Here, the power of “binding” and “loosing” is committed to the “the church” (ch. 18:17). And even here Heaven’s approval of the decision on earth will take place only if the decision is made in harmony with principles of Heaven. All who deal with erring brethren should ever remember that they are dealing with the eternal destiny of souls, and that the results of their work may well be eternal.
“And 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” (Matt. 16:19).
The “keys” to the kingdom of heaven are the words of Christ (John 1:12; 17:3). It is important to note that Christ Himself speaks of the “key “ here referred to as “the key of knowledge” of how to enter the kingdom (Luke 11:52). The words of Jesus “they are spirit, and they are life” to all who receive them (John 6:63). It is the word of Christ that brings eternal life (John 6:68). Accepting the Word of God leads to the new birth experience (1 Peter 1:23).
The saving power of the gospel is the only thing that admits men and women into the kingdom of heaven. Christ simply bestowed upon Peter and all the other disciples (Matt. 18:18; John 20:23) the authority and power to bring men into the kingdom. It was Peter’s perception of the truth that Jesus is indeed the Christ that placed the “keys” of the kingdom in his possession and let him into the kingdom, and the same may be said of all Christ’s followers at the very close of time.
The church on earth will require only what heaven requires and will prohibit only what heaven prohibits. This seems to be the clear teaching of the Scriptures (Matt. 7:21-27; Mark 7:6-13). As the apostles went forth to proclaim the gospel according to the commission entrusted to them (Matt. 28:19,20), they were to teach converts “to observe all things what so ever” Christ had commanded – no more and no less.
In His service,
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