Have you ever heard someone explain a commonly misunderstood concept, and then your new understanding seems to haunt you? Such is the case for me when it comes to “Binding and Loosing,” which many Christians talk about but few understand.
When I was around 11 years old, a minister visited our church and spoke about these two words. Like a good little Christian, I went home and researched the message for myself, and it checked out. Believe it or not, most of us have a completely backwards understanding of these terms.
Here’s the origin:
Matthew 18:18,19 – “I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” (NIV)
We very often use this verse to justify phrases like this:
- “I bind you, Satan.”
- “I loose the Holy Spirit”
- “Father, bind the enemy”
- “Lord, loose peace”
The list could go on, but you get the idea. The problem is that we’ve been basing our understanding of these words on the English definition rather than the original Greek.
In the Greek, the word “bind” is “deo,” which means to knit, tie, and wind–like “binding” a Christmas tree to the roof of your car or “binding” together the pages of a book. It is a matter of tight connection. This verse isn’t instructing us to “bind” the devil. Acts 20:22 uses the word “deo” correctly when Paul says, “And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there” (NKJV). Jesus’ original instruction was saying to knit ourselves with, tie ourselves to, and wind ourselves around His Holy Spirit.
As for the word “loose,” the Greek word is “luo.” We seem to use this instruction from Jesus to “loose the Holy Spirit” before a meeting, etc. I don’t know who decided this is what it meant, but I didn’t know the Holy Spirit was stuck! In reality, the Greek word “luo” means to break up–to destroy, dissolve, loose, and melt.
We now see that Christ is giving us the power to destroy the forces of darkness–not just tie them up! Whatever we destroy, dissolve, and melt on earth will be destroyed in heaven! When we cast out an evil spirit on earth, that spirit has also lost any audience it might have in heaven! If we “luo” that spirit here, we “lou” it there! That spirit cannot approach God (like Satan did in the book of Job) and barter for the right to attack a person spiritually. To “luo” is to destroy!
To see this word used in a different context, pay attention to the words “destroy” and “destruction” in 2 Peter 3:11,12: “Since everything will be destroyed [luo] in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction [luo] of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.”
Now that’s luo!
Overall, Jesus is really talking about the spiritual pacts we make; are we knitting ourselves with God and destroying the demons all around us, or are we tying ourselves to evil spirits and dissolving our connections with God? Christ gave us the power to bind and to loose spiritual things. This is the power to attach and destroy. It is the prerogative of the Holy Spirit to become intimately enmeshed into our lives. On the same token, though, it is the objective of Satan to attain that same goal.
Who are we binding ourselves to?
Who are we destroying?
Bind yourself to the Holy Spirit and live according to His cadence.
Galatians 5:24,25—Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (NIV)