Reflections of His Image: The Keys to the Kingdom

Nans Corner

First of all, I want to wish every one of you a very blessed holiday season. Even though the times right now are difficult, Scripture tells us we have much to be thankful for. Read Isaiah 9:6-7 again. Maranatha!

Continuing our series on Reflections of His Image, last month we explored several of the ways we can recognize the attacks of the enemy. This is vitally important in fighting him. However, it’s only half the battle! We must also know exactly what to do.

Matthew 16:19 gives us the answer. “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.” (See also Matthew 18:18)

The word “to bind” actually means to be put into bonds, to be tied up, to yoke, to harness or to join together. It can also mean to forbid, refuse, not allow, shut the door or bring into subjection. The word “to loose” means to break up, dissolve, unloose or melt away. It can also mean to permit, open or grant.

Binding and loosing are Hebrew idioms for exercising the Lord’s power and authority. These, Jesus says, are the “keys” to the kingdom.

It’s interesting because Adam Clark, in his commentary on Matthew 16:19, says that when the Jews confirmed a man as a doctor of the law, they put into his hands the keys to the closet in the temple where the sacred books were kept, signifying that they were giving him the authority to teach what was permitted and what was forbidden. These keys were a symbol of authority and the badge of the office. In like manner Jesus has given us that same authority and power in His Name. He has given us His authority “to bind” the enemy (to forbid him entrance) and His power “to loose” his strongholds (to break up and dissolve the ones already established) and allow the Spirit of God to permeate the situation. Because of Christ, we too have the keys to the closet of the temple of our body. (1 Corinthians 3:16)

Again, picture the temple and its walls. If we know how to do spiritual warfare, when an arrow heads our way, we can, in Christ’s Name, forbid its entrance. Likewise, when the Lord shows us the enemy’s strongholds in our souls, we can, in Christ’s Name, break them up, dissolve them and ask the Holy Spirit to refill us. (Check out Psalm 89:40.)

Binding and Loosing

We mentioned earlier that Jesus is always considered our example. What He did in many cases was simply bind the enemy (forbid him from speaking), rebuke him and then command him to flee. And, by doing so, He pulled down, broke up and dissolved many fortified hideouts and other walled defenses the enemy had erected and made room for God’s Spirit to work.

By Christ’s authority and power, we can do the same. By His authority, we can forbid the enemy entrance to our souls, unloose the strongholds that are already at root and make room for His Spirit to minister. This is exactly what 1 Peter 5:8-9 and James 4:7 tell us to do. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

What happens when we don’t do this, however, is that we give the enemy opportunities to create hideouts in the hidden chambers of our soul. As we said in our last news journal article, undealt with surface issues can become root issues in our hidden chambers.

For example: feelings of resentment (one of those holes in the walls of our soul) can lead to the stronghold of bitterness (in the hidden chambers); confusion in our soul can lead to the stronghold of discouragement and depression; and feelings of betrayal can lead to distrust, etc. (Hebrews 12:15)

Another problem that often occurs when strongholds of bitterness or discouragement are built, is that we end up protecting them by our own self-erected and walled defenses. Because these are “self-erected” walls and not God-directed, they will fail in the end. They not only won’t hold back the enemy, they will actually allow him to penetrate the wall. These are those “untempered walls” that Ezekiel 13:10 talks about and that we mentioned last month. They are nothing more than self-erected hedges that keep the enemy in, rather than out!

Again, Nahum 3:17 tells us that these defenses can become hideouts and camp grounds for the enemy (i.e., “snares of the devil,” 2 Timothy 2:25-26, and “snares in our sides,” Judges 2:2-3). The result is Nahum 3:19: “There is no healing of thy bruise.” In other words, if we erect our own walls of protection and our own boundaries to cover our vulnerabilities, we will not be healed.

Why? Because our foundation is not of the Lord, but of self. Thus, it is still cracked and the walls of our salvation will still be weak and vulnerable. (Psalm 11:3)

When we ask the Lord to expose the hidden part of our soul, and we confess and repent of the things that He shows us, we’ll destroy any deception around which the strongholds are built.

In 2 Corinthians 10:4 we are told how to do this: “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.” (See also Colossians 3:5-11) Thus, God is the One who exposes these breaches, cleans them out and then refills them with His Spirit. Our responsibility is simply to ask Him to do so. This doesn’t happen automatically!

So, the only way we are ever going to be “conformed into Christ’s image” is by surrendering every negative thought, emotion and desire that might create opportunities or entrances for the enemy. There’s a huge difference between simply defining the sin and actually pulling down the strongholds that helped produce the sin in the first place.

In 2 Corinthians 10:5-6 we are told what our responsibility is: to “...cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and [bring] into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And [have] in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.”

This, to me, is one of the most important lessons that God is trying to teach us. He wants to become our shield of protection and our brazen wall. (Isaiah 49:16) And the only way He can do this is by our learning what “binding and loosing in Christ’s Name” really means.

In other words, we can either make the walls of our soul strong and fortified or we can plaster them over with untempered mortar. Christ’s authority and power to “bind and loose” are truly the “keys” to the closet of our temple.

The Keys

Binding (forbidding) and loosing (permitting) have normally been applied to fighting the enemy. But, I believe we can also apply these principles to the world and the flesh also. What we are doing by binding and loosing is simply saying “no” to the world, the flesh and the devil and “yes” to the Spirit of God. As spiritual believers we have Christ’s authority to resist the enemy, forbid the flesh and refuse the world; and then His authority to release the supernatural power of God into the situation in order to overcome.

We have God’s authority to forbid what we know is against His will and we have His authority to permit what we know is His will. This authority and power truly are the “keys to the kingdom” because of the chain reaction that occurs:

• Binding and loosing (the world, flesh & the devil) allows us to remain sanctified;

• Which, in turn, leads us to partaking of His Life;

• Which leads us to overcoming the world, the flesh and the devil;

• Which Revelation 2 and 3 says will lead us to inheriting the kingdom.

(In our new Kingdom, Power and Glory DVD, we expand greatly upon this issue of “binding and loosing” and how God says these are the keys to the kingdom. If you are interested in learning more, you’ll find the DVD listed on the order form in the back of this news journal.)

Bands of Love

God wants to control, lead and guide our lives through His reins of Love. Hosea 11:4 tells us that the Lord “drew them with cords of a man, with bands of Love.” What do reins or bands do? They control, lead and direct action. They guide and make a horse do what the rider wants. Without reins, the horse will go wherever he pleases.

The Lord continually tries to direct our lives through the leading of His Holy Spirit in us, His “reins of Love.” If we thwart and quench His leading, then we give the enemy (or the flesh and the world) an opportunity to direct our lives through “chains of sin.”

Psalm 32:9 and 8 seems to predict this constant choice of ours and instructs us, “Be not as the horse or as the mule, which have no understanding, whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle.” But let the Lord instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. Let Him guide you with His eye, which is the Spirit of the Lord in you. In other words, rather than let the enemy’s “cords of sin” paralyze us, we must let God’s “cords of Love” direct us. (Hosea 11:4)

To be continued next month: “The Armor of God.” This article has been excerpted in part from Nan’s book Reflections of His Image: God’s Purpose for Your Life.