Whatever You Bind On Earth…..

Just pondering this morning….
Matthew 16:19
“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.”
Jesus calls Peter (and his confession of Christ) the “rock” upon which the Church will be built. Giving Peter the keys to the “kingdom of heaven” suggests giving the Church, founded in the person and profession of Peter, the authority over how the Church operates in the world……..to determine how much “in the world” or “of the world” the Church will be. The Church IS to BE the kingdom of heaven on earth. What the Church “allows” or condones or enables or supports in the world will be found having become comfortably present in “heaven”,too……in the kingdom here on earth within the Church…..among the members of Body of Christ itself. This, it seems to me, is a word of caution to the leadership of the Church and a charge to exercise care in what we, as believers in Christ, embrace and permit within the Body of Christ and how we are to respond to those things in the world.
It is about exercising the power of the Gospel in the world……by being salt and light; it is even more so about exercising that same power within the Church……to protect, preserve, and sustain truth and remind us that we, the Body of Christ, must operate with honesty, transparent authenticity, repentance, grace and mercy to be able to call evil “evil” and good “good”, discern between the two and determine what we will make part and parcel of the kingdom as lived out in the Church. The Church has through the centuries required periodic renewal to bring it back to its priority and root out the things of the world that have found their way in and taken up residence.
Disrepect for authority of the Word and those that preach it, hiding and even excusing abusive conduct, cavalier attitudes about divorce and other relational problems, failing to care for “orphans and widows”, focusing on money matters above matters of justice and compassion, colluding with the powers of the earth and exercising political power instead of seeking God’s will and trusting his power, and more.
Eternity is here in our midst among all who profess faith in Christ. Kingdom living is here. The capacity to bring the kingdom and will of God to bear “on earth as it is in heaven” is here. It occurs through the choices we make as individuals and as the Church. When we fail to set standards and make choices that distinguish the Church from the world, the Church loses its authority within the body of believers and in the world, as well. This follows right on the heels of Christ’s caution that suggests that the religious leaders’ teaching is to be regarded with care to keep leaven out.

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