Keys to the Kingdom: Matthew 16:19
“19) I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”” Matthew‬ ‭16‬:‭19‬
There are two topics mentioned in this verse that we must wrestle with. First, what are the keys to the kingdom of God? Second, what does it mean to bind and loosen?
I view the keys to the kingdom of heaven being Peter’s illumination into the full identity of Jesus Christ from verse 17. He is the Christ, the Son of the living God. According to a host of verses like John 3:16; Acts 4:11-12 and Romans 10:8-10, it is faith in Jesus Christ that brings salvation.
It was Peter who preached the gospel on the day of Pentecost that opened the door of salvation to the Jewish nation. It was also Peter in Acts 10 who first brought the gospel to Cornelius and the Gentiles. It comes as no surprise that Paul went to Peter, James and John in Galatians 2:1-10 to affirm the gospel message that he preached. Many believe this was a reference to the Jerusalem Council as recorded in Acts 15.
Peter played an important role in defining and defending the Gospel message. The Gospel and personal faith in Jesus Christ are the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Jesus alone is the door through which every believer must enter to get into the kingdom of heaven. (John 10:7-9)
The second part of this verse is more difficult to grasp. What is the meaning of binding and loosening? It is hard by the context of this verse to give a definitive answer. Jesus briefly mentions it and then quickly closes the conversation.
Some view it as a part of intercessory prayer and the authority “in Christ” to bind the work of Satan in peoples lives and loose them to understand the gospel. Matthew 12:29; Matthew 18:18-20; Mark 3:27 and 2 Corinthians 4:3-6 seem to support this view.
Another thought includes the power of forgiveness to loose people into the grace of God that might lead them to salvation. This view points to Jesus on the cross forgiving those who crucified him. (See Luke 23:34) It is no coincidence that Stephen did the same thing to the mob that stoned him. (Acts 7:60) The very next verse says that Saul was in the crowd and in hearty agreement to putting him to death. Did Stephen through forgiveness loose the the crowd into Gods grace? 2 Corinthians 2:6-11 points out that forgiveness interrupts Satan’s schemes.
Both of the above concepts may be involved in binding and loosening. Unfortunately, the rest of Scripture only provide small clues on this subject. It remains clouded in mystery.
I do believe we have the authority “in Christ” to pull down strongholds and see captives set free. (2 Corinthians 10:3-6) Isaiah 58:5-12 also provides amazing insight into the power of prayer and fasting to set captives free. Much of the mystery evaporates in the prayer room. God wants His church to discover their authority “in Christ.”
I encourage you to venture deeper into intercessory prayer. This is where the Spirit of God opens the eyes of our understanding into many mysteries. (See Ephesians 1:15-23) I put the concept of binding and loosening into that category. I confess, I have much to learn about this subject.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global