What Does “Binding and Loosing” Mean, and How Should We Do This?

Contributing Writer
What Does “Binding and Loosing” Mean, and How Should We Do This?

There are many people running around today binding and loosing things. They are binding things up and loosing things all in the name of Jesus. This often happens when they are in prayer. I want you to think with me for a moment, what does binding and loosing really mean, and is it being used properly? Keep reading because the answer may surprise you.

When someone like this chooses to willfully continue to live in sin, after identifying with Jesus, the church has the right after addressing this person to remove them from the fellowship. This is what the binding and loosing mean in this passage.

I want you to pay attention to what is mysteriously absent. There is no mention of demons, sickness, wealth, angels, or anything else people tie to binding and loosing. Let’s now look at the other passage in Matthew.

Old skeleton keys

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As you read this remember the question, what is the context?

There are a few things mentioned here we need to pay attention to:

- The Messiah

- Building the church

- The kingdom of heaven

- Keys

When Jesus talks about binding and loosing in this context, he is talking about building his church and the kingdom of God. First of all, Peter identifies Jesus as the Messiah, which means the anointed one. Jesus then tells Peter that on this rock, meaning the truth that he is the Messiah, he is going to build his church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. Jesus then mentions keys, which signifies authority. Keys can lock (bind) and unlock (loose).

It appears that Peter directly – and indirectly the disciples – have been given the keys to accept (loose) or reject (bind) people coming into the kingdom. How is this possible? The key to the kingdom, or what gives a person access to the kingdom of heaven, is Jesus the Messiah. When the gospel is preached, those who receive Jesus are given access to the kingdom (loosed or permitted) and those who reject Jesus are not given access to the kingdom (bound or forbidden). This is the primary focus of this passage.

When you read this, you might assume that heaven is responding to what we are doing, when in reality we are responding to what has already been decided in heaven. Here is another rendering of this verse that brings more clarity.

We are binding and loosing what has already been declared in heaven. The authority given here was to make the gospel available to all, which would give them access to the kingdom of heaven. 

To understand this, we must look at the whole New Testament. When dealing with Satan or any demonic activity, where do you see Jesus or any of the other disciples, apostles, or anyone else for that matter binding or loosing? When they dealt with demons, they didn’t bind them or loose them, they cast them out. We have that same authority.

Also binding and loosing, as you can see here, has nothing to do with sickness, poverty, health, healing, calling forth angels, or any other ways binding and loosing are often used. This is by no means meant to diminish the reality of spiritual warfare because it is very real, it is just to emphasize and make sure we are using the tools in our arsenal in the manner for which they are authorized.

Hopefully you have a better perspective on this, and I recognize it is possible you may have a different one. Feel free to reach out if you have a different perspective. The goal is to study the Scriptures so we can get the truth from God’s word and apply it to our lives the way God intended.

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Clarence Haynes 1200x1200Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club.  He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. His most recent book is The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. Clarence is also committed to helping 10,000 people learn how to study the Bible and has just released his first Bible study course called Bible Study Basics. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com