I don’t know for sure what the point of this quote is. But I suspect it’s a satirical way of saying that believers can’t, or shouldn’t, “bind the devil.” If this is the case, before we can determine whether such a claim is valid or not, we have to define the terminology.
So . . . What exactly are we talking about, here? I’ve found that one of the biggest contributors to misunderstandings and conflict in the Body of Christ is when we assume that words and phrases mean the same to others as they do to us. Very often, this is not the case. For example, the quote in the meme seems to be working from a very literal understanding of the phrase, “bind the devil.” It actually reminds me of an episode of the Twilight Zone, “The Howling Man” in which the devil is being held captive by a group of monks in an old monastery, no longer able to wreak havoc on mankind. That is, until a passerby unwittingly lets him loose, and the ultimate cause of World War II is thus revealed.
If critics have this kind of idea in mind when they hear someone talk about, “binding the devil”—-That’s probably where the disconnect lies. As a Charismatic myself, I can tell you, this isn’t at all what I take the terminology to infer.
So allow me to suggest an alternative understanding for this phraseology that I believe more closely resembles the intent of those who use it.
I’ll break it down into three clarifications:
1. Charismatics don’t necessarily think of the “devil” as a single entity but more in terms of demons and demonic activity in general.
2. Obviously, the terminology for, “binding” likely comes from Matthew 16:19 or 18:18*. However, the actual intention and implication of the practice is to get the devil to flee, cease his activities, or guard against his attacks in a particular situation.
3. Here are the Scriptures that support such intentions and implications:
The Bible says . . .
Resist the devil and he will flee from you (Jms 4:7, 1 Pt 5:8-9).
Give no place, and no opportunity to the devil (Eph 4:27).
These signs will follow those who believe: in the Name of Jesus, they will cast out/drive out devils (Mark 16:17).
We have overcome the wicked one (1 Jn 2:13). The Greek word for, “overcome” is defined as, “conquer”, or, “take control of by the use of military force.”
Take the shield of faith by which we can quench all (not some, but all) the fiery darts of the evil one (Eph 6:16).
As opposed to a literal, “binding,” I believe these Scriptures represent a more accurate picture of what most Charismatics have in mind when they use the expression.
Now, if someone wanted to make the argument that the actual words, “binding the devil” do not appear in any of these passages and therefore should not be used to refer to them---okay. We can talk about proper wording. But that’s a matter of semantics. The intent and implications behind the terminology, however, are legitimate.
And as far as I can tell, the above verses do not mention any wrong ways to obey them. So this isn’t about a particular set of magic (or literal) words that must be used in conjunction with the practice of these Scriptures in order to be effective. What I mean by that is, it’s not as though a person who attempts to resist the devil will void the promise of James 4:7 if they mistakenly say, “I bind you” instead of, “I resist you.”
As a side note to this discussion, I’m not entirely sure we should rule out the possibility that this practice can and literally does bind evil spirits. After all, Jesus did say all things are possible to the one who believes (Mk 9:23). Who are we to add such an arbitrary disclaimer by saying this couldn’t include the binding of demons? And who’s to say what exactly it looks like in the spiritual realm when we, “give no place to the devil?”
But here’s the thing: does it really matter whether a believer is literally binding evil spirits as opposed to . . .
casting out, driving out, giving no place, no opportunity, conquering, taking control by use of military force or quenching all his fiery darts?
In all these instances, the goal is essentially the same regardless of the vocal expressions used during the process.
So, as I said, any objections, here, would seem to boil down to semantics.
But . . . Why?
Some may be wondering, “why say anything at all to the devil? And how do you know it accomplishes anything?”
Well, as I just mentioned, all things are possible for the one who believes. If you can believe for it, you will have whatever you say (Mark 11:23). But maybe a more precise answer would be. . . because Jesus did. Primarily, He dealt with demons and demonic activity by speaking forth the desired outcome. “Yes, but we aren’t Jesus!” someone might say. And yet, He is our example. Furthermore, He told us we would do the same works He did (John 14:12)**.
Keep Him Bound
All that being said, I do think there is a valuable truth to be gleaned from this meme. Voddie basically says, “I’m going to recommend you keep the devil bound.”
A little more than a decade ago I had—what I believe to have been—a dream from God. It was very vivid and it was about demons and how they operate. At one point in the dream, there was a group of evil spirits that were oppressing an individual. I spoke to the spirits and commanded them to stop. Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, angels were dispatched all around these spirits so that they were unable to move or continue to harass this person. I began to turn around and walk away when I noticed some other believers approaching. I could tell they were oblivious to the situation. But as they walked by, one of them spoke to the angels in a nonchalant way and said, “it’s okay—-you can go now.” And just like that, they vanished and the demons were loose again. The Holy Spirit spoke to me and said “they have the same authority over the devil that you do. They just don’t care.”
I don’t normally share these kinds of experiences but lately, I’ve been feeling like the Lord wants me to move a little further out into these things. And I think it fits well with what we’re talking about here.
The point is, the devil is already defeated. As mentioned prior, we have already conquered him. Yet the Bible also says that he gets to walk about as a roaring lion seeking people to devour. As believers, we are to be vigilant. Not passive, ignorant or oblivious. We are to resist him, and give him no opportunity or place. But how often do we fail to do this consistently and in our apathy, allow him back into our lives and the lives of others?
So yeah, I would say it’s a great recommendation Baucham makes, here. Keep him bound.
* For a more in depth study on "binding and loosing" as mentioned in Matt 16:19, and 18:18 click here.
** For more information on the power of words, click here.