Iniquity is the internal act of obstinacy against God. It involves the attitudes of the heart.

The Greek word for iniquity used most frequently in the New Testament is anŏmia, which means “lawlessness, that is, violation of the law or. . . Evil”. It is derived from the word anŏmŏs, which refers to not being subject to the law. Based on the teaching of Jesus and other passages of Scripture, iniquity is doing our own will instead of God’s will, even if our own will appears to be “doing good.”

The definition of wickedness as “doing our own will” is confirmed in Isaiah 53:6: “All of us like sheep have gone astray; We have each returned to his own path; And the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

The Bible uses words such as iniquity, transgression, and trespass to indicate levels of disobedience to God. They are all classified as “sin.”

The most frequently used Hebrew word for “iniquity” means “guilt worthy of punishment.” Iniquity is sin at its worst. The iniquity is premeditated, continuous and intensifying. When we flirt with sin, we fall for the lie that we can control it. But just as a cute baby monkey can become a wild primate, out of control, the sin that seems small and harmless at first can take over before we know it. When we indulge in a sinful lifestyle, we are committing iniquity. Sin has become our god rather than the Lord (Romans 6:14).

When we realize that we have sinned, we have a choice. We can see it for the evil that it is and repent. When we do, we find God’s forgiveness and cleansing (Jeremiah 33:8; 1 John 1:9). Or we can harden our hearts and dig deeper into that sin until it defines us. Partial lists of iniquities are given in Galatians 5:19-21 and in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. These are the sins that become so consumable that a person can be identified by that lifestyle. The psalmists distinguish between sin and iniquity when asking God to forgive both (Psalm 32:5; 38:18; 51:2; 85:2).