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Question 20

Q: I’m in such despair and afraid that I have condemned myself for all eternity.

When I was around 12 years old, I became obsessed with the fear of selling or losing my soul to the devil. The chant “would you sell your soul to the devil for this, or that?” would run through my mind all the time. 

One night I woke up and there was a red light coming through the window onto my wall. I was petrified and my vivid imagination thought it was aliens or something as horrible. My mind kept saying “would you give your soul to the devil now to make the light go away and be safe?” I answered yes in the darkness. The next morning I was fearful of what I had done but never talked to my parents or anyone about it. I was sorry and have asked forgiveness from God.

Did I really give my soul to the devil when I did this? Does the devil have the power to take and keep my soul? I want so much to be a Christian and be with God but am so afraid that it is too late for me. Does a deal you made with the devil before becoming a Christian stop you from becoming a Christian? Or does it become void once you are a Christian?

Asked by: Peggy, Nebraska


A: Well, my dear friend Peggy, I’m so glad that you wrote and asked this question because even as I think about your letter, I can just feel your incredible distress over this.

Imagine, as a 12-year-old girl, doing this, telling no one, and having to bear that in your soul all by yourself. God bless you.

I believe that I have some words of hope for you, Peggy. To answer your question about the sins that you commit before you become a Christian, or “selling your soul to the devil,” as you think you might have done, that should not prevent you from becoming a Christian. In fact, you may already be a Christian based on what you have written.

God is stronger than the devil and if you’ve trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, the promise that you’ve made to the devil is instantly null and void because God has changed the ownership of your life from the Kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of His dear Son (Colossians 1:13). If Jesus is your owner, if Jesus is your Lord and King, then Satan may come and try to claim you, and insist that somehow you belong to him, but the promise you made as a 12-year-old is invalid. It was based on false assumptions.

Let me give you an illustration. Suppose when one of my daughters was twelve years old, an older boy with the intent of doing evil, talked her into leaving our family and becoming a member of the family next door. And so she made a vow that she would no longer be a Lutzer but a Smith (or whatever the name might be). If she came to us would we just say, “OK, you are now a Smith and they have a claim over you”? Of course not. She is still a Lutzer, and belongs to us and as her parents we would have declared her “vow” null and void. And so is your vow—it is also null and void. In fact, all vows made to the devil are illegitimate, because they are based on the premise that Satan has the right to own some people. Now, of course, some people make such foolish vows and the devil holds them to it, but they, strictly speaking, still belong to God by virtue of creation. The devil lies and tells them they owe him allegiance because of their “vow” but really they don’t. And if they came to Jesus and were reconciled to God, they would not only belong to God by virtue of creation but also by virtue of redemption. And that redemption price is the blood of Christ. Jesus becomes their “certificate” of ownership.

Now listen carefully, Peggy. If you’re a believer in Jesus, you belong to Jesus. Any promise that was made to the devil, any insistence by the devil that you should continue to give yourself to him, just rebuke it. And, because the devil doesn’t let go easily and wants to intimidate you, pray with others to free your memories and break the power of a false obligation. Get some good counseling to help you understand that you belong to Jesus.

Yes, the devil will want to continue to “collect” on your foolish promise, but you must insist on your victory and authority as a Christian that Satan has no claim on your life. God and His word are on your side. Accept these words of hope and move on.

Scripture references

  • Colossians 1:13
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