What are the “Dead Works” the Bible speaks of?
The answer from God’s word may surprise some for there are those who think they are helping God out, the big question is; does God need our help?
I know some Bible scholars will jump on me for what I have said and use one of many scriptures to refute it such as; for we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. 1-Corinthians 3: 9 NASB.
Guess what, I will agree with them all! As an obedient Christian moves towards maturity they will discover as I had also discovered the paradoxes in the word of God. A question; why did Jesus speak to the people in Parables? He did so in order that only his people the believing followers would understand and the others would not. The Lord said some controversial words to the Jewish people which included the ever present evil Scribes and Pharisees looking to catch him breaking the Law. When he spoke of the eating of his flesh and drinking of his blood it set off a firestorm among the Jews especially those who were the experts of the Law. What the Lord had said was a violation of the Law. (Cannibalism and the drinking of blood) This indeed is a paradox for we know that our Lord always* kept the Law perfectly and would never break it. Even his disciples came to him being deeply troubled but our Lord quickly put their fears to rest by saying; the words I speak are Spiritual, not literal, for the Spirit gives life and the flesh profits nothing. (Paraphrased) John 6:63 NASB. When we take communion we are not actually eating and drinking his blood but are being spiritually tuned into what he suffered at the cross for us. The Lord re-affirmed this at the Last Supper by using the bread and wine as the symbols we use today in as he said a “Remembrance” of HIS sacrifice alone, not ours, for what could we offer that would be greater than his sacrifice on the cross?
The answer is nothing, as our own works even sacrifices cannot save us, it is only by faith in Jesus plus nothing else, the thief on the cross believed and was saved without works or sacrifice on his part. The Lord explained to his disciples why he spoke to the multitudes in Parables, he said; Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. Matthew 13: 11 NASB.
This brings me back to my topic about dead works, this is a paradox as we are told to love God with all our heart and soul and might and our neighbor as ourselves, it is only possible by God giving us the ability to do it! This is why he gave us his Holy Spirit who is also the only one who can through us perform his good works that he had previously ordained we walk in, so any of our works done by us and not the Holy Spirit are “Dead Works”. We can love God and our neighbor with all our heart and soul by the power of the Holy Spirit, so God does it all through us
and then we are truly his fellow workers, obedient mature Sons performing just as Jesus did by doing only God’s work and not his own, follow him only, not the commandments of man.
What sets Christianity apart from the world’s religions today is their works done in one form or another in order to obtain a right standing in the eyes of the one who is the head of that belief. Christianity is based upon the word of God and the Bible proclaims that salvation is totally of God through the perfect sacrifice of his only begotten Son Jesus and this is apart from works, based solely upon faith in him alone. So in concluding, we must understand that it is only through the Holy Spirit that we can rightly divide God’s word in order to obtain it’s true meaning especially of those paradoxical scriptures that some take and make a whole false doctrine out of like those who promote “Works and faith” in order to be saved, these are according to God’s word the dead works that will always be rejected by God. They flaunt these dead works to the Lord himself who replies; many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons, and in your name perform many miracles?’ Matthew 7: 22 NASB.
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Matthew 7: 23 KJV.
*Not only did Jesus keep the Law of Moses perfectly, he magnified it by saying that if you even think about something against the Law you will have broken it without actually doing the act! But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:28 NASB.
And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out. It’s better to enter the Kingdom of God with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, Mark 9:47 NLT. Jesus was proving that the Law was impossible to keep by anyone besides himself, the God man, the second Adam that could not fail.