Dealing with Demons (3)

This striking story illustrates several key truths about demons. They are dangerous. Evil spirits had horribly tormented these two men, so that they lived among tombs, far from human society. From Mark’s Gospel (5:1-20), we learn also that the demons caused the men to cry and cut themselves. The unclean spirit also gave the men such strength that they could not be bound, even by chains. In fact, the horrendous power of these demons later impelled an entire herd of pigs to hurl themselves to destruction. They are defective in their faith. Though they confess Jesus to be the Son of God, they do so with fear, not faith. As Jesus’ brother James would later write, “The demons believe - and tremble”(James 2:19). They acknowledge Jesus as Lord, but not with love or trust. On the contrary, their wickedness rightly arouses terror when they encounter the Holy Son of God. Their belief consists only in intellectual assent to the truth. Their defeat is certain. Despite their supernatural power, they are no match for Jesus. One simple command from Him, and they are expelled and sent into a herd of hogs. Indeed, casting out evil spirits formed a key component of Jesus’ earthly ministry (Matthew 8:16). He had come announcing the in breaking of the Kingdom of God (4:17). When the King arrives, He drives out His enemies. We too can defeat evil spirits. Through faith in the now-risen Christ, we can be “strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10). From earliest days, believers in Jesus as Lord have been able to exorcise evil spirits from afflicted souls and have won victory over their deceptive influence in their own lives. All we need for victory is a faith that moves beyond intellectual assent to the Lordship of Jesus to a sincere love for Him and trust in His saving grace.