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SIN: Trespasses, Sins and Iniquity


Sin is one of the most used terms in the Bible, appearing over 330 times in KJV and NIV Old Testament translations and over 110 times in most New Testament translations.   It appears more times in the Holy Scriptures than the words: Faith, Mercy, Grace, Love, Pray, Praise, Wisdom, or Heaven.  The word iniquity appears in the Bible nearly as often as the term sin.  Thus, this subject is one of the most important in Biblical Theology.

I. Definitions:  Sin comes from: sinne – which is from Old English synn; Germanic suntan; Latin sons – guilty; as a side note; the Spanish word ‘sin‘ means ‘without’ which is interesting because man remaining in sinful state is without God’s redemption.

Strong’s Concordance: sin (O.T.; most used as 2403:chattaath): an offense; habitual sinfulness; (requiring) sacrifice.  In the (N.T.; almost exclusively used as 266 – hamartia from hamartano): offense, sinful, to miss the mark (or prize), to err, trespass.  The word trespass is primarily an Old Testament term, appearing only 3 times in the New Testament as trespass; and less than 10 times as trespasses.  Trespass (816 / 817) asham (interesting near ashamed; as in Dan. 12:2 in NJV or NIV): to be guilty, guilt, made desolate, to perish, offend.  Also (4604) maal (interesting Latin / Spanish – mal means bad, ill, wrongful): treachery, falsehood, sore, trespass, transgression, grievous.  Iniquity is also mainly an O.T. term.  It is most used in the Hebrew form avon (5771): perverse, evil, fault, iniquity, mischief, sin.

See that sin and guilt are very dangerous in terms of biblical soteriology or concerning salvation; however iniquity even more so is pure evil and typically intentionally perverse and sin.  One can trespass the law or on someone’s property without knowledge, but sin an offense more willful or such a grossly neglect error that you should have known better; and more grievously iniquity is outright evil and wickedness; willful sin and almost always an abomination to God and always one for which an unrepentant will go to hell.

Charles Ryrie in his Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth (1999) provides Hebrew and Greek words which describe sin: “ra, bad (Genesis 38:7); rasha, wickedness (Exodus 2:13); asham, guilt (Hosea 4:15); chata, sin (Exodus 20:20); avon, iniquity (I Samuel 3:13); shagag, err (Isaiah 28:7); taah, wander away (Ezekiel 48:11); pasha, rebel (I Kings 8:50).  He adds, ‘Sin was conceived of as being fundamentally disobedience to God…  Sin may take many forms, and the Israelite was aware of the particular form which his sin did take.”  Concerning “The New Testament: Kakos, bad (Romans 13:3); poneros, evil (Matthew 5:45); asebes, godless (Romans 1:18); enochos, guilt (Matthew 5:21); hamartia, sin (I Corinthians 6:18); adikia, unrighteousness (I Corinthians 6:9); anomos, lawlessness (I Timothy 1:9); parabates, transgression (Romans 5:14); agnoein, to be ignorant (Romans 1:13); planan, to go astray (I Corinthians 6:9); paraptomai, to fall away (Galatians 6:1); and hupocrites, hypocrite (I Timothy 4:2) …There is always a clear standard against which sin is committed.  Ultimately all sin is a positive rebellion against God and a transgression of His standards.  Evil may assume a variety of forms.  Man’s responsibility is definite and clearly understood.”

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary states: Sin is “The voluntary departure of a moral agent from a known rule of rectitude or duty, prescribed by God; any voluntary transgression of the divine law, or violation of a divine command; a wicked act; iniquity. Sin is either a positive act in which a known divine law is violated, or it is the voluntary neglect to obey a positive divine command, or a rule of duty clearly implied in such command. Sin comprehends not action only, but neglect of known duty, all evil thoughts purposes, words and desires, whatever is contrary to God’s commands or law. 1 John 3. Mat 15. James 4… Actual sin, above defined, is the act of a moral agent in violating a known rule of duty. Original sin, as generally understood, is native depravity of heart to the divine will, that corruption of nature of deterioration of the moral character of man, which is supposed to be the effect of Adam’s apostasy; and which manifests itself in moral agents by positive act of disobedience to the divine will, or by the voluntary neglect to comply with the express commands of God, which require that we should love God with all the heart and soul and strength and mind, and our neighbor as ourselves. This native depravity or alienation of affections from God and his law, is supposed to be what the apostle calls the carnal mind or mindedness, which is enmity against God, and is therefore denominated sin or sinfulness. Unpardonable sin, or blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, is supposed to be a malicious and obstinate rejection of Christ and the gospel plan of salvation, or a contemptuous resistance made to the influences and convictions of the Holy Spirit. Mat 12.  A sin-offering; an offering made to atone for sin. He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin. 2 Cor 5…”

So let us look closely at Sin; this immoral act or wrong against divine law.

II. How Sin entered the world or THE ORIGIN OF SIN as theologians like to express it:

“God formed man from… the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being… and the Lord God put man in the a garden eastward in Edam… (the Tigris and Euphrates rivers went out of Eden) And the Lord God commanded Adam [for Eve was not created and given at that time – yet: ‘in the beginning the WORD was with God:’ ‘the head of man is Christ, and the (spiritual covering) for woman is man; for man did not come from woman, but woman from man; nor was man created for woman, but woman for man… but man is born of woman.  But everything comes from God – 1 Cor. 11:4-‘ thus, it was Adam ‘the husband’ that was responsible to informing/instructing ‘the wife’ at least of this commandment of God] saying ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:7-16

“Adam was formed first, then Eve.  And it was not Adam that was deceived, but the woman (being tempted by her own evil desire and enticed – James 1:14) being deceived was in the transgression (sin) (1Tim.2:13-14)… for the serpent (Satan, that cunning dragon – Rev. 12:9) said to the woman… ‘You will not surely die, but God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ Gen. 3:4,5

For Eve did not consider ‘what the Lord required;’ nor what ‘the Lord God had commanded for they own good (Deut. 10:12-13)’ nor ‘the place of understanding… or wisdom; …and that the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding (Job 28:12,28).’  So, being deceived and enticed she ‘took of its fruit and ate.  She also gave to her husband and he ate; and their eyes were opened and they received KNOWLEDGE that they were naked… when the Lord came walking in the garden… they hid (and when asked about their situation by the Lord) the man said, ‘the woman You gave me, she gave me of the tree and I ate;‘ and the …woman said, ‘The serpent (You allowed in the garden) deceived me and I ate.’ So the Lord God said to the serpent: ‘…You are cursed… and I will put enmity between …your seed and her SEED (Gen. 3:15; Isa. 11:1; Matt. 1:1; Rom. 1:3; Gal. 3:16)…’

Then the Lord said to the woman: I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”     Gen. 3

And to Adam He said: “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it; All the days of your life… in the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, And to dust you shall return.”

Thus Job says, ‘all flesh shall perish and man shall turn again unto dust (34:15);’ and thus the wise preacher of Ecclesiastes says, ‘Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and …before the silver cord (spinal cord to the medulla oblongata) is broken and the golden bowl crushed (skull and its contents)… then dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it (Eccl. 12:1,6,7).’

So the Apostle Paul, says “therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned— To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.

But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!  Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.  For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Rom. 5:12-20

This is some deep stuff by Paul, so before you or i suppose we completely understand this once ‘Pharisee’ of pharisees – in that he ‘studied under the feet of Gamaliel’ (to this day considered by the Jews one of the greatest rabbis of all time), please go read Ezekiel 18 and at least a few more of Paul’s chapters (3-8 and his cross-references to Psalm and Isaiah, etc).  And consider what the Lord God has caveated from the beginning: “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” Gen. 4:7

III. Sources of Sin: Devil(s), worldly and fleshly spirits

God is not the source of sin as James (1:13) states before explaining its process.

Scripture tells us that Satan and his angels rebelled against the Creator before man was made (2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6), and that it was ‘that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan (Rev. 20:2)’ who came against Eve (Gen. 3); and is the “the tempter” of man; and the “ruler” and “god of this world (1 Thes. 3:5; John 14:30; 2 Cor. 4:4)” and still though ‘soon will be crushed under our feet – at the brightness of the coming of the Lord (Rom. 16:20; 2Thes. 2:8 ),’ yet, now the cunning serpent remains as a dragon – as a king of the jungle of his world;  so “Be serious about this; be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking anyone and all he may devour (1 Peter 5:8);”  For “the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy; (yet Jesus the Christ) comes that (those who repent, confess Him and believe) may have life (eternal)” -John 10:10; etc.

Now, because the spirits and the doctrines of spirits (1 Tim. 4:1) go about the world and come in and upon mankind; our hearts and minds can become corrupted (if not washed in the Word, by the WORD and the blood of the WORD – who is the Lamb of God; Eph. 5:26, 1Peter 1:19; Rev. 2:11; 19:12).  As thus, without repentance and being filled with the Spirit of God, “out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these evil things come from within, and defile the man (Mark 7:21-23).

IV. Types of Sin

A. Trespasses or Transgressions

B. Sin leading to death (we all die – this is speaking of eternal consequences):

The Catholics in their Catechism call this ‘Mortal Sin.’

C. Iniquity leading to death

D. Name of God: Exo. 34:6-7  The very name of God shows their are different types of sins: transgressions or trespasses (typically without knowledge); general willful sin and iniquity.

“And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”

V. The Path of Sin leading to death and Judgment; also called THE NATURE OF SIN:

There is a very helpful book that i read from years ago called The Handbook for Spiritual Warfare (1996) by Ed Murphy.  Before going further, when studying any significant doctrine it is good advice the remember the combined loosely paraphrased spiritual words from the apostle Paul, John Calvin and the Spirit of Counsel: whether angel or demon or I or another speaks, the moment the teaching or commentary  goes beyond the written Scriptures it gets on shaken ground in which you must take caution.  Meaning don’t instantly believe everything you here,but ‘search the Scriptures’ also to see ‘whether things are so (Acts 17:11).’

So the book which provides much insight on ‘multidimensional sin’ and demonology and of course ‘spiritual warfare,’ in its chapter 17 provides ‘Figure 17.1’ which displays a simple diagram called ‘The Continuum of Sin.’  Murphy notes Webster, ‘an uninterrupted ordered sequence’ obviously referring to the continuum.  And he though i can’t show the unnumbered diagram – the process goes like so which my additions in (parentheses):

Because most only verses will be provided, you can open this link if needed:

 >>>>>> THE CONTINUUM OF SIN <<<<<<

(Modified by a servant; added #7, commentary and most verses)

  1. THOUGHT        2 Cor. 10:3-5; 11:3; Phil. 4:8

Flesh: Gal. 5:16-21    World: 1 John 2:15-17   Evil Supernaturalism: Eph. 6:12              James 1:12, 1:14-16


Rom. 5:12; Gen. 4:7; Luke 8:11-; James 4:17; Jer. 17:10; Matt. 16:27

  1. HABIT

James 4:7; 1 Tim. 4:1


Matt. 24:13; Luke 8; etc.


Evil Supernaturalism

1 Cor. 6:9-; Gal. 5:19-


Evil Supernaturalism


Hebrews 10:26, etc.

If someone does not believe or abide in the grace and salvation of Christ Jesus then they are not saved in the first place – they are in a Lost State regardless where they are on this spectrum.  Murphy like in certain denominations because of his personal believes did not add Loss of Salvation to Christians who go down this path.  i however do following the apostles doctrines i see, as well as the teachings of the Early Church Fathers – in part which are available under the Heading: Systematic Theology – Salvation.


2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NKJV:  For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…

VI. The consequences for sin (Exo. 34:7) without a Redeemer: eternal anguish and separation




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