation is found in a passage I came across this past week in Acts 19. The same Paul who speaks to us in Romans was doing ministry in the town of Ephesus, whose people were known for their sorcery and superstition to the point where even some of the believers still held on to such practices. In verse 13, we see that some of the Jews who had obviously witnessed the miraculous work of God through Paul tried to duplicate it by driving out evil spirits. However, they did so by saying, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out." Finally, there came a day when the evil spirit actually spoke up and answered these guys and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” (v. 15) Isn’t that amazing? Paul remained IN Jesus and the evil spirit knew about him because of that relationship. The other guys tried to get the same result Paul had, but because they had no relationship with Jesus, the evil spirit had no clue who they were and they had no authority over it. The spirit promptly beat them so badly that they ran away “naked and wounded” (v. 16). Because of God’s mercy, these men were not killed and the event became known all over the city and resulted in many believers confessing their sins and burning their sorcery books regardless of their great value (vv. 17-19).

It was dangerous for these men to try to take on the dark forces of the spiritual realm without the authority of Jesus. Maybe they didn’t care. Maybe they thought that because they know a little bit about Jesus and heard about his teachings, that was “good enough." We need to accept that there is a big difference between having a personal relationship with Jesus and knowing who he is because someone in your life taught you about him. Before we laugh at or condemn these guys, we need to think about what allows us to remain IN Christ Jesus. Do you consider yourself “saved” because your parents raised you in a Christian home or because you’ve always gone to church? Or do you have a personal relationship with Jesus through his Spirit and by obeying his commands? In other words, do the demons know who you are?

If you do not know that you have a relationship with Jesus, feel free to contact any of the blog writers through this website or on Facebook to discuss it further. The promise made through Paul in Scripture is that anyone who does remain in that relationship with him will not be condemned even when they have failed. But without remaining IN him, we leave ourselves open to condemnation from God. Others’ opinions of us won’t matter because God gets the final say. Look at the evidence in your life. Living according to the Spirit and not the flesh is not a condition for that promise, but it’s the natural result of the life of one who remains IN Christ. As we saw last week, Jesus defeated the flesh and we are no longer held captive by it. We have been set free from the laws of sin and death (Romans 8:2). Life is not easy, but remaining IN that relationship with the one who already won the victory over anything and everything you could face gives you power that you can’t have without him. Let the demons get to know you, because they already know their place and they can’t touch you thanks to Jesus.

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Charlie said...

Awesome post. I really love that passage in Acts 19 because it really hammers the point. Do you know Jesus on a personal level and are you acting on that faith to a point where the enemy sees you as a serious enough threat to know your name? Most who call themselves Christians want to be saved but do not want to be known by demons because that means they will have to fight battles constantly. If you are not a threat to the enemy, he will leave you alone for the most part, unless you are living a life that is useful to him. Let us live our lives in such a way the enemy is forced to take action on us. Because if he is focused on us, he will not be able to focus those he is able to devour.