If you were clean and then took a bath to get clean, that would be a dead work.
Jesus was not about doing dead works.
Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.” John 13:8-11 ESV
Jesus also told us to avoid doing dead works.
In the same way for believers, Jesus has paid for all of our sins on the cross. We are washed completely clean by the blood of Jesus. We are totally forgiven and made fully right with God by faith through grace alone. God has qualified us.
A dead work is any work that is done in an attempt to be right with or maintain our right standing with God. An attempt to clean what has already been cleaned, making the work useless.
An easy way to determine if you are performing dead works.
Anything we do out of guilt or fear to appease God, trying to be right with Him, is a dead work because we are already right with God by the blood of Jesus Christ. Dead works indicate a lack of understanding and doubt about God’s promise in John 3:16 and many other verses. They indicate a lack of understanding about our righteousness in Christ. Dead works are generated from worry, fear, and guilt, the children of doubt.
We should always do the next right thing, and I am against sin. But is there anything you are doing for God (keeping the law, not sinning, helping at church, giving money, acting a certain way, reading the Bible every day, praying every day, etc.) that you fear if stopped, would make God angry with you or possibly forfeit your salvation?
For example, do you think you must keep the letter of the law, the Ten Commandments? If you do not keep them, what would happen to you and your salvation? If you think you would be punished by God and possibly lose your salvation, you are keeping the commandments out of fear of punishment, keeping the commandments in an attempt to be right with God when you are already right with God. In Christ, you are righteous, holy, sanctified and perfected by the blood of Jesus right now. Therefore, the things you are doing out of fear, trying to be right with God, are dead works.
In other words, Jesus has completely washed you clean, and you want to take a bath to get clean.
This is the reason the Bible tells us to not do things out of guilt. For example, to not give out of guilt or compulsion. If we give out of guilt to be right with God, it is a dead work.
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Cor 9:7 ESV
If we do our good deeds to be recognized by others, we are doing them out of fear we are not right with God. We are trying to show that we are right with God by the work. The Bible tells us that practicing our righteousness (note this is not His righteousness) in front of others like this will receive no reward in Heaven. This is because it is a dead work, trying to be right with God by our works. Practicing self-righteousness is a dead work.
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Matt 6:1 ESV
Here are some more dead works that believer regularly practice.
a) Trying to be holy or teaching we need to be holy. We are already holy by the blood of Christ.
Hagiazó - Short Definition: I make holy, sanctify
And by that will, we have been made holy/sanctified through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Heb 10:10 NIV
b) Trying to be sanctified or teaching we are being sanctified. We are already sanctified by the blood of Jesus.
Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified/made holy, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. 1 Cor 6:11 NASB
c) Trying to complete yourself or teaching we are being completed. We are already complete in Christ.
and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; Col 2:10 NAS
d) Trying to perfect yourself. We have already been made perfect by the blood of Christ.
For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified/holy. Heb 10:14 NASB
e) Trying to be righteous, right with God through law-keeping and good works. We are already righteous in Christ.
Him (Jesus) who knew no sin He (God) made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:21(ASV)
f) In some denominations, trying to be a saint when the blood of Christ makes all believers saints.
To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their [Lord] and ours: 1 Cor 1:2 NASB
g) Why don’t you see these things when you look in the mirror? Because all of the points I just listed apply to your new born-again Spirit. In the flesh you see in the mirror there still resides the same inherited Sin nature you got from Adam. Your flesh will never be redeemed, this is why it dies. So do not judge yourself or others by the flesh.
God sees our flesh as dead and unredeemable, because of sin. Our sin was condemned in the flesh on the cross with Christs.
knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Rom 6:6-7 NAS
Therefore, trying to perfect the flesh when God sees it as crucified with Christ on the cross and dead, is a dead work. God is not looking at the sins of your dead flesh nor is your dead flesh in school so it can learn something for eternity. He sees you in the perfection of Christ, in the Spirit, and is looking at your faith. To try and perfect a corpse by the dead flesh is a waste of time. When you leave this world, you will get a new glorified body and your redemption will be complete. It will not have a fallen inherited Sin nature from Adam. It will be in perfect sync with your Spirit that is already perfected.
Study: God SWORE I Will NOT be Angry With or Rebuke Believers
Doing works for the right reason.
Many are doing the same works I listed previously for the right reason, why not you too. Dead works cannot serve the Living God. Once we realize we are perfectly right with God at this very moment because of Jesus shed blood, we will do things out of love and joy, not out of fear and doubt. Fear will be cast out when we are firmly established in His righteousness and His love for us in our minds.
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:16-19 ESV
Joy is part of the Kingdom of God and only comes after a person realizes they are completely right with God by the blood of Jesus. We are to do things out of joy. Joy only comes after we are firmly established in His righteousness in our mind, peace follows it and then joy comes to the renewed mind.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Rom 14:17 ESV
Repentance from dead works is what you did when you were first saved.
While implied, the Bible does not say “repent from sin.” It does speak clearly about “repentance from dead works” and tells us this is an elementary and foundational teaching in Christianity along with faith toward God. This tells us the repentance (change of mind) the Bible is teaching about to be saved, is to change our mind about relying on our own dead works and rely on God’s work in Christ instead.
Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, Heb 6:1 ESV
Before one comes to Christ, they are relying on their own dead works in an attempt to be right with God. We come to Christ when we realize our dead works will never save us. We then trust in His work on the cross, and that is all we need to be saved. The problem is that Satan creates doubt in our minds about God’s word and our salvation. This leads us to once again try and earn our right standing before God with dead works when we are already saved.
Stop doubting God’s word. If you believe, you are saved period! It is a gift from God. You need not doubt, fear or worry. You are completely right with God by the shed blood of Jesus. Satan is the only one that wants you to doubt, and he will use others that he has deceived in an attempt to deceive you too.
Study: If You Believe You Have Been Saved
Jesus Did Not Die to See If We Can Qualify
Stop Disqualifying Yourself
Don't Rearm Your Enemy
Be honest before God.
This message is for your benefit, real freedom, if you are reading it, it is between you and God. Dead works will burn you out, build no treasure in heaven and cannot serve the Living God. I had performed many dead works in my life before I understood the truth. Be honest with God about why you are doing the things you are doing. If you are performing dead works, then commit to making a change and first seek to be firmly established in, renewed in your mind about, His righteous, the key to God’s Kingdom.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matt 6:33 ESV
Study:Only Way to be Righteous
Literally Righteous in Christ
Seek First His Righteousness
I AM THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN CHRIST
Under the New Covenant, we are as clean as we ever will be, our spirits washed as white as the freshest fallen and whitest snow.
But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified (made righteous) in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Cor 6: 9:11 ESV (emphasis mine)
"Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool. Isa 1:18
Study: I Am Holy, I Am Sanctified, I Am Perfected
God Said a Believer Can Never be Considered Unholy
Under the New Covenant, God is NOT counting, remembering or imputing our sins unto us. We are under grace where sin is not counted.
“I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. Isa 43:25 ESV
For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” Heb 8:12 ESV
then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more. Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. Heb 10:17-18 ESV
that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.2 Cor 5:19 ESV
“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” Rom 4:7-8 ESV
Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in unchanging love. He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins Into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:18-19
How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit! Psalm 32:2
'In those days and at that time,' declares the LORD, 'search will be made for the iniquity of Israel, but there will be none; and for the sins of Judah, but they will not be found; for I will pardon those whom I leave as a remnant.' Jer 50:20
As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12
"Lo, for my own welfare I had great bitterness; It is You who has kept my soul from the pit of nothingness, For You have cast all my sins behind Your back. Isa 38:17
"I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud And your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you." Isa 44:22
Study: The New Covenant of Grace Replaced the Old Covenant of Law
New Covenant Study Book of Hebrews
Like God, we are to no longer be conscious of our sins.
Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? Heb 10:2 ESV
let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Heb 10:22 ESV
He (Jesus) entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.Heb 9:12-14 ESV
Study: God Forgets Our Sins For His Own Sake
A Christians Sins are NOT Counted Against Them
Can a Christian Lose their Salvation by Sinning? NO
Sins Are NOT Counted Under Grace
The Only Place Sin Lies Dead
Many more New Covenant studies HERE.