Binding and Loosing: What Did Jesus Mean?

Binding and Loosing- Introduction
In Matthew 18:18 Jesus said, “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Some people today claim that Jesus was telling us that we have power to “bind” the devil and his demons. Others claim that he was talking about “binding” sickness and poverty and “loosing” health and wealth.

Binding and Loosing- Context!
As always, let’s go to Rule #1 and look at the context. When Jesus spoke about binding and loosing in context, He was not talking about demons at all. Think about it. Did Jesus really mean that we have the power to loose demons as well as to bind them? Of course not.

Binding and Loosing- Church Discipline?
Nor did Jesus mean that we can loose wealth and health or bind poverty and sickness. In context, Jesus was clearly talking about church discipline. Those members of the church who sin and repent are to be “loosed” or in other words, restored to fellowship, while those who are unrepentant are to be “bound” or removed from fellowship (Matt. 18:15-17). Sickness, poverty, and demons are totally foreign to the context.

Binding and Loosing- No Authority to Bind Demons
But, as you might ask, is there perhaps some other biblical basis for binding sickness, poverty, or demons? The answer here again is a resounding and very clear no. Now there are clearly biblical principles which promote good health and material success. For example you can find many of them in the book of Proverbs and there are things we can do to protect ourselves from things like demonic interference and oppression. For instance, we can get back to basics — we can pray and meditate on God’s Word and we can resist the temptation of the evil one. But clearly we, as human beings, are not authorized anywhere in Scripture to bind demons. Nor do we have the power, conversely, to control our health and wealth by mere confession.

Binding and Loosing- Conclusion
Although we can greatly affect our physical and material well being through things like prudence, planning, and proper stewardship, ultimately we are dependent in every aspect of our lives on the sovereignty of God. In fact, the sovereignty of God is an overreaching principle of Scripture. When it comes to “binding and loosing”, let me urge Christians everywhere to loose themselves from a serious misunderstanding of the context of Matt. 18:18. Conversely, they should bind themselves to the clear teaching of Scripture. As always, when interpreting the Bible, remember — context – context – context.On “binding and loosing,” that’s the CRI Perspective. I’m Hank Hanegraaff.

MENU