Iniquity, Transgression, Sin--There's a Difference?!  


Although you will see the phrase many times in the Bible, it caught my attention at Exodus 34:7 where it piqued my curiosity. Expecting a "waste of time" I decided to look up the words in the original Hebrew. The words: iniquity, transgression, sin.

Exodus 34:6-7 is an important place where God is declaring His name and revealing His glory to Moses. In verse 7 He tells Moses that He:
- Keeps lovingkindness for thousands
- forgives iniquity, transgression and sin
- yet will by no means leave the guilty unpunished
- visiting the iniquity of the fathers on children & grandchildren to the 3rd & 4th generations

So, I wondered about that phrase: iniquity, transgression, sin. Could there be a reason that this order is used repeatedly throughout the various books of the Bible? I was surprised. Allow me to show you what I found that God forgives.

Iniquity - pronounced aw-vone in Hebrew - is an offense, intentional or not, against God's Law,
bowing to others, perversity, (moral) evil: -fault, mischief

Transgression - pronounced peh-shaw in Hebrew - is a revolt (national, moral or religious):

Sin - pronounced khat-tawth in the Hebrew - is an offense (sometimes habitual sinfulness) & it's
penalty, occasion, sacrifice or explanation. The Vines Complete Expository
Dictionary goes on to explain:
-(when used as a sin offering was for some) specific 'sin' committed unwittingly,
without intending to do it and perhaps even without knowing it at the time
(used in Lev 4:2; 5:15) (used 135 times)
- Means: missing the road or mark (used 155 times)
- Can be against man or God
- Can also cover the guilt or condition of sin (Gen 18:20)

Do you see a progression, of sorts? I do.

Iniquity, like sin, can be committed without knowledge or intent. However, iniquity is a moral wrong where we let something, or someone, else get between us and God. It is a perversion--of what? Of God's Law. It can be done mischievously. It seems to me, that this falls under the "Eve offense" where the serpent asked her "Has God truly said...?" and when she answered, she unwittingly added to--changed even--God's Word when she answered that they were not even 'to touch it.' She didn't know and use God's Word in truth. The first iniquity.

Next comes Transgression: a revolt, a rebellion. What is rebellion?
1. To refuse allegiance to and oppose by force an established government or ruling authority.
2. To resist or defy an authority or a generally accepted convention.
3. To feel or express strong unwillingness or repugnance
Eve refused her allegiance to God. We do it, too. Eve defied authority and convention of God. We do it, too. We do it the same way that Eve did it: We say, I know what the Bible says, but I'm going to do it MY way. Eve took the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil after she thought and talked about it. She did it her way. So do we.

Finally, is Sin. Sin is specific acts that have made our iniquities or transgression habitual. A habit is something that we have done so many times that we now do it without thinking. We can be hurting people, letting things come between us and God or just saying, "I'm going to do it *my* way" repeatedly, without thinking, and without wanting to.

And God forgives each of these.

Do you see the progression of Eve's - and our - choices?
An unintentional perversion, or ignorance, of God's Word
led to
A choice to go against God's Law
led to
Being sent from the garden and establishing a life of habitual acts of hurting people, sinning against them, and God.

Eve seems to have truly thought she knew what God said. She didn't go back to the source to check. After all, God gave that Word to Adam before Eve was created. But she missed the mark. We do that sometimes, too. Don't we? We can miss the mark. We can intend to live by God's Word, but by not knowing it, by not going back to the source for ourselves, we can be distracted by the voices that say, "Has God truly said...?"

But do you see the extra beauty of the sin? Whether you meant to sin or not, God not only forgives that, but also the feelings that are left over. The guilt, shame, embarrassment, hurt, anger--God forgives those, too.

Do you know what forgive means? Vines says of the word forgive - nasa in the Hebrew - that it is to remove, depart, carry away, lift up, bear. Jesus removes all of these things from you, departs with it on His own back, carries it away to Golgotha, and lifts it up on the cross with Him. Then He whispers, "It is finished." before breathing His last breath.

You are forgiven.

I pray that if you hear a voice ask, "Has God truly said..." that you will go to the source, the Bible, where God will show you your answer so that you can answer, "Yes! God said it! It is written. Get behind me, I'm walking forward and not changing direction." I also pray that you comprehend your forgiveness. You don't give transgressions, iniquities or sins to God or lay them at the cross. You don't take them back. You offer them, He takes them. They're gone. Period. It is finished.

The Name of The Lord  


As I studied Exodus Chapters 33 and 34, while preparing for "Shine - Unveiled," more jumped out to me than I had time to share.

God tells Moses, "I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you."

So, You're telling me that You're going to tell me Your name?  In those days a person's name was a reflection, definition, explanation of who they were. God was about to reveal HimSELF to Moses. Therefor He's about to reveal Himself to us, now.  Who is He? When we discuss Him, are we representing Him truthfully? There is a lot of division in denominations over this topic. Is His name Jehovah or Yahweh? Is that the important part?

Before we look at what God says in revealing Himself, I'd like to jump to Malachi for a moment. I've been studying Malachi for a few weeks and am caught by God's focus on His name. Let's look for a moment, because I think we'll find a lot of application here - purpose for why God proclaimed His name and what it means to our life.
     First: Malachi 1:6-8 (NASB) says, “ ‘A son honors his father, and a servant his master. Then if I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is My respect?’ says the LORD of hosts to you, O priests who despise My name. But you say, ‘How have we despised Your name?’ 7“You are presenting defiled food upon My altar. But you say, ‘How have we defiled You?’ In that you say, ‘The table of the LORD is to be despised.’ 8“But when you present the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? Why not offer it to your governor? Would he be pleased with you? Or would he receive you kindly?” says the LORD of hosts."  

Sacrifices, Mary? Really? We don't do sacrifices, these days. Right? What about Romans 12:1-2 "1Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." We have an offering, my friends. Are we offering our best? Because what He's saying here is that we need to offer the best of what we offer to God alone. We've been offering Him less than we'd offer a man 'of importance' - like a governor. Even that man of importance would be offended if we offered him what we've been offering to God.  
But I think what should draw our attention here is *why* they are offering less than their best, *because*: "YOU SAY, 'The table of the LORD is to be despised."  

Despised, in the original Hebrew was bâzâh which was pronounced baw-zaw' and meant "to disesteem or raise the head loftily and disdainfully." I'm sure there are other words we can add to illustrate, but that really seems powerful to me. We choose whether or not to esteem the table of God's sacrifice. Will you believe that you are better than what He asks?

How do we despise and profane His name?
Mal 1:7-8          In that you *say* "The table of the Lord is to be 
                              You present the blind, lame, sick for sacrifice
                                                          aka - Less than best/perfect
Mal 1:12           In that you *say* 'The table of the Lord is defiled, 
                              & as for its fruit, its food is to be despised
Mal 1:13           You also *say*  'My how tiresome it is'
                               and you disdainfully sniff at it
                               and you bring what was taken by robbery and 
                               what is lame or sick

So, how do we revere & stand in awe of His name?
Mal 2:6          "True instruction was in his mouth and 
                               unrighteousness was not found on his lips; 
                        he walked with Me in peace and uprightness, and he 
                               turned many back from iniquity"

How do we turn many back from iniquity?  It's in what we teach AND how we live. What are we saying?  What should we be saying about God?  One more thing first: let's consider why this matters.

If we defile His name
Mal 1:14          But cursed be the swindler who has a male in his 
                             flock and vows it, but sacrifices a blemished 
                             animal to the Lord, for I am a great King," says
                             the Lord of hosts
Mal 2:2-4        If you do not listen, and if you do not take it to heart
                             to give honor to My name," says the Lord of 
                             hosts, "then I will send the curse upon you and I
                             will curse your blessings; and indeed, I have 
                             cursed them already, because you are not taking it
                             to heart.  Behold, I am going to rebuke your 
                             offspring and ... I will spread the refuse of your 
                             feasts on your faces, and you will be taken away
                             with it"
Huh? Curses.  Not good. Why? Because you offered your best (a vow) to a person instead of to God. Rebuke your offspring? That sounds harsh. But He'll also take all the best you offered (to feasts, parties, celebrations, etc) rub your face in it and then carry you away with it. You'll be left with *your* best rather than *the* best -- God.  Yuck. We need to take this to heart.

If we honor His name: 
Mal 3:16-18     Then those who feared (respected/honored) the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before
                                                       --watch this--
                                "They will be Mine," says the Lord of hosts, "on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him."
                                                      -- and this part's wonderful too:--
                                So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one
                                who serves God and one who does not serve Him.
                                                --so we will share in something else:--
Mal 2:4b-5        that My covenant may continue with Levi," says the Lord of hosts. "My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him as an object of reverence; so he revered Me and stood in awe of My name"
A covenant of life & peace... sigh... Why does that make me think of Jesus, hmmmm???
                                                       --and then, finally--
Mal 4:2,3        But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings and you will go forth and skip about (like calves from the stall) 
                               You will tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day which I am preparing," says the Lord of hosts.
Wow. We can be His. We can be spared. We can distinguish between the righteous and wicked. We can live in a covenant of life and peace, stand in the sun of righteousness, healed, care-free and skipping about, treading down the wicked.

So are you ready to know HOW???  Let's go back to Exodus 34 now.  Ready?

You can look at Malachi 2:6-8 to see the emphasis He places on teaching.  What are we to teach about honoring God's name? Who is God? Is He the God of revenge against Christians? Does He let those who hurt us go unpunished while punishing us for our past? Are there just some things He can't or won't forgive?  How do we answer our friends who say these things? Does it matter? What we say does matter. We've seen it here and it's echoed in Luke 6:45, "The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart."

In Exodus 34:6-7 The Lord passes by Moses and proclaims His name before Him.  In doing this He is saying, 'This is who I am. This is what you need to remember, teach. When you say you represent Me, and you are telling others who I am and what I'm like then this is what you teach, share, say.'  What do you *say*? May what is on your lips be what passed His lips as He spoke to Moses saying:

The Lord God
compassionate and gracious
slow to anger
abounding in lovingkindness and truth
who keeps lovingkindness for thousands
who forgives
will by no means leave the guilty unpunished
          visiting the iniquities of the fathers on children and grandchildren (up to the 3rd & 4th generations)
Exodus 34:6-7 (in list form)

I know this week was a long read.  Thank you for reading it through to the end.

Come back next time when we'll explore the difference between the iniquity, transgression and sin!! I didn't even realize there is a difference, until I did this study!



The final video in the Shine - Unveiled presentation:

A big thank you for permission to use the Lego pictures in these videos goes to the creator of Brick Testament.  Check them out:



Video 6 of 7 of the Shine - Unveiled presentation:



Video 5 of 7 in the Shine - Unveiled presentation:



Video 4 of 7 in the Shine-Unveiled presentation:

ERROR Correction:  Here I say that of the two times that Moses went up on the Mountain, Moses wrote the commandments the first time & God the second.  I am thankful to have been corrected.  Exodus 31:18 says, "When He had finished speaking with him upon Mount Sinai, He gave Moses the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written by the finger of God."  See, as I say in one of the videos, we *all* make mistakes. I am grateful for the correction & LOVE that in the correction is the truth that God wrote the law on the tablets every time. That backs up the lesson that "God Writes the Law" all the more solidly!! God's truth is awesome.  Stay in the Word for yourself, my friends. Lean fully on no teacher. We all learn from one another.



Video 3 of 7 in the SHINE  - UNVEILED presentation: