Home Media Sermons by Pastor Nicki Coertze Series 14 Logos since 31 July 2017 . To bind or not to bind

. To bind or not to bind

TO BIND OR NOT TO BIND

Over the years we were either all involved or have been in audiences where the devil and other stuff are bound. Back in the nineties, a church in Polokwane bound Satan so that he no longer would have any power over marriages. That was to end the still continuing divorce rate. So, the logical conclusion is that somebody must have unbound or loosened him again. I have heard believers bind Satan, bind sickness, bind poverty, bind one another, bind their till that was not calculating right, when they were punching wrong numbers in etc. In fact, you can let your imagination run as far as the things you can bind. Just think if we can bind and loose what we want to.  Sounds ‘lekker’, doesn’t it? Wish it was true?

This kind of statement has become ammunition for atheists. They will often make the following remark: “you Christians are crazy, you bind the devil over and over again, and keep on blaming him for everything over and over again, so which one is it at work?”

In some churches Satan is addressed even during the time of worship, through prayer in statements like: “Satan we bind you……” Such a person will be perceived as very spiritual and brave. Others will follow suit so that they can also then be perceived as spiritual. The problem is that we do not think through the issues. What does a statement like that mean, does it have an effect, and if it does have an effect is it lasting?

Is Satan even present to hear such an instruction as we know he is not omnipresent, but he is an individual fallen angel? The ridiculousness of the binding of the devil at any time is that we all know that he was bound somewhere yesterday, the day before, the day before and so we can go on, and yet we bind him again and again. It does not make logical sense, it does not make spiritual sense, and it does not make theological sense.  Surely based on the Word of God, if the binding of Satan is implied, he should by now be continually bound. So, simply the present binding of the devil is already an acknowledgement that all the other bindings did not work. And then, the lives of those who bind the devil does not necessarily look better or work out better than those who never bind the devil.

Even in some Baptist circles which I was part of there was a song, sung during the time of worship. The song was written by Alvin Slaughter and is entitled ‘Give God the Glory’. It became so popular that it was even sung by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. Its words are as follows. I am simply going to give you the repetitive refrain and the section about Satan. You can google for the rest.

Give God the glory (3 times)
And He will give you, (3 times), the victory (repeat)

Then “Satan the blood of Jesus is against you” (3 times)

Oh, this is what we're singin'
Satan the blood of Jesus (is against you) is against you (you're not welcome here, no no)
Satan the blood of Jesus (the blood of Jesus) is against you (oh, we lift our voice and sing)
Satan the blood of (the blood of Jesus) Jesus is against you (Oh yes)
So let us give God, (so let us give God)
So let us give God, (we're gonna give God)
So let us give God, (I wanna give the Lord) all of the praise. Etc.

Now, personally I have a theological problem with this song. I do not want to be petty, but do we really want to address Satan in our time of worship, even if it is speaking against him? I will much rather address God or one another in a time of worship. Biblically speaking we address one another with Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. There is no evidence that the early church or the apostles ever spoke to Satan, except for the casting out of demons.

I have nothing to say to the devil. He knows he is a defeated foe. Colossians 2 is clear on this.  But, again, do we imply that Satan is in the service and hearing the words? Just think about it. If you had an enemy or arch enemy on earth in the form of some human. Do you want to sing your admonition to him? Now, I know that I don’t make the rules, and some might feel that is okay. I just have major problems singing to Satan in a church service. It is a different matter to sing about him than singing to him.

There are other songs that have a similar ring, like the one most of us grew up with in our Sunday School and Youth Groups, in which we ‘lift Jesus higher and we stomp Satan lower.” Is this possible, can we really stomp Satan lower than what Christ did on the cross, or are we slaves to feel good songs without any actual substance?

1. So, where do Christians get this binding thing from?

The first verse that is commonly used is Matthew 16:19.

Matthew 16:17-19 (ESV) 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” The tense actually says: “shall have been loosed”, or “shall have been bound”.

Similar verses are found in Matthew 18:18-20 (ESV) 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

2. A foundational problem.

 

An examination of how the Bible connects the terms "binding" and "loosing" to the apostle's unique role in founding the church will help you determine if believers can or should bind Satan.

Jesus gave Peter the sole authority to bind and loose things on earth which we saw in Matthew 16:18-19. Later Jesus said essentially the same thing to the rest of the apostles in Matthew 18:18 (ESV) 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” The "binding and loosing" mentioned in the context of Matthew 18:18 refers to the agreement in prayer of believers in line with the promises of God revealed in his Word. This was the final word on a matter which involved brothers in disagreement.

It is a known fact that the true meaning of bind and loose was originally a Jewish Hebrew phrase which appears in the Targum, as well as the New Testament, and is the authority to declare what God’s mind is on a matter of doctrine or practice. Or to put it another way for further clarity, it is the authority to carry out the will and decisions of God upon earth as they had already been established in heaven.

In Ephesians 2:20 Paul tells us that the church is "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone." The apostles' ministry was foundational -- they constituted the authority and formation of ministry within the early church as directed by the Holy Spirit. They wrote the New Testament which is now alongside the Old Testament our final authority for all faith and conduct.  There's an example of that in Acts 15, where the apostles decision on a matter became binding on all the churches. The Holy Spirit orchestrated their decision according to God's will according to verse 28. Nowhere do we have any evidence of the Apostles using the binding and loosing as a magic wand. Think for example how great this world would have been if they just bound the devil right back there in 64 AD and he was fully bound in heaven. No devil to deal with all these years would have been a blast for the whole world. Instead he is going around like a roaring lion.

After Jesus commanded His disciples to receive the Holy Spirit in John 20:22, He told them in verse 23, "If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained". He was not giving them the power to forgive sins -- only our Lord Jesus Christ can do that, rather, He gave them the authority to declare what God has already done in heaven.

Jesus gave the apostles the authority to bind and loose -- speak and act under God's authority -- as the foundational representatives for the church. They did not act arbitrarily, nor did they operate apart from the Holy Spirit.

So, in the end some misapply that teaching to include binding Satan. There is no scriptural command to bind Satan, nor is there any biblical example of the practice even by the Apostles. Satan remains at large as the “prince of the power of the air” until he is chained or bound by an angel, not a human being, during the millennial reign of Christ.

3. The binding of the strong man.

There is no biblical support for Christians binding Satan but – the really great news is that Satan has already been bound as far as the extent of his power is concerned.

Another verse that is used by some Christians as a claim that we can bind Satan is Matthew 12:29 (ESV) “29 Or how can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house.”

Jesus presents us with a picture of Satan being like a strong man who must be bound in order that his house can be plundered. This was the result of the authority granted to Jesus at the cross.

Jesus was as good as His word and Satan was restricted so that the preaching of the Gospel could be effective! Compare Matthew 12:28-29 with Luke 10:17-20. In Luke's account of the strong man being bound, the strong man is represented as armed and guarding his palace or residence. But once disarmed by a stronger opponent, he is deprived of his spoils (Luke 11: 21-22). Christ's claim, then, is crystal clear. He has 'bound' Satan and can plunder his house at will. Satan cannot successfully resist Christ.

Satan is bound by the cross of Christ. There the serpent's head was crushed and the forces of evil routed. So certain was Christ of victory as He went to His cross that He could say emphatically, John 12:31 (ESV) 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.”

Please notice that the authority granted to Jesus necessarily resulted in the restriction on Satan. Satan still has certain power, but he is restricted. A vicious dog on a leash can be distinctly dangerous if one foolishly gets too close, but he is nevertheless restricted in scope. But the devil cannot prevent the people whom God is calling from being added to the Church during this age of the Church due to this restriction which has been placed upon him, yet he remains vicious.

So, in closing.

The disciples cast out demons, but they never bound them or Satan. The Word of God gives no justification for this practice. None of the apostles utilized this approach and no Scripture commands Christians to practice it. It is an extra-biblical performance, arising from the desire of the flesh to look committed and powerful in the service of God.

We are called to be aware of the devil and his scheming, we are called to resist the devil, but nowhere are we told that we can ‘bind’ him. Resisting the devil is done by putting on the full armour of God. If that were true, based on the words in Matthew 16, then we must imply that Satan ‘has been bound’ in heaven. The question then remains: ‘who loosens him time and again?’ The problem is not Satan, the problem is us getting back to God, back to our first love, and it does not matter how many steps you have taken away from God, it only takes one step to get back to Him. Hear His voice, open the door of your heart and enjoy His fellowship.

So, rather just keep on resisting the devil and drawing near to God and you are okay. Any claim that anybody has ever bound Satan is entirely unverified, illogical and based on bad theology. Rather than binding the devil, draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

Amen!

Soli Deo Gloria

Logos Community Church: 25 March 2018