foundation truth

lesson 28 - Iniquity

The word “mystery” is used in Scripture to refer to sacred secrets. In II Thessalonians 2:7, you read of the “mystery of iniquity.” This not only has prophetic reference to the future but refers to reasons why we sin.

The word “transgression” speaks of the wrongs that we have done, while the word “iniquity” goes beyond what we have done and deals with why we do wrong things. Psalm 32:5


Iniquity comes from the Greek word “anomia.” To break this down further, “a” means against, and “nomia” comes from the word meaning law. So iniquity means against the law and implies the following judgment. This word tells us three things:

  • That sin springs out of self-will.
  • That there is a law and, therefore, there must be a higher authority.
  • That we will be held accountable for our actions.

All sin is an act of the will. Lawlessness comes from lovelessness. Iniquity has always been a problem since Lucifer’s rebellion, but it is an even larger problem in our day. Ezekiel 22:15; Matthew 24:12


Since Adam and Eve, there has always been an attempt by mankind to excuse ourselves of any personal responsibility for wrongdoing. Genesis 3:12-13

We excuse ourselves by saying:

  • The devil made me do it.
  • It is their fault.
  • I can’t help the way that I am. (This implies it is God’s fault.)

But the truth of the matter is that we sin because we choose to sin. James 1:13, 14 Sin is a choice of our own will, and we are accountable for what we personally do. Romans 14:12


Psalm 19:12-13 gives us five increasing dimensions of sin.

  • Who can understand his errors? These are the things in our life that are wrong but of which we are not as yet aware. In many ways, our lives do not meet God’s approval, but God gives us time to mature before bringing these things to our attention.
  • Cleanse me from secret faults. It is at this point that God begins to deal with us personally about things that are wrong in our lives of which we were not aware. Now, we must deal with those wrongs. If we respond correctly and repent, God will cleanse us of the sin. However, if we resist God, we will go to the next level of sin. Cleansing should take place at this level.
  • Keep back your servant from presumptuous sins. Our sin is no longer a secret. The word “presumptuous” means to boil. Boiling brings hidden things to the surface. Now, our sin has been exposed, and others know of our wrongdoing. Cleansing can take place here, or we will digress to sin’s next level.
  • Let them not have dominion over me. Sin now controls us. John 8:34 We are now slaves to the sin that
    we once enjoyed. Romans 1:32 At this point, we not only need forgiveness but also need deliverance. There is only one final step downward.
  • And I shall be innocent of the great transgression. This is what is called the unpardonable sin: being reprobate, or an apostate. At the other levels, sin was something that we did or practiced. Now, sin is what we have become. We have become something other than what God originally designed us to be. Jude 6 The devil has committed the unpardonable sin.


Both sin and righteousness are progressive. We are either in the process of becoming more sinful or becoming more righteous. Romans 6:19; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 1:9

The word reprobate means, “not standing the test, rejected.” Jeremiah 6:30


Reprobation is a process in which a person degenerates from one depth of sin into another. Romans 1 describes God releasing mankind again and again on the road to reprobation.

  • God gave them up to immoral lusts. Romans 1:24
  • God gave them up to homosexuality. Romans 1:26
  • God gave them up to a reprobate mind. Romans 1:28


Since iniquity means lawlessness, if we are going to reverse this process, we must learn to submit to God’s authority. It is easy for us to claim we are in submission to God in heaven but at the same time to be in rebellion against God-given authorities here on earth. Here are some steps in dealing with the spirit of iniquity.

  • Realize that all authority is from God. Romans 13:1
  • Realize that leadership is God’s sovereign choice. Ephesians 4:11
  • Realize that submitting to leadership is submitting to Christ. Matthew 10:40; Luke 10:16
  • Realize that revelation from God comes by recognizing God’s servants. Matthew 23:34
  • Realize that good works are no excuse for rebellion. Matthew 7:23
  • Realize that all iniquity will ultimately be removed from the Kingdom of God. Matthew 13:41; I Samuel 26:9-10
  • We all need to ask ourselves, “How much of a rebel am I?”

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About the Author: Dr. Dale Yerton

Dr. Yerton serves as an overseer of a network of churches across the world. What began as a network of six church groups representing 500 churches in Mexico has grown into an international ministry. 

He and Evelyn, his wife over fifty years, live in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. They have two daughters: Lora–married to the Rev. Vince Farrell, pastors of Journey Church in Hopkinsville, Kentucky–and Kari—also of Hopkinsville–and are the proud grandparents of Emma and Bennett Farrell.

Dale Yerton