By: David F. Gray
QUESTION: Can a person having once been filled with the Holy Ghost and backslidden become inhabited by a devil, and be delivered and restored?
ANSWER: I realize the extreme sensitivity of your question from your accompanying letter. Before I answer directly, permit me to establish a Scriptural foundation.
First, one can receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost one time and one time only. An individual cannot be born spiritually twice any more than he can be born naturally twice.
When a man goes back into sin after receiving the Holy Ghost, the Spirit still remains to strive with him, although justification, power, and blessing are gone and he is lost. He is spoiled for the world and cannot enjoy it like he did before he was saved. Therefore he goes deeper and deeper in sin, trying to bury the guilt and condemnation which the Holy Ghost is bringing upon him. Nevertheless, God faithfully continues to deal with him in love, endeavoring to woo him back by bringing the condemnation
Each time he sins he tramples on the blood of Jesus and is doing despite unto the Spirit of grace (Hebrews 10:29). Each time he willfully sins (Hebrews 10:26), he pierces Christ again (the Christ nature planted within him) until finally he succeeds in crucifying Him afresh (Hebrews 6:6).
When this has finally taken place and the New Nature within him has been killed out, the man is reprobate (Romans 1:28). He is past feeling (Ephesians 4:19), and has become incapable of repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10). His heart is given over to unbelief (Hebrews 3:12-14). He has gone through God’s program and is doomed (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12).
It is a horrible thing to sin after receiving the Holy Ghost!
Now to your question. At any time after his first act of disobedience and rebellion against God, it is impossible for a man to give himself over to the devil to the extent he becomes demon possessed. Even then the Holy Ghost will continue to strive until he crosses the invisible line into a reprobate condition. However, when one becomes demon possessed, the devil must be cast out of him before he can be restored, for now he is not only under the power of his fleshly, carnal, rebellious nature, but also under the control of a demon power which has made him his slave. See 2 Timothy 2:25,26.
I cannot overemphasize the extreme danger that a backslider is in. He is a prey to demon power and could become possessed of the devil. But even in the event he does not become demon possessed, he is still in serious danger of crossing over into a reprobate state. These are terrible things to contemplate.
The question you ask, I am happy to say, can be answered in the affirmative: Yes, thank God, a person having once been filled with the Holy Ghost, who has backslidden and become devil possessed can be delivered and restored IF (and we must always remember this) he genuinely wants deliverance and turns in full repentance before it is too late, and IF he comes to God’s church and ministry so that the demon may be cast out through the power of the name of Jesus Christ. This is his only hope.
Let me say in closing that as long as God’s Spirit is striving it is God’s assurance that He will forgive at any time. But the problem is with the individual who persists in sinning. He may so harden his heart that he becomes incapable of repenting. But it’s wonderful to know that, as dear old Brother Denny used to say, “God’s all right!” See 1 John 1:9.
(The above material appeared in the July 1992 of The Gospel Tidings.)
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