Tag Archives: iniquity

The Mystery of Iniquity


William Andrew Dillard

A songwriter once penned these words: “Troublesome times are here, filling men’s hearts with fear; freedoms we all hold dear now is at stake . . .” When one looks at the political arena, it appears little above mass confusion. When one looks at the religious scene it is void of most of the Bible teachings. When one looks at the economical stage, it is so tenuous as to cause men’s hearts to fail. If all this seems to paint a bleak picture of today’s world, it is meant to do so. But there is more, much more!
The crumbling foundation of the family unit leaves children without parents, or in some cases single parents. Then the demands of the workplace leave little time for children who are largely abandoned to a latchkey position to formulate their own distorted views of life. Each ensuing generation is in an ever worsening condition. What is it all about. What is happening to the world we live in?
Certainly, these are times so often and well prophesied by God’s Word. It would seem a time for the masses to hear the clarion call of the gospel. It should be a time of widespread repentance, of men seeking the will of the Lord with a contrite heart. But just the opposite is the mainstream of life. What is one to make of it all?
The apostle Paul informed us of these times. He wrote in 2 Thessalonians 2:7, “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let until he be taken out of the way.” Think about it!
The “Mystery of Iniquity.” The term “Mystery” is from the ancient Greek term, “Musterion.” It derives it existence from a base word “Muo” which basically means “To shut the mouth.” Hence, a mystery is something known to the initiated, but unknown to the uninitiated. It remains a mystery to those unqualified and unwilling to search out and know the meaning. “Iniquity” is a translation of the Greek word “Law” (nomous) with a negative prefix, to literally translate “no law.” It means not given to or ruled by law ; contempt and violation of law, wickedness. This is aptly descriptive of modern times, but they will worsen because there is a restraining power who lets (restrains) until he be taken out of the way, so that ultimate chaos may prevail.
The so-called progress of humanity apart from God has led to the abolition of world war; the vaunted progress of medical science has led to longer life spans, and as the world struggles to balance trade, unite religious movements, and to feed the bulging population creating population shifts of illegal migration, the world ripens for the ultimate rule of its god. His predetermined end of it all is destruction in many forms, but the final stage will be Armageddon. It is a millenniums long plan that will go down in eternal defeat for all evil. Sweet in the mouth, but bitter in the stomach.

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HEBREWS – Sin (2)

šagāh [and] āwōn [and] peša‘
Is the issue of sin really all that important? Yes—it is mentioned approximately 900 times in the Bible. In addition to the most commonly used Hebrew word, chātā’, we find several others used to picture the seriousness of sin (see July 11 for another).
One such word is šagāh (H7686), “to go astray, to deceive, to wander, to make a mistake, to reel.” It’s used primarily to express the idea of straying or wandering and frequently describes a wandering or aimless flock, both figuratively and literally (Eze_34:6). Isaiah used this verb to suggest “swerving, meandering, or reeling in drunkenness” (Isa_28:7, “erred”). It also describes moral corruption (Pro_5:23, “to go astray”). It is also translated sin in Lev_4:13, “sin through ignorance.”
Another word is ‘āwāh (H5753), which is equivalent to the Arabic ‘awaya, “to bend or twist,” and so reflects not only those ideas but also to “distort” and “pervert,” whether intentional or not. Men pervert what is right (Job_33:27; Jer_3:21) and commit “iniquity,” which is to bend God’s revelation (Psa_106:6). The word ‘āwōn (H5771), which appears more than 230 times, speaks of Israel choosing to return to the “iniquities of their forefathers,” that is, twisting and perverting God’s Word to “[go] after other gods to serve them” (Jer_11:10). This word is also translated sin in 1Ki_17:18, where a widow speaks to Elijah in fear that her son died because she bent or distorted some requirement.
One other word for sin is peša‘ (H6588), which appears over ninety times to indicate “willful deviation from, and therefore rebellion against, the path of godly living” (e.g., Isa_58:1; Isa_59:12; Amo_5:12).
Is there now any doubt as to the answer to the question, “Is the issue of sin really all that important?” Indeed, sin is the problem, salvation is the provision, and the Savior is the path. After salvation, however, is sin still a problem? Positionally no, but practically yes. While we are freed from the bondage of sin as the rule of life (Rom_6:1-7), “the flesh” (“our selfish properties,” sarx, G4561) still rears its ugly head and wars within us (Romans 7). Thankfully, we can have victory over this by the indwelling Holy Spirit (Romans 8), and we have the assurance of forgiveness through confession when we do sin (1Jn_1:9).
Scriptures for Study: Read David’s prayer of confession and restoration (Psalms 51). Note the words for sin in Psa_51:1-4 : “transgressions” (peša‘), “iniquity” (‘āwōn), “sin” (chattā’t, a derivative of chātā’), and “sinned” (chātā’). Praise God today for His forgiveness (April 16).


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The Devastation of Sin

Psalm 32:1-5
“I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah,” Psalm 32:5.
Jesus gave us insight into the true heart of mankind and the devastation of sin when He explained what happens when a person sins: “Every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved” (John 3:20). The most devastating thing about sin is not the offensive act of sinning, though that is bad enough. We sin when we do something wrong, offending or violating someone, transgressing God’s definition of right behavior. As if that were not bad enough, the devastation that takes place in the hearts of the offenders is even worse.
Because we were made in the image of God, we each have a God-consciousness and a general moral code written on our hearts. Add to that moral code the overwhelming conviction of God’s Spirit, and you have little chance of escaping feelings of personal guilt when you sin. This is the devastation of sin—the feelings of personal guilt and shame that overwhelm us and prevent us from bringing our sin to light for fear of rejection and rebuke. This desire to keep our skeletons in our closets is what drives many people into spells of discouragement, depression and despair. That is why the psalmist said his bones were wasting away while he remained silent about his sin (Psalm 32:3).
What is the answer for this devastation of sin? We must expose it to the light of God, confess it and seek reconciliation with God and with the offended person. When confession is made, forgiveness is enjoyed.

Will you confess your sins today?

Mark Clements


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God of Truth




Few words captivate and consume this writer more than the word truth (grace is another). Sadly, however, few words are under more attack than this one. We live in an age of unprecedented relativism, where truth is “up for grabs,” is different for each person, and changes according to circumstances.


In stark contrast, God is the God of truth. As Moses sings, “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he” (Deu_32:4). The psalmist echoes in a messianic prophecy, “Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth” (Psa_31:5; cf. Luk_23:46). And the prophet Isaiah repeats, “That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth” (Isa_65:16).


Truth is a translation of ’emeṯ (H571, or ’emûnāh, H530, ), which has at its root the ideas of firmness and certainty and includes such concepts as truth, rightness, and faithfulness. Also inherent in the word is the idea of faith, which in biblical usage “is an assurance, a certainty, in contrast with modern concepts of faith as something possible, hopefully true, but not certain.”


It is extremely significant that the Septuagint translates this Hebrew word with the Greek alētheia in some 100 instances. As one Greek authority defines it: “Etymologically alētheia means nonconcealment. It thus denotes what is seen, indicated, expressed, or disclosed, i.e., a thing as it really is, not as it is concealed or falsified. Alētheia is the real state of affairs.” The fundamental concept of truth is that it is absolute and certain, is incontrovertible, irrefutable, unarguable, and unchanging. If something is true, it is always true and can never be untrue, no matter what the circumstances.


This name greatly helps us understand who God is. He is the God of certainty, firmness, and assurance. He never changes and is absolutely dependable. Again, Jesus Christ is “the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Heb_13:8, ). As we rejoice in the certainties of the God of truth, let our desire in turn be the pursuit of absolute truth in all things and in every area of life.


Scriptures for Study: What does Joh_14:6 declare? In Joh_16:13, what is one ministry of the Holy Spirit? In Joh_17:17; Joh_17:19, what is a result of truth?




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Christ’s Sacrifice Prophesied


Isaiah 53:3-12


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.



Description of the sacrifice (Isa. 53): despised, rejected, sorrows, grief, esteemed not. Does this sound like a sacrifice that would please a holy, perfect God?


He carried our griefs and sorrows. Did we appreciate it? No, we turned our backs on Him. He came unto His own and His own rejected Him. Did that deter Him? It did not. He opened His arms of mercy and called us from the cliffs of hell. We turned our backs on Him and ran off like spoiled, rebellious children. He called us friend, and we kissed the holy cheek of God’s Lamb of sacrifice and turned Him over to the enemy for a handful of coins. We beat the thorns of our sins down upon His head, and He offered us a crown of life. He laid down on our tree of death, and we drove the nails through His hands that held Him there, and He prayed for us. Father, forgive them. They do not know what they are doing. That is love that man’s finite mind cannot begin to fathom.


Think about it. Oh, how He loved Him, “My beloved Son” (Matt. 3:17). Oh, how He loved us, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow” (Isa. 1:18). “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor.  5:21). “He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth” (Isa. 53:7).



Just Saying


God said it six thousand years ago; God did it two thousand years ago. The proof is in the pudding “that the Lord is gracious” (1 Peter 2:3).



Robert Brock



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“And because iniquity shall abound , the love of many shall wax cold.” Matt. 24:12
The past few decades of vaunted progress have given Adam’s race no few creature comforts, not the least of which is air conditioning. It is almost a necessity in southern parts of the country where high temperatures and equally high humidity send all who are able scurrying to the cool indoors. Of course, a very large crowd of Christians will endure extreme heat, humidity, rain, etc. for hours at a sporting event, but would never subject themselves to a short worship service if the air is not conditioned for comfort. This underscores the point I am attempting to make.
In the Hebrew Old Testament, the common word for “cold” as in lower temperatures is “Qal.” Its Greek equivalent in the New Testament is “psucho” which specifically refers to a lowering of temperature by the process of blowing or evaporation; the same thing as modern air conditioning. Metaphorically, it denotes a cooling of love, zeal, desire for a thing, and names the responsible, causative agent: the abounding of iniquity. To be more specific, it is the individual reaction to the abundance of iniquity. What does this mean?
Iniquity is sin, to be sure, but a specific type of sin. The term means “no law” or “without law” and specifically to proceed in religious affairs not knowing, nor wanting to know, what the rules of God (His Word) teaches. In the vernacular it may be stated, “I know what I want to do, or believe, so don’t confuse me with the facts.”
It is sometimes difficult for New Testament church members to follow the plain teaching of the Word when others all around them make a loud claim to be Christian, but have little to no regard for the Word. Such cooling for God, His Word, His church is not a sudden turn of events, but a slow, consistent process. Discouragement pervades the psyche of the nominal Christian who is by virtue of spiritual immaturity, totally unsuited for pressure, ridicule, or persecution in any form. He then finds himself aligning more closely with the unfaithful and practitioners of iniquity: thus is he air conditioned, air conditioned, cooling, colder, cold! One need not be highly intelligent to identify this as a current, widespread reality, but though it is happening as Jesus said it would, one does not have to be identified among the “many” in that process.
Consider that “God reacts to man as man reacts to God!” is indeed a true statement. Hear the apostle James, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” There is much joy and excitement in witnessing this age come to a close. Doubtlessly, but though troublesome and sometimes most stressful, this is the grandest time to be a knowledgeable Christian on the planet, but you can’t see it if you have waxed cold.



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