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Why some exorcists won't get into Heaven

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Jesus said certain things that are difficult to accept. For example, man naturally assumes that the majority of people will go to Heaven. Jesus, however, said that many are on the broad road to Hell, and only a few are on the narrow road that leads to life (Matthew 7:13-14).

Another example. When Jesus said that believers eat his flesh and drink his blood, “many of his disciples said, ’This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?’” (see John 6:35-60). I addressed this spiritual eating in my CP op-ed, “Consuming Christ’s Flesh and Blood.”

One more. Christ revealed that some exorcists won’t get into Heaven. Here again, it leaves us scratching our head.

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Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in Heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:21-23).

In order for an exorcist to make it into Heaven, Jesus said he must “do the will of my Father who is in Heaven” (Matthew 7:21). The Lord was once asked, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:28-29).

It is impossible to do the will of God prior to being converted. Unbelievers remain outside of God’s family because man’s best efforts do not wash away a single sin. “If righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (Galatians 2:21).

It is incredibly revealing to see the response of those exorcists in Matthew 7 who didn't make it into Heaven. They did not point to the cross and say something like, “But Lord, we trusted in your death for the forgiveness of our sins. We relied upon the blood you shed on the cross to wash our sins away.”

Instead, they pointed to their works and the exorcisms they performed. They trusted in their deeds to get into Heaven. They relied upon the law for salvation, rather than the Gospel. Therefore, none of their works were pleasing in God’s sight. “Without faith, it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6).

This explains why some exorcists won’t get into Heaven. A person must be saved, redeemed, born again, forgiven and justified by the blood of Jesus through faith in the Savior to get into Heaven. “In him (Christ) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Ephesians 1:7). “Since we have now been justified by his blood ...” (Romans 5:9). Jesus said, “You must be born again” (John 3:7).

Some religious workers, including exorcists, are tempted to assume that doing helpful things for others justifies them before God and earns them entrance into Heaven. But nothing could be further from the truth. As the Apostle Paul explained to the Christians in Ephesus: “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

I wouldn’t be surprised if the devil is unfazed by some of the exorcisms that take place. After all, if an exorcist is teaching the soul-enslaving doctrine of works righteousness, the exorcist remains a useful weapon in Satan’s arsenal. And as much as Satan wants demons to possess as many people as possible, the devil’s higher priority is to maliciously and cleverly usher an even larger number of people to Hell.

If exorcisms are performed by someone who is also spreading “doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1), then Satan may see it as a net gain. The exorcisms create the illusion that everything the exorcist believes and teaches must be true. But that is not always the case. 

Those in Matthew 7:23 who were driving out demons were told by the Lord, “I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers!” Why? Because they failed to believe the good news of the Gospel. They were self-righteous, rather than “Christ-righteous.”

And consider those in Acts 19:13-16. “Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, ‘In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.’ Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. The evil spirit answered them, ‘Jesus I know and Paul I know about, but who are you?’ Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.”

Attempting to cast out demons without Jesus living on the inside of you is a very dangerous undertaking. The Apostle Paul joyfully proclaimed: “Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). Does Christ live in you?

Regardless of the number of demon possessions and exorcisms that take place, the fate of the devil is sealed. Jesus won the victory by his death on the cross. “Having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Colossians 2:15).

Satan realizes what the cross and Christ’s empty tomb mean for his future. “And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Revelation 20:10).

There is no getting around it. Satan’s fate is sealed, as is the eternal torment that awaits every demon. Once when Jesus came across two demon-possessed men, the demons cried out: “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” (Matthew 8:29). Every fallen angel realizes that their eternal punishment is just around the corner.

Meanwhile, no one gets into Heaven by being an exorcist, but only by repenting of your sins and trusting Jesus to wash you clean with the blood he lovingly shed for you on the cross. What a wonderful Savior, and what amazing grace.

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska. 

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