Monthly Question Page
Q. What is the difference between sins and iniquity, as differentiated in Hebrews 10:17, “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more”?
A. There are many words that are used in the Bible to denote “sins,” such as, “transgression,” “wickedness,” “evil,” and of course “iniquity.” The best Scriptural definition of “sin” is in John’s epistle, where we read, “Every one that practises sin practises also lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4, JND). In other words, “sin” is doing our own will in independence of God. It is summed up by the prophet Isaiah, who wrote, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). Sin is anything inconsistent with the character of God.
This brings us to the question of “iniquity.” The word comes from the Latin, combining the prefix “in,” which means “not,” and the suffix “aequus” which means “equal” or “just.” So, “iniquity” literally means, “not just.” It has to do with the character of sin, and the evil intent behind the act. When David sinned, he prayed, “Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalm 51:2).
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