The Power of Two
“Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:19-20
The context of this passage is that it is part of Jesus’ teaching on how to deal with a fellow Christian who has trespassed against you in some way. But it is also about much more than that.
First, consider the wordTrespass. It is not a commonly used word in our time, but it is important to know its fullest meaning in order to get a true understanding of what Jesus was teaching here and then to see the broader application of this passage and its implications for us today.
To commit an unlawful injury to the person, property, or rights of another, with actual or implied force or violence, especially to enter onto another's land wrongfully
To infringe on the privacy, time, or attention of another
To commit an offense or a sin; transgress or err
Source: American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language 5th Edition
The implication is that this is a grievous offense, one that could ultimately end in being dis-fellowshipped from the church. [Matthew 18:17] But it doesn’t have to be that way. It could all end with a simple acknowledgement and a declaration of forgiveness between the offender and the one offended. This is God’s best way.
“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.” Matthew 18:15
Un-forgiven offenses between brothers and sisters in the body of Christ never need go any further than the two people involved, because what God wants to do is restore relationships as soon as possible without fanfare and the involvement of a host of other people who are each as subject to human frailty as any other one. But an offense unacknowledged breeds contempt and contempt breeds distrust and distrust breeds division and strife and division and strife unchecked causes a relationship, a house, a family, a church, a government, a society, a life to fail and fall — and that without repair.
One man’s offense against another can cause a breach in their relationship, but true forgiveness will repair the breach, and restore the relationship. That’s the ultimate goal of forgiveness, to restore relationships and put people back on the pathway of transformation through love for one another, particularly in the body of Christ.
We all know people who have said when they have been sorely offended and particularly where a trust has been breached. “I may forgive them, but I will never forget it.” And we all understand the depth of that feeling if we’ve ever been in that situation. Our grief, our hurt our sense of offense goes so deep that we can’t ever imagine genuinely trusting or fellowshipping in an attitude of love with that person ever again. It goes against every fiber of our human instincts.
But think of this. How offensive was the world, how offensive were we in our sins to Jesus when He laid down His life for our sins on the cross and did it all so He could restore us to a loving relationship of peace with the Father?
In this same teaching Jesus tells the story of the servant who owed his master a great debt that he could never pay in three lifetimes. But the master had compassion on him when the servant begged him to have patience with him and said he would repay it all: which was in fact, no more than a cry of desperation, because he had nothing with which to repay the debt, and his master knew it. Even if he, his family and all that he had were sold it would not even come close to paying the debt. So his master loosed from the penalty and forgave him all the debt.
But then this same man went out and found a man who owed him less than a day’s wages and he demanded his debt be paid, and when the man could not pay it he fell at his feet and begged him to have patience with him and he would repay him all; which he could have done in just a little time. But the servant would not do it and had him arrested and cast into prison.
“And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.” Matthew 18:30
It’s hard for us to grasp, to comprehend the cruelty and insensitivity of the servant who had just been forgiven so much, to be so ready to act without compassion on someone whose debt compared to his was so infinitesimally small. We would think that his gratitude alone would have softened his heart to make him willing to forgive everybody everything they ever owed him knowing how he had by his master’s compassion on him just escaped three life sentences in prison and ultimate death, never to see the light of day again.
The message for us is clear. Whenever we think we’ve cornered the market on righteousness which positions us to be unforgiving or dismissive of any other human being as to withhold forgiveness from them knowing how great a debt of sin was ours against God, we should quickly repent and pray for God’s grace to give us the love of Jesus to forgive and forget and reach out in an attitude of love to restore that relationship as quickly as possible, as quickly as we would want to be forgiven.
The reference to binding and loosing is about forgiveness and restoration. We hold the power in our hands to do both. We can bind up wounds unto healing and we can loose from guilt and the penalty of transgression unto forgiveness and restoration of relationship. There is no bondage in Heaven, neither is there unforgiveness there. Therefore, we cannot bind or loose those things in Heaven. There is health and wholeness in Heaven and there is forgiveness for every soul redeemed by the blood of Jesus there.
Finally, if any two of us on earth agree as touching anything that we shall ask, this is our assurance.
“…it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 18:30
“Anything” is not spoken here by Jesus as an exaggeration or as hyperbole, nor is it spoken for emotional effect or mere rhetoric. It is a simple straightforward declaration of the truth.
The only limit on anything is that we know God never speaks or acts, never promises to do anything inconsistent with His nature, His character, His righteousness and with truth. Anything does not include sin or any work of the devil. It does not include any desire of the unregenerate human heart that will bring about its destruction.
There is no prohibition against two people agreeing on earth as touching any provision to meet our needs or to give us the desires of our hearts. [Psalm 37:4]
Healing, salvation, super natural provision, deliverance, empowerment of the Holy Spirit, Godly wisdom, understanding, knowledge, spiritual growth, enjoyment in life, pleasure, fulfillment, restoration, transformation, peace, world peace and harmony, laughter and a merry heart are all things we can, here on earth, touch and agree concerning, asking the Father to give them to us.
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11
“Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to doit.” Proverbs 3:27
Two people on earth agreeing when asking God for anything is a powerful force that will result in receiving what they ask from God.