What Is Iniquity In The Bible

In the Bible, iniquity is what makes mankind sinful. The biblical term means a moral injustice or wickedness, or an immoral act or behavior that goes against God’s Law. It’s important to understand the term in its biblical context, and to see that iniquity applies to any aspect of behavior that goes against God’s will.
In the Bible, iniquity is most often associated with dishonesty and wickedness. In the Old Testament, this term is typically used to describe someone who is not obedient to God’s laws or teachings. In Exodus 23:7, for example, God warns the Israelites against “iniquity” and encourages them to “keep [their] souls free from guilt.” Similarly, Psalm 119:3 admonishes, “No iniquity will be found in me.” The reformers Martin Luther and John Calvin both saw iniquity as willful disobedience of God’s laws.
In the New Testament, Jesus describes iniquity as the natural consequence of a sinful nature. When Jesus preaches in the Sermon on the Mount, he warns against harboring hatred in one’s heart, because “it is iniquity.” He then illuminates the insidious nature of iniquity by saying that anyone who calls his brother a fool has committed “iniquity” worthy of judgment. This reveals that iniquity can refer not just to active wrongdoing but also to the darker, less visible inner sin of the heart.
In the Bible, iniquity is seen as something that is unavoidable and deeply ingrained in our nature. In the Book of Romans, Paul writes that “all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), emphasizing that we are all born with a sinful nature and are naturally inclined towards iniquity. Similarly, in Ecclesiastes 7:20, we read: “Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.” This passage makes clear that iniquity is something that we are unable to overcome on our own.
In the Bible, iniquity can also refer to actions or thoughts that are contrary to God’s commands and teachings. In Deuteronomy 10:17, for example, we read: “The Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a horrible, who regards not persons, nor takes reward.” Here iniquity is presented as an aversion to giving preferential treatment to anyone based on their social class or wealth. Similarly, in Jeremiah 23:14, we read: “iniquity shall not be your ruin.” This passage makes clear that God is not looking to punish us for our iniquities, but rather to save us from them and lead us to an honorable life.
In the Bible, iniquity can also refer to false beliefs and superstitions. In Isaiah 4:1, for example, we read: “judgment is come to the foundations of the earth: iniquity shall be judged.” Here iniquity is presented as the false belief in the supernatural and the willingness to put faith in what cannot be proven.
In the Bible, iniquity can also refer to idolatry, or the worshipping of other gods. In 2 Chronicles 36:14-15, for example, we read: “all the princes of Judah, the priests, and the people, added to their iniquity, to profane the house of the Lord, which He had sanctified.” In this passage, iniquity is presented as an act of idolatry, a refusal to acknowledge God’s holiness and an attempt to turn away from devotedness to Him.


In the Bible, iniquity has a number of consequences. In Deuteronomy 30:15-19, for example, we read: “I will set My face against you, and you shall be defeated by your enemies. Those who hate you shall reign over you, and you shall flee when no one pursues you.” Here iniquity is seen as causing a great deal of suffering, both spiritually and materially. Similarly, in Romans 6:23, we read: “the wages of sin is death.” This passage indicates that iniquity can lead to physical death and that it carries a great weight of consequences.
In the Bible, iniquity can also have spiritual consequences. In Jeremiah 23:11-12, for example, we read: “Behold, I will make them know, this once I will make them know my power and my might, and they shall know that my name is the Lord.” This passage reveals that iniquity can lead to people forgetting about God and not recognizing His power. Similarly, in James 4:17, we read: “Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin.” Here iniquity can be seen as indifference, a lack of moral resolve, and a failure to do what is best for oneself.

Ways Of Fighting Against Iniquity

In the Bible, there are several ways to fight against iniquity. The first is to develop a closer relationship with God and to live out His words and teachings. In Romans 12:2, for example, we read: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” This passage reveals that through changing our minds and behavior, we can stay away from ungodliness and put our faith in God’s will.
Another way to fight against iniquity is to avoid comparison and strive to be content with what we have. In Philippians 4:11-12, for example, we read: “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. I’m instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” This passage reveals that we should not be envious of others and that we should be thankful for the blessings that God has bestowed upon us.
A third way to fight against iniquity is to live according to God’s law. In James 2:10, for example, we read: “whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” This passage reveals that we should strive to uphold God’s guidelines in order to live rightly, despite our human imperfections.
Finally, a fourth way of fighting against iniquity is to be mindful of our thoughts and our hearts. In Matthew 5:27-28, we read: “You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you, that whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.” This passage reveals the impact that our innermost thoughts can have on our hearts, and warns us to be mindful of our intentions.

Iniquity And Its Effects On Society

In the Bible, iniquity has a number of effects on society. In Isaiah 59:1-2, for example, we read: “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” This passage reveals that iniquity can lead to separation from God and a lack of faith and fellowship among people.
Similarly, in Romans 1:21-32, we read: “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which were not proper.” This passage reveals that iniquity can lead to a decline in morality and a rejection of God’s commands. It also shows that iniquity can lead to a deep sense of guilt, shame, and despair.
Finally, in Hosea 4:1-2, we read: “For the iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is stored up. The sorrows of a woman in childbirth shall come upon him.” This passage reveals that iniquity can lead to anguish and suffering, and to long-term consequences in health and wellbeing.

Guilt And Righteousness

In the Bible, the consequences of iniquity are often contrasted with the rewards of righteousness. In Isaiah 61:7-8, for example, we read: “For your shame you shall have double, and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: Therefore in their land they shall possess the double: Everlasting joy shall be to them.” This passage reveals that those who follow God’s commands will be rewarded with joy and happiness, while those who commit iniquity will suffer shame and regret.
Similarly, in Romans 8:1-4, we read: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, for the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus form the law of sin and death.” This passage reveals that those who are faithful to God’s commands and are willing to accept His forgiveness, they will be able to attain righteousness and avoid the consequences of iniquity.
Finally, in Luke 7:47, we read: “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much.” This passage reveals that those who have a deep love for God and accept His grace and mercy can be forgiven even the most grievous sins and attain the joys of righteousness.

The Importance Of Repentance

In the Bible, repentance is seen as an important way to turn away from iniquity and attain righteousness. In Isaiah 1:18-19, for example, we read: “Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord: Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” This passage reveals that through repentance, God will forgive our iniquities and make us white as snow.
Similarly, in Joel 2:12-14, we read: “Turn to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning. So rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn to the Lord your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness.” This passage reveals that true repentance requires us to turn away form our wickedness and return to God with a heartfelt change of heart.
Finally, in Psalm 51:1-2, we read: “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to your loving-kindness: according to the multitude of your tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” This passage reveals that through repentance, God will forgive our sins and cleanse us from iniquity.

Concluding Considerations

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Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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