For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit, offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Hebrews 9: 13-14
The first question we should ask is, “What are dead works?” Let’s look at
Romans 10:3: For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.
We can’t earn God’s favor and righteousness by doing works. Jesus became our righteousness. When we believe God, we submit to His truth and the accomplished work of Jesus on the cross for us. The Lord desires for us to do good works which were purposed for us from beginning of time. However, man in his fallen state desires to do his own works which are dead works. When man is rightly related to God, he is dependent on the Lord to set the agenda for his life including the works he will do. However, when we are not rightly related to God, we use works to feel better about ourselves!!
Dead works give false security about our relationship with the Lord. Man leans on his performance and understanding to ensure he’s doing ok. It is our soulish reference point. When all else fails, and we don’t see clearly then our identity comes into question. At that point, dead works become the Adam’s leaf that hide our insecurities or our shame. Dead works give us significance. It can be the sacrifice that hides our disobedience (Look at 1Samuel 15). It becomes the narcotic that calms our anxious nerves.
Dead works are not only dead, but they are deadly!! The more you do them, the more addictive they become because they have a momentary sense of pleasure to them. What we don’t see right away is that they trap us to do more dead works. If we stop doing them fear takes over. The thought of getting forgotten and becoming insignificant come like hunger pangs ready to tempt us to give in to this soulish manna. The feelings of withdrawal become so strong that sometimes it makes you think that you are committing spiritual suicide if you don’t do some more dead works!!
The good news is that the above scripture tells us that the blood of Christ cleanses our conscience from dead works. What an entrapment we have when we have lived for so long with dead works!? It has seared our conscience. It has become the measure we use to determine if we are right with God. Our conscience, the very place that is supposed to discern the difference between good and evil, the place where we need to get convicted by the Holy Spirit is defiled by dead works!!
The only thing that can cleanse our conscience and renew it is submitting to the work of Jesus through His precious, cleansing blood. Jesus had no sin, he had no dead works. When we apply the blood of Jesus, a spiritual transformation occurs. It cleanses our conscience from dead works. We are no longer in bondage to it; we are no longer enslaved by it, because the blood of Jesus has opened the door to a new covenant.
The rules of engagement in the new covenant are totally different than the ones we were used to in the old covenant or in the world. Dead works are not our master! However, we need to believe and not feed them anymore. We cannot rely on our own understanding to evaluate how we are doing, but we need to rely on the Lord. Our challenge will also be that other believers may continue to do dead works, but we can’t allow that to derail us either.
We need to continue to seek God, stop striving, stop being worried about getting forgotten, and start trusting Him in faith. We need to trust that if we need to be doing something, the Lord will show us what it is. He will not be playing hide and go seek with us. He wants us to diligently seek Him, and the scripture tells us that when we seek Him we will find Him!!