I shall be brave and firstly start off with this article by saying that there is a huge debate, as well as many people who have been hurt, with this belief in of binding and loosing in spiritual warfare.
When reading these verses in their context, a certain element and power, let alone authority and revelation, we find a meaning of reaping and sowing. And when it comes to our ministry we have with others, it becomes even clearer. How we help others as the Body of Christ, even as the Body helps itself when hurt, has consequences by understanding of these verses, let alone, the binding and loosing concept that is so prevalent within the charismatic movement.
Let us look at the word bound and loose in the Greek that is found in Matthew 16 and 18:
A primary verb; to bind (in various applications, literally or figuratively): – bind, be in bonds, knit, tie, wind. See also G1163, G1189.
A primary verb; to “loosen” (literally or figuratively): – break (up), destroy, dissolve, (un-) loose, melt, put off. Compare G4486.
This is a powerful belief. If we really do take this doctrine seriously, we are really teaching someone a doctrine, our belief, and they take it on, we are binding them to it, and they are binding themselves to it. We bind them to that idea and that idea can cause damage, or bring healing. I myself have had this happen to me. I’m thankful to God that I have been freed. And with loosing, we either destroy them, or destroy the very thing which was holding them captive. That is why it is important to understand the definitions Christ was using, that is, if we are taking this binding and loosing seriously.
First, I want to address a few observations: one: as anyone who chooses to read the Scriptures where Christ encountered the demonic, he never “bound” them, before casting them out, and he never cast them to any pit. We do not have a higher authority than Christ, so how can we do things different than him? Two: if binding and loosing were so important to spiritual warfare, why was it not written in any of the writings? If the verse in Matthew 18 is what some say it is, and all of what Christ did and who he is, and even the authority he has, is written in the New Testament writings, why isn’t this important concept expounded upon, like the effects of Christ’s death? And third, we’re told to resist Satan (James 4:6-8), never to attack. We do have power, but we’re not to rejoice that the demons submit, but to rejoice that our names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20). Does this mean we need to be careful of the songs we sing?
If we want to be serious about this binding scenario, we must take other scriptures into account, such as Jude 8-10, “In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings. But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do not understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals-these are the very things that destroy them.”
And of course, we shouldn’t forget how our Lord Jesus responded to Satan in the wilderness after his 40 days (Matthew 4:1-11).
So what about the binding of the strong man? That demonic spirit which has control over a person in Matthew 12:22-37? There was a man who was demon possessed whom the demon made blind and mute and Jesus healed him (22-23), the Pharisees than accused of driving out the demon by Beelzebub, the prince of demons (24). Then Jesus essentially rebuked them in his long reply, which we’ll look at closer (25-37).
In verses 25-28, we read Jesus is saying that any kingdom divided against itself will not stand. So neither Satan’s nor God’s kingdom is divided against itself. Essentially, the kingdom of God has come upon people when we see demons being driven out of people. So we realize more that Satan’s kingdom is of this world, and the kingdom of God has come to destroy it (Matthew 10:7, John 18:36, Ephesians 2:1-10, Colossians 1:3-14).
In verse 29, Christ is again, emphasizing this point, just with a different picture. In the NIV it reads, “Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house.” So, if this is Satan’s house, how was he bound? Through Christ’s death and resurrection! His authority has been destroyed, taken away from him by what Christ accomplished. And what are his possessions? The people he has kept in bondage! So why isn’t this emphasized more than the binding of demons which people are so into? I’ll bring up two points. One, they are either ignorant or not having faith enough in what Christ accomplished on the cross! Secondly, it’s a power trip, an ordering around of a spiritual being which has taken over people. These two points also go hand in hand. Since this is not a blog about spiritual warfare, I will leave this here. That is for another time.
As I was reading over this, and I am sure others have see it too, that what the Pharisees were doing were equating the work of God with the work of Satan. This is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (verses 30-32). We should also ask ourselves this to understand what I am trying to say, which spirit were the Pharisees of, and which spirit was Christ Jesus of? Verses 30-32 was only a reiteration of verses 25-28.
And last but not least, we read how careful we should be with our words. Verses 33-37 are a key component to how we should be with our lives. Are we speaking truth in love to others and ourselves? Are we watching over our tongue? Are we learning to watch what we say? Are we forgiving? Are we asking for forgiveness?
I am sure this blog might have stirred up some ideas, thoughts, maybe questioning me if I am judging a doctrine or teaching you hold dear, or maybe your way of life. But I am not. I am only, with prayerful consideration, writing out, sharing, and even doing my best to live life by the grace of God. What comes into my own heart from the Father, I have to deal with, and learn, and work through. The Body of Christ is to be a family. Families are not perfect, but that does not mean God is not. We continue to grow, whether we seem divided or not, but the main point is, that as long as the love of God, the love of Christ continues to help us grow and learn to live this life, to break bonds, to make amends, even that there is spiritual warfare, that love, as the world sees, is that light that seems to cower in the darkness of the kingdom of this world, shines bright.