Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

Q: “I have been wondering if there is a difference between the terms sinner, wickedness, and evil. I have noticed that some sinners aren’t as bad as those who are called wicked or evil.”

A: According to Strong’s Concordance there is a difference between these terms. However, all three find their basis in idolatry, unbelief, and rebellion. Regardless of how each term may express itself, God sees that it brings a separation between the person who is giving way to the attitude, ways, and practices associated with these terms.

    The term “sinner” points to a person’s spiritual condition that has been passed down from Adam. A sinner is one who is missing the mark of what God designed for mankind to bring glory and honor to Him and will ultimately bear the blame for it. Their condition will cause them to offend God in some way, either through transgression (the breaking of the law) or through iniquity (moral deviation from what is right). As a result, they are forfeiting their right to be a recipient of God’s blessings, promises, and eternal life. Sinners are usually facing an eternal damnation because of unbelief towards God about their condition and need for a Savior.

      Evil is a state in which a person is operating and usually finds it roots in idolatry, while wickedness is the manifestation or practice of evil. Evil is the opposite of good, while wickedness is the opposite of righteousness. Evil points to a troubled, bad, adverse, distressed state that will displease God, while wickedness points to a rebellious attitude that will openly rebel against Him.

      Probably the best way to put it is we are all born sinners, but the state of evilness can become a preference as to the lifestyle people live and wickedness becomes a choice of expression. Despots are evil people and those who insist on walking according to the corrupt ways of the flesh and the profane ways of the world are wicked.

      I hope this answers your question.