And I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven…
It is no mean prerogative; it is past all estimation, indeed, for honour and for dignity, to have the power to open heaven to any soul. If God were to give you the power to go forth, and, touching the earth, to open its fruitful bosom, so that where-ever you pressed your hand or your foot, out there should pour treasures of grain and treasures of fruit; if God were to give you that power which in ages gone by was attributed to Ceres, when it was supposed that she came to earth and taught men the arts of agriculture — what a power that would be. If God had given you power to touch the hidden treasures of metal; to know where iron lies buried; to know where all the veins of gold and silver are; to open up all the treasures beneath the surface of the earth, men would have supposed that that was a great and sovereign endowment — and it would have been great and sovereign in a lower sphere. But how much more noble is it that God has given men the power to develop, not gold and silver that perish, but riches that never fade, that moth and rust never corrupt, and that thieves do not break through to steal — eternal treasures — the immortal spirits of men. But this is the case. God has given authority to every man that lives in the higher realm of truth, to open the eternal realm to those around about him, as an inspired apostle. For you are a lineal successor of the apostle, every one of you that does the apostle's work. And God sends every man that goes forth to carry the Spirit of God to his fellow-men. And it is no small prerogative, no small honour, but a most responsible trust, to have committed to you the keys of life and death; to carry in yourself those influences that shall be a savour of life to some, and a savour of death to others — that shall be a buttress and a wall of defence to some, and a stumbling-stone and rock of offence and destruction to others. How solemn it is that God gives men to be parents in this life, to rear up congregations out of their own loins, to sit in the church of the family, and makes fathers and mothers to be apostles, and gives to them keys, saying, "What you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and what you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." It is even so. You cannot free yourself from the obligation. You cannot help it. You are the key-keeper for your children. You are the door-keeper for your own offspring. Take heed, then, how you carry yourselves as parents in your own household — how you administer God's Word. It depends much upon you whether, at last, your children shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, or whether they shall rise to everlasting shame and contempt.
(H. W. Beecher.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.