The Scriptorium

Binding, Loosing, Agreeing

These duties belong to us all. Matthew 18.18-20

Matthew 18: Others First (5)

Pray Psalm 119.171-173.
My lips shall utter praise,
For You teach me Your statutes.
My tongue shall speak of Your word,
For all Your commandments are righteousness.
Let Your hand become my help,
for I have chosen Your precepts.

Sing Psalm 119.171-173.
(Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
With our lips we praise You, Jesus, for You teach us, full and free.
Now Your Word will ever please us; Your commandments true shall be.
Let Your hand come forth to ease us; we Your Word choose gratefully!

Read Matthew 18.1-20; meditate on verses 18-20.

1. What did Jesus promise His disciples here?

2. How can we know Jesus is present with us?

Binding, loosing, and agreeing: What’s Jesus talking about?Let’s remember the context: Jesus has been teaching about the hatred of sin, and warning His followers to keep it from gaining a foothold in our lives or communities. Our natural tendency is to drift away from the Lord into sinful, selfish ways. This is because the law of sin is still very much operative in our souls (Rom. 7.21-23; Heb. 2.1).

We need God’s Word to bind us to Him, so that we don’t drift. Like Ulysses, lashed to the mast so that he and his men would not yield to the temptation of the singing sirens, we need to be bound to the Word of God. But we also need to be loosed into the freedom of God’s truth and His perfect Law of liberty (Jn. 8.32; Jms. 2.12). The Word of God can keep us from drifting into sin, and it can liberate us into all truth and life. The disciples were charged with the duty of teaching that Word so that it would accomplish the purpose for which God sends it forth (Is. 55.10. 11).

But to do that, the disciples – and all of us as disciples – needed to be attuned to heaven and the will of God. He alone can show us the right way to use His Law and Word for “binding” and “loosing” ourselves. His will and plan are already in effect, and we can discern and apply these by looking to His Word. All believers have the duty of searching the Scriptures to know how we should be bound and where we might be loosed; those who are called to teach others have an even greater responsibility, and need to make sure they know how to handle the Scriptures as God intends (Jms. 3.1; 2 Tim. 2.15).

When Jesus is present with us, and we are in communion with Him, we will know what to bind, what to loose, and how we must agree in serving Him. By working together with two or three or more, we can be more assured of getting God’s Word right. But we each need to bring something to the discussion from our own time with the Lord. Then, together, we can reach agreement about what to bind and what to loose. This is not a guarantee of infallibility in our judgments, just a guideline to help us make sure we gain the perspective and take the steps that have already been determined in heaven for our good and God’s glory.

1. Give an example of the Word “binding” you. Give an example of the Word “loosing” you.

2. Why must each believer be diligent to read and search the Scriptures daily?

3. Why is it important to check our understanding of Scripture with other believers?

How important a place the unanimity and harmony of brothers hold with God! We can know from this very fact that the Lord has clearly said that when two or three pray in unanimity, the Father grants everything from heaven. For with God nothing is more pleasing than brotherly peace, nothing better than unanimity and harmony, according to what is written: “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity.” Chromatius (fl. 400), Tractate on Matthew 59.1

Teach me Your Word, O Lord, and help me always to…

Pray Psalm 119.174-176.
Praise God for His grace and all His Word! Pray for opportunities to speak His Word to others today, knowing as you do that His Word will accomplish His purpose as you speak (Is. 55.10, 11).

Sing Psalm 119.174-176.
Psalm 119.174-176 (Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
For Your saving grace we plead, Lord, and Your Law is our delight.
We to live and praise You need, Lord, all Your help by day and night.
Straying sheep, we do not heed, Lord; come and seek us by Your might!

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore