What is binding and loosing? I hear people pray or talking about “binding Satan”, “loosing finances” or “binding sickness”. Is this Biblical? Are Christians supposed to “bind and loose”?
(note: I wrote a specific lesson about “binding Satan” here: https://www.seriousfaith.com/asr/question.asp?questionid=1236)
The terms “binding and loosing” have been used in the past couple of decades in the prosperity, “word faith” teaching. It is very common to hear someone “bind Satan” (sometime they loose angels), “bind sickness” (loose health) or “bind poverty” (loose finances).
One of the common Bible verses that is totally misinterpreted to support this is Matt 18:18:
“And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Obviously, there is something about binding and loosing for Christians, so what is it, what does it mean, and when/if should we do it?
Binding and loosing are legal terms much like a Judge makes a pronouncement about who was guilty (bound) or not (loosed). It is a statement of authority. The Judge speaks on behalf of the Law, and can say what will happen (loose) and what won’t happen (bind)… he declares, or applies the Law
In Matt 18:15-20, Jesus gives Peter, and by extension all Believers, the authority to “bind and loose” within the scope of Biblical guidelines. In summary, it has to do with church authority and discipline of the unrepentant but professing Believer:
Matthew 18:15-20 (NKJV)
15 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.
16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’
17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.
18 “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
19 “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.
20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
Likewise, the same authority is confirmed by Jesus after his death , appearing to the disciples:
John 20:23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (the same principles of authority as bind and loose)
The errors in Christian teaching today, such as “binding Satan” or “binding sickness” comes from the practice of PROOF TEXTING. Proof texting is taking a Bible verse out of context, and interpreting it by itself. For example, take this verse:
Matthew 18:19 “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. (NKJV)
By itself, you could interpret it to mean that when any two Believers agree on something in prayer, God will grant it. In fact, this verse is routinely used to teach exactly that, especially in the “prosperity” teaching of the Word Faith movement. However, in context, this verse is talking about church discipline. Correctly interpreted in context, it means that when two or more Believers have gone through the steps of disciplining a brother or sister who is sinning and will not repent, those two or more Believers can agree that the sinner should be put outside of the fellowship of Christians.
Avoiding any proof texting, and considering “binding and loosing” in context, it means this:
- That a group of genuine Believers, in keeping and following God’s Word, have the authority to declare that an unrepentant person is no longer part of the Assembly, and the sins they are unrepentant of, are not forgiven (binding)
- The Believers are not actually the ones who can forgive or not, or makes the actual decisions about a person’s standing with God… they are declaring what God has already said about that person.
- Much like the Judge declares what the LAW has already determined about an offender, authority is given to Believers to pronounce what God has already declared in heaven is true about putting a sinner out of fellowship if they refuse to repent
- When the person does repent, the Believers restore the person (loose, forgive)
- Because they are doing so according to God’s commands, whatever they “bind on earth” is already “bound in heaven” (same for loosing); Christians declaring judgment in accordance to Scripture declare what heaven already declares.
It has nothing to do with “binding sickness” or “binding poverty”. It certainly has nothing to do with “binding Satan”. Binding Satan is simply not Biblical. Again, for a lesson about binding Satan, see https://www.seriousfaith.com/asr/question.asp?questionid=1236.
At this point, I often get emails that say something like “well, I actually [put your experience here], and you can’t tell me it didn’t work, or wasn’t real”. Folks, we don’t interpret the Bible or determine truth by our personal experiences. Quite the opposite, we must evaluate our personal experiences by the unchanging standard of Scripture. So if you “loosed finances” and received some financial blessing, it was in spite of this unBiblical practice. If you said “I bind sickness” and someone got healthy, or healed, it wasn’t because of your “binding”. Our experience neither changes what the Bible says, or adds to it.
We need to remember that sometimes the ENEMTY can also respond to these unBiblical practices in hope of continuing our wrong belief or false teaching.
Recently I wrote a clear and Biblical answer showing that the “slain in the Spirit” experience we see today is not Biblical. In fact, it is contrary to Scripture as well as easily being shown to be a psychosomatic technique often used by those who are good at working crowds and creating expectations of “spiritual experience”. I received many emails saying I was wrong, not based on a Scripture, but simply because those readers had “experienced” it, and was SURE it was real, and therefore Biblical. One reader emphatically declared (and unsubscribed) saying that it was obvious I have never experienced anything truly spiritua. You’ll note that I never question the INDIVIDUAL and their experience… that is between them and God. However, it’s another to evaluate the PRACTICE and the TEACHING according to Scripture.
I’m amazed (not really) that anyone who searches the Scriptures to see if something is truly of God, is quickly labeled as “unspiritual”, stuffy, legalistic or “closed” to the supernatural. The Bible declares this discernment as a Godly quality (Acts 17:11), while much of Christianity declares it to be divisive or unloving.
I’ll trust God’s Word, not my experiences… or yours.