Sin, Wickedness and Iniquity

March 7, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”
(2 Timothy 2:19 (NIV))

I saw something today that gave me a better understanding of sin and wickedness. When I understood the difference, chills ran down my spine and tears came to my eyes. The realization of what our world has become is heartbreaking.

Perhaps, it is better to use a different word and translation to describe wickedness.

Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”
(2 Timothy 2:19 (NKJV))


That sounds like a good Old Testament word that has fallen out of use, but if you stop to think about the difference between sin and iniquity, you may be surprised.

I am certain that you have heard that the word “sin” means to miss the mark. That concept implies that you are trying, but you fall short. It implies that you desire to do what is right but simply cannot achieve it on your own. This is where we, as the Body of Christ, fall.

Have you ever truly looked at the word “iniquity?” Some translations use the word “wickedness.” Either way, the concept is that the person deliberately chooses to do things that are contrary to God’s Will. They simply do not care that what they do is wrong. In fact, they seem to live to do what is evil. It was explained to me that those who are living in this manner do not listen to the truth and will often lash out at those who offer them the truth.

Consider the story of Lot and Sodom.

The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”
“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”
But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom–both young and old–surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”
Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”
“Get out of our way,” they replied. And they said, “This fellow came here as an alien, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.
(Genesis 19:1-9 (NIV))

These men were wicked. They were evil. They did not miss the mark, They deliberately chose to commit something vile and evil. When Lot attempted to stop them, they threatened to do to him even worse than they intended to do to the two angels. They were willing to commit a vile act against someone who spoke the truth simply because he spoke the truth.

Does this sound sadly familiar to anything that we see today?

We have people so engrossed in their evil that they attack those who bring the truth. Has our world’s wickedness, its iniquity, grown so vile that people no longer desire to even do what is right? Think about that and how God has dealt with wickedness and iniquity in the past.

There is a difference between sin and iniquity. It is a matter of the heart. Do you long to do evil or do you long to do what is right?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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