Sunday, October 7, 2012

Loose in Heaven

Loose in Heaven
Oct 8, 2012
Matthew 18:18  "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."

Bind something on earth and it will be bound in Heaven.  Loose something on earth and it will be loosed in Heaven.  What does this all mean?  Is the Bible talking about a physical binding, like with ropes?  Is it talking about a spiritual binding and loosening?  Jesus said it, so it must be important, but what in the world does it mean?  Our current language does not allow us to understand what the disciples understood when Jesus spoke these words.  Yes, the translation of the Bible is correct for us, but it is not clear to our understanding.  To get a more correct perception of this verse, read this particular Scripture through the International Standard Version of the Bible, which is a fairly recent translation.  It reads: "I tell you with certainty, whatever you prohibit on earth will have been prohibited in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will have been permitted in heaven."

The words "forbid" and "bind" are not often used interchangeably, but using the word "forbid" in this context is a more correct understanding of what Jesus was saying.  Jesus was talking specifically to the disciples regarding the future work they would be doing for the Lord.  He was equipping them with knowledge that was going to be valuable, helpful to them in instructing their church plants.  In this same manner, it is helpful to us currently, if we understand this teaching from Jesus.  Notice in this newer translation it reads that an action on earth will have ALREADY occurred in Heaven, or rather was already ALLOWED in Heaven.  Jesus was saying that what was happening or allowed to happen on earth had already been declared as OK by Heaven.  The topic that Jesus was referring to was sin, or what was perceived as sin, that was being forbidden or allowed, not people and not spirits.

The other place that the phrase "bind in heaven" appeared was when Jesus spoke directly to the apostle Peter in Matthew 16.  He was giving Peter a glimpse of his future ministry.  Later on, it was Peter who first took the Gospel to the Gentiles (it was said that offering salvation to the Gentiles was forbidden, a sin as dictated by the Jews).  But Jesus was saying there is freedom found through the work of Christ; Heaven declared that everyone is now free from the legalism of the church.  Going against the legalistic rules of the church had been loosed in Heaven, therefore it was allowed on earth.  We can be free.  If a church creates rules that are not found in the Bible, then it is not a sin if we do not follow them.  If it is OK in Heaven, then it is OK here on earth.

But the converse is true as well.  There are things forbidden in Heaven, sins specifically written about in the Bible that are off limits.  They are forbidden on this earth and we should be teaching them in our churches.  This list of sins is found in 1 Corinthians 6.  The list of forbidden sins in Heaven are: casual sexual relationships outside of marriage (including adultery, prostitution, and homosexuality), serving idols or false gods, thievery, drunkenness, coveting the things of others, greed, lying, and abusing or cheating others.  These things are bound in Heaven, therefore it is our job to bind them, or forbid them, on this earth.  We are instructed to hold Christians accountable for these things, especially within our church walls.  Be free from the legalism of the church, it has been loosed in Heaven, but forbid those things that Heaven has declared are a sin.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Matthew 16:17-19, Matthew 18:15-18, 1  Cor 6:1-11

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