Summary: What is iniquity? What is Sin?
Ezekiel 36:33-37 "Thus says the Lord God: On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places shall be rebuilt. 34 And the land that was desolate shall be tilled, instead of being the desolation that it was in the sight of all who passed by.35 And they will say, ' This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden, and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited. '36 Then the nations that are left all around you shall know that I am the Lord; I have rebuilt the ruined places and replanted that which was desolate. I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it.37 "Thus says the Lord God: This also I will let the house of Israel ask me to do for them: to increase their people like a flock.
When the land enjoys the benefits of the people's cleansing (v. 33 ). The impact on the land is not simply on its fertility (vv. 34–35 ). The cityscape is renewed as well as the landscape (v. 33 ).
This is a promise of Renewal
The fertility of the Land will be restored
The Landscape will change from wasteland to a Garden
The Cityscape will change from ruined to well built
The mention of Eden (v. 35 ) emphasizes the nature of this act as re-creation. One appointed function of Israel's experience in the land was to show the whole world a restored Edenic life, lived in God's presence and with his blessing. This is also the function of the Church (God's Israel).
So what is the key to see a Church that is desirable? What is the secret to build a Church that is so pleasant that the people around desire to be a part of?
Notice how verse 37 also talks about numeric increase (like a flock). It all starts with a very simple thing, God says, "Thus says the Lord God: On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities..." This seams to be to simple to be true. So if we are cleansed from iniquities the blessing will come? I want that!
1. What is iniquity?
Some people think that sin and iniquity are the same thing.
Isaiah 59:2 "but your iniquities have separated you from God; your sins have hidden his face from you so that he will not hear."
Is there a difference between SIN and INIQUITY? This seams to be really obvious but a lot of people think that they are the same.
There are 3 different aspects of the whole fallen nature of man.
Exodus 34:7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation."
1. Iniquity = Perversion.
Gross immorality or injustice; wickedness. The Hebrew meaning is: perverseness, bowed down, twisted; to be bent or crooked; to be wrung out of course. The word "iniquity" ('avon in Hebrew) is used to express how a human heart is not holy--not set apart, not perfect, not godly.
2. Transgression = Rebellion.
A violation of a law, command, or duty: The exceeding of due bounds or limits.
The Hebrew meaning of transgression is a wilful deviation from, and therefore rebellion against, the path of godly living. The Greek meaning of transgression is: To go beyond; Overstepping the limits. This word very strongly links with rebellion and disobedience. Transgressions are more potent than just sinning and are the next step into further permanent bondage. Transgressions are related to trespass, which is a wilful violation of the law (human or Godly law).
3. Sin = Missing the mark.
Insufficient to satisfy a requirement or meet a need resulting from such inadequacy.
The English word for sin is derived from archery. The archer would draw the bow and shoot the arrow towards the target. If he missed the mark, the overseeing official would yell "sin." The Hebrew meaning of sin is: Slipping away from where you should be;
Prov. 25:28 Whoever has no rule over his spirit is like a city, broken down, without walls
Sin refers to an action, something that happens in the real world. Iniquity is an attitude of the heart. Iniquity will eventually lead us to sin. Iniquity is the same as unholiness. Any area of our life that is not set apart for God is an area of iniquity. The way to take possession of the Garden is to be cleansed from ALL our iniquities.
Scripture talks about Sin (singular) and Iniquities (plural). Jesus came to take away our sin but the iniquities of our heart are removed through a process of cleansing that we Christians call "Holiness" or living "Holy lives". Forgiveness of sin is instantaneous but cleansing of iniquities is progressive and takes time.