Modern skeptics dismiss the accounts of demon possession in the Bible as ancient mistaken beliefs due to a lack of modern medical knowledge. However, the New Testament accounts make a distinction between those who were merely diseased and those who were possessed by demons (Mk. 1:32). No doubt the New Testament also describes physical and mental effects demon possession had on the possessed (Mt. 9:32; 12:22; 17:15; Mk 9:18; Lk. 8:27; 9:39; et. al), but this was more than mere sickness.
Demons recognized the identity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Mk. 1:24; Lk. 4:34). He commanded them to leave the possessed person (Mt. 8:16), keep quiet (Mk. 1:34), and flee where He allowed (Mt. 8:31-32; Mk. 5:13-14). They did this not out of loving obedience, but out of fearful, shuddering recognition of His authority (James 2:19). This showed Jesus as Lord of the spiritual realm. He could keep even the worst forms of evil in check. Jesus stated the purpose of His casting out demons thusly: “But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace. But when a stronger than he comes upon him and overcomes him, he takes from him all his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoils.” (Lk. 11:20-22.)
Mark 5:2-4 presents the record of a demon-possessed man who could not be bound, not even with shackles and chains for he broke them in pieces. All human effort to restrain him proved futile, but Jesus cured him. Modern skeptics also reject the notion that there is a spiritual, evil personality called the devil. The Bible, however, clearly warns: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). Modern people may devise all sorts of techniques and programs to advance human goodness, but unless the tempter who entices men to sin is acknowledged and dealt with, then all these efforts will prove as effective as the chains on the man in Mark 5 before He met Jesus.
Jesus came to earth to destroy the power of the devil (Heb. 2:14). Victory over sin and death has been accomplished by Jesus’ substitutionary death and resurrection from the grave (Rom. 4:25; 1 Cor. 15:3-5, 57; 1 Pet. 2:24). What Jesus provides—and what we so desperately need—is freedom from spiritual slavery to sin (Jn. 8:34-36; Rom. 6:5-14). Falling out with sin to serve the Lord Jesus is our only hope to overcome evil. Sin may be a joke to many, but the awful reality is it leads to death (Rom. 6:23; James 1:15). God does not allow the devil to override your free will nor displace your autonomy; instead, temptations are placed before you with a way to escape (1 Cor. 10:13). We must choose the way of escape rather than succumbing to the temptation.
Do not confine your line of thinking to only physical, emotional, and social considerations. Too often people dismiss the spiritual aspect of mankind and the warnings of the Bible as unworthy of consideration. Be awake spiritually and recognize that fleshly lusts war against your soul (1 Pet. 2:11).