Matthew 18 (NLT) “15If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.
16But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. 17If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector. 18I tell you the truth, whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven. 19I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you.
Matthew 18:17-18 (KJV) “17And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. 18Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven”
“Binding and Loosing”
This instruction or authority was first given to Apostle Peter before now being given to the Church as a Body.
Matthew 16:19 “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven”
Now there is nowhere in the scriptures where Peter was Binding the devil with these keys given to him. What we know that he used the keys for was to open the door of the kingdom to the Jews on the day of Pentecost and later on to the Gentiles in the house of Cornelius.
In the words of Dr. Lightfoot, “The phrases to bind and to loose were Jewish, and most frequent in their writers. It belonged only to the teachers among the Jews to bind and to loose. When the Jews set any apart to be a preacher, they used these words, ‘Take thou liberty to teach what is BOUND and what is LOOSE.’”
By implication here in our passage whatever Peter or the Church should do in accordance with the directions of Christ, and in obedience to his will, would be ratified in heaven.
So here was a fellow who will not submit to the verdict and plea of the Church for peace, He now says let him be treated as an unbeliever. What is that supposed to mean? Let him be excommunicated. Period! Why? Because such a fellow is not working in the light of the Spirit of Christ which is peace and so will distract from the norms.
So, binding and loosing has to do with admission to and rejection from the membership of the Church. This agrees with the words of John Wesley;
“Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth-By excommunication, pronounced in the spirit and power of Christ. Or Whatsoever ye shall loose-By absorbing from that sentence shall be rectified in heaven.”
In the early Church, absorption meant no more than a discharge from Church censure or punishment.
Now Paul gave us a very clear example of this ‘Binding and Loosing’ as touching a brother in the Corinthian Church.
1 Corinthians 5 (GNT) “1Now, it is actually being said that there is sexual immorality among you so terrible that not even the heathen would be guilty of it. I am told that a man is sleeping with his stepmother! 2How, then, can you be proud? On the contrary, you should be filled with sadness, and the man who has done such a thing should be expelled from your fellowship. 3-4And even though I am far away from you in body, still I am there with you in spirit; and as though I were there with you, I have in the name of our Lord Jesus already passed judgment on the man who has done this terrible thing. As you meet together, and I meet with you in my spirit, by the power of our Lord Jesus present with us, 5you are to hand this man over to Satan for his body to be destroyed, so that his spirit may be saved in the Day of the Lord”
That was a Binding of the brother and see what follows in 2 Corinthians 2 (GNT)
“5Now, if anyone has made somebody sad, he has not done it to me but to all of you — in part, at least. (I say this because I do not want to be too hard on him.) 6It is enough that this person has been punished in this way by most of you. 7Now, however, you should forgive him and encourage him, in order to keep him from becoming so sad as to give up completely. 8And so I beg you to let him know that you really do love him. 9I wrote you that letter because I wanted to find out how well you had stood the test and whether you are always ready to obey my instructions. 10When you forgive people for what they have done, I forgive them too. For when I forgive — if, indeed, I need to forgive anything — I do it in Christ’s presence because of you 11in order to keep Satan from getting the upper hand over us; for we know what his plans are”
Verse 11 (KJV) “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”
“ignorant of the devices of Satan” here is that, if we don’t ‘loose’ this brother by way of forgiving him and re-admitting him into the church, he will out of shame stay away and even forsake the faith. In so doing Satan has won a convert from the Church. The devices are simply the overwhelming guilt in the heart of the brother and shame.
So, friends, “binding and loosing” in the scriptural perspective has nothing to do with the prayer of agreement of binding the devil, but rather it is simply exercising the authority the Lord has given to the church to deal with disciplinary matters with trouble fermenting and the recalcitrant members of the Church. It was for administrative purposes and orderliness in the Body and for the opening of the doors to the unbelieving world to come into the kingdom. No devil here sir.