Working at cross-purposes to God’s work underway in a Dispensation. Iniquity may not involve violating a direct commandment. There is no record of Abraham issuing any commandments, but he was called of God and blessed, and therefore, anyone who worked at cross-purposes (i.e., took his wife from him, as happened on two occasions) was committing iniquity. God’s work varies between Dispensations, so the actions which constitute iniquity also vary between Dispensations. In the current Dispensation, God is working to bring about a people of one heart and one mind, with no poor among them — Zion. So those who oppose equality and favor inequity commit iniquity — inequity is iniquity (two spellings of the same English word). Sin and iniquity overlap. However, there are times when a sin is not iniquity: when Christ’s disciples plucked and ate wheat on the Sabbath or when David’s warriors ate the shewbread that only the priests were to eat, neither of these sins were iniquity. There are also occasions when iniquity is not sin. When the people who heard Joseph preach failed to respond and accept his role as a messenger sent by God, there was no sin in that, but there was iniquity.

    Christ was denounced as a “sinner” because He violated the commandments — repeatedly and openly. His explanation was not that He wasn’t a sinner, but that the law was based on a higher set of principles that were more important than the law itself. And if the observant soul could see the higher principles, then they were to be preferred and followed. His Sermon on the Mount was an extensive exposition on the higher principles underlying the commandments — they were more important, so much so, that if one followed the commandments all his life but failed to notice the underlying principles, then he was truly ungodly and failed to understand the reason God provided the Law to Moses. When confronted about His sins, Christ did not really deny sinning. He instead posed questions about the rigorous focus on the Law to the exclusion of the underlying principle. In the case of His disciples plucking wheat and eating on the Sabbath, He did not reject the idea that it violated the Law but instead took an example from history to show that the life of man is more important. The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.

    Paul wanted everyone to know that the Lamb was without blemish because He was sin-free. But the only reason Christ was sin-free was not because He kept the Law — He did not. It was because Christ saw something higher to be followed, and He followed and taught that higher set of principles — principles which bring about godliness, even holiness. Because He practiced holiness as a matter of principle, He was not merely ceremonially clean (which, by the way, He failed to accomplish), but He was, instead, actually clean. He was holy indeed, without the need of seeking holiness through the ceremonies of the Law of Moses.

    To the extent that it did not involve a violation of higher principles, Christ also kept the Law and observed the Mosaic ordinances. More importantly (and much more importantly), He fulfilled the Law of Moses. He was the Paschal Lamb. He was the sacrifice for sin. The only way He qualified was because His life reflected consistently the higher principles upon which the Law was based. Had He failed to live consistent with those higher principles, He could not have qualified to fulfill the Law. He did not deny He sinned — Paul did that — but His sins were meaningless because His path followed everything commanded by the Father. What the Father said (to Him in His Dispensation) was what He did. Therefore, He was entirely justified and sanctified, albeit an offender of the Law of Moses. Therefore, He was without iniquity.1

    1 Scripture committee meeting notes and emails, Oct. 25–26, 2017.