“Un” is a prefix in English meaning “not.” Added to a word, it changes the word to the opposite meaning. For example, “fair” becomes “unfair.” Some “un” words describe negative behavior or character, but some describe desirable traits.
Followers of Jesus Christ try hard to practice godliness and live a godly life. The Bible condemns ungodliness. One of the most scathing statements about ungodliness was written by Jude, who contended with “…ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude, v. 4). Jude further proclaims that Jesus Christ will come to “execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him” (Jude, vv. 14–15).
Today, it is certainly evident that the ungodly have turned God’s grace into lewdness! Many churches do not strongly condemn fornication, adultery, homosexuality and other sins, and some ordain fornicators, adulterers and homosexuals as priests or ministers. Where is the cry for repentance? Some churches condone abortion. God will certainly forgive those who repent, but He does not give grace to those who will not repent of ungodliness. The ungodly will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9–10).
Another bad “un” is unrighteousness. Christ came to cleanse us all from unrighteousness, if we seek Him (1 John 1:9). But His wrath will be against the self-seeking who will not obey the truth, and who continue practicing unrighteousness (Romans 2:8).
There are many other bad “uns” like “undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful” (Romans 1:31), and “unthankful, unholy” (2 Timothy 3:2). These are all negative, “unfruitful” traits, not bearing any fruits of God’s Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23). These things are unprofitable (Romans 3:12). What happens to the unprofitable servant? He or she will be cast “into the outer darkness” (Matthew 25:30).
Another bad “un” is unbelief, which prevented ancient Israel from going into the Promised Land. Those unbelieving Israelites were not like their forefather Abraham, who believed, had faith in and obeyed the Eternal God. But unbelieving Israel perished in the wilderness and “could not enter because of unbelief” (Hebrews 3:19). So, we are warned about “an evil heart of unbelief” (Hebrews 3:12).
But there are some good “un’s,” like being undefiled and unspotted. “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord!” (Psalm 119:1). “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27). This present evil world ignores God’s moral laws, including God’s laws regarding marriage. Only the “marriage bed” as defined by God is undefiled (Hebrews 13:4). Any other misuse of sex is sin, which is lawlessness (1 John 3:4).
Another good “un” is being “unleavened.” Serious students of the Bible are familiar with the story of Moses leading Israel out of Egypt. They left in haste, having to bring their unleavened dough still in the kneading troughs. A short while later, God instituted His annual holy days—which include the seven days of unleavened bread.
The New Testament explains the symbolism of unleavened bread. Leaven causes bread dough to rise or puff up. Leaven and leavened bread symbolically represent sin. Christians are instructed to “purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Corinthians 5:7–8).