Leaving Dead Works Behind
Hebrews 6:1 (KJV)
“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works…”
Scripture exhorts us that a foundation of faith is ‘repentance from dead works’. Dead works here do not refer to sin, but to those actions we do to try to gain favour with Jesus or to achieve righteousness. Dead works are the root, which produce sin as a fruit in our lives. We are no longer under a system of receiving from God through the works of the law and our own self-efforts. Rather, we receive everything in the Christian life through ‘the hearing of faith’ (Galatians 3:2). As we continually surround ourselves with the Good News Message the fruits of our life become ‘perfection’ and righteousness. This is why Jesus tells us to ‘repent and believe the good news’ (Mark 1:15, NIV). Repentance is the Greek word metanoeo which simply means ‘to change one’s mind’. This happens as we hear the Good News, and allow it to convince us of the love of God towards us, and the lavish kindness we have received in him. Dead works are swallowed up by life as we continually hear, and are thus convinced, of the truths of faith. As Ephesians 1:3 declares, ‘the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ!’ (NIV). This is an unconquerable, undefeatable fact in our lives, as Christ’s finished work has united us with the Lord and made us one spirit with him! (1 Corinthians 6:17).
Because our spirits are holy, this means that our roots (the deepest parts of us) are holy – the more we are aware of this, the more the fruits in our life conform to this perfection and holiness! Dead works, and a lifestyle of sin, become irrelevant and invalid as we understand that we have perfect righteousness in Christ. As 2 Corinthians 5:21 puts it, ‘For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him’ (KJV). This is a past-tense statement to convince us of our firm, unshakable, consistent righteousness in him apart from works – righteousness through Christ has already freely been given to us, and we do not have to work towards this. Our only job in the New covenant is to hear the Good News, so that we can effortlessly believe, and thus receive, what is included in our freely accessible inheritance, and consequently experience every blessing in Christ! (John 6:29; Hebrews 4:11).
It is of utmost importance to remain under the message of grace, enjoying the all-sufficiency of Jesus, because dead works will never produce the desired results in our lives. 1 Corinthians 15:56 details to us that ‘the sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law’ (KJV). In other words, the more we try to gain righteousness through our own efforts (the law), the more the symptoms of sin and death will manifest in our lives. Yet the message of our righteousness in Christ always results in manifest life and peace! (Romans 8:11). The message of God’s grace revealed in Jesus is God’s only mechanism for successful living, and through it, you will receive every miracle and breakthrough that you have been longing for! – You do not have to worry about grace resulting in sin or apathy, either, as Titus 2:12 (NIV) articulates: ‘the grace of God teaches us to say ‘no’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age’. In other words, grace inspires and motives us, not only to avoid the wrong things, but also to enjoy the correct things. So under grace, you will still pray, read the Bible, and worship Jesus (perhaps more than ever before!), yet the motivation for these activities is entirely transformed. Under grace, praying, reading the Bible, and worshipping Jesus becomes filled with positive expectation, love, and joy. We no longer do these things to become right with God. Instead, they become adventures of discovery; mechanisms to enjoy the limitless beauty, riches, and kindness of Jesus, and to see and experience all that which has been included in our vast, wealthy inheritance. We have been made more spiritual than ever before in Christ, through Christ, and for Christ! When you say ‘hello’ to the message of grace, you simultaneously say ‘goodbye’ to dead, dry, tiresome works!