Repentance from Dead Works
Hebrews 6:1-3 - 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, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit. [Emphasis added are mine]
Repentance – What is it?
Defined - repentance is to change one’s mind or purpose; to turn from one’s own way to God or to turn from the ways of the world (representing sin, which is contrary to God) toward God (His righteousness and His kingdom).
John the Baptist preached “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2).
When Jesus began his ministry after His public witness of being the Son of God (the Messiah), He began by preaching in much the same words as John the Baptist, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). In Mark it is recorded that Jesus began preaching the gospel when the time was fulfilled (meaning the God ordained time had now come) and He began preaching, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”
The Link Between Baptism (water) and Repentance (blood)
John the Baptist was the forerunner for Christ; meaning he was sent beforehand to prepare the way of the Lord. He was prophesied as the one who would be crying in the wilderness to make straight the desert highway of our God.
Isaiah 40:3 - The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. [Emphasis added are mine]
Matthew 3:3 - For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus Christ and made His paths straight among the people of Israel. Jesus Christ is the “our God” that was spoken of in Isaiah.
When John the Baptist preached, he preached repentance and water baptism for the forgiveness of sins (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3). He started the gospel message which Jesus Christ continued to preach. John the Baptist, however, did not stop there. He continued and alluded to the one who would come after him, whose sandals he himself was not worthy to loose. He spoke of the one that would come after him who would baptize in Spirit and fire (Luke 3:16).
Matthew 3:11 - I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
Acts 13:24,25 - When John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. And as John fulfilled his course, he said, Whom think ye that I am? I am not he. But, behold, there cometh one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to loose.
Acts 19:4 - Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
John the Baptist message was incredibly important to the ministry of Jesus because he began the ministry and prepared the way for what Jesus would continue and bring to completion. The ministry began with a command to repent from your sin, turn from your wicked ways, and turn toward God. Even Paul referenced John the Baptist and his ministry during his discourse with the rulers of the synagogue.
Mark 1:4,5 - John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. [Emphasis added are mine]
As you can see from these aforementioned scriptures baptism was tied to repentance, forgiveness of sins, and confessing of sins. However, not only was it connected to these three things, but it was never separated from the greater truth that Christ would come after John the Baptist and baptize in the Holy Spirit and fire. This greater truth will be expounded on in the teaching entitled “Baptisms”.
The ministry of John the Baptist was also mentioned in Malachi. This prophet spoke of the importance of his ministry and what John the Baptist would accomplish.
Malachi 4:5,6 - Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. [Emphasis added are mine]
This was testified in the New Covenant in these gospel passages.
Luke 1:11-17,76-80 – And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel. [Emphasis added are mine]
Matthew 17:11-13 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist. [Emphasis added are mine]
In the Old Covenant, John the Baptist was referred to as the one who would come in the spirit and power of Elijah the prophet. Malachi said he would be sent “before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” John the Baptist was to turn the heart of the fathers to the children and the children to their fathers. Gabriel, the angel, testified that John, the son of Zacharias, was to be the child that would fulfill that prophecy. From the mouth of Zacharias, being filled with the Spirit, he prophesied that his son, John, would be called the prophet of the Highest, preparing His way, giving the knowledge of salvation by the remission (forgiveness) of sins to the people.
Later, Jesus told the disciples that Elijah, the one prophesied to come first and restore all things, had already come. Unfortunately many of the people did not realize it, and eventually killed Him. It explicitly says that the disciples understood that He spoke of John the Baptist. A note of interest was that Jesus used John the Baptist as an example of what would happen to him. In the same way John the Baptist was not recognized as the Elijah to come and ended up being killed for his ministry and anointing, so would the Son of man suffer the same fate.
John, the disciple and apostle, wrote in his book concerning Jesus – the Word that became flesh:
John 1:10,11 - He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
This scripture above affirms what Jesus compared about Himself and John the Baptist.
Acts 11:16-18 - Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life. [Emphasis added are mine]
Peter here was recounting his experience of preaching the gospel to Cornelius, the gentile, and his household. He said that the Jews that were with him who were astounded that the Gentiles received the Holy Spirit. Wisely, the Jews said nothing and held their peace. They glorified God and recognized that He had also granted the Gentiles “repentance unto life”. Notice that in Peter’s account, "repentance unto life" included not only the baptism in water in Jesus' name, but also the baptism in the Holy Spirit to those who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance was in inexorably tied to these two acts (experiences). See also Acts 10:44-48.
What Should Lead a Man to Repent?
Goodness of God
Acts 2:37 - Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
Here we see that the listeners of Peter’s first gospel were pierced in their heart. They had a conviction from God that they did wrong. They readily recognized and were forced to ask what they must do to rectify the situation. That’s what a Godly conviction will cause you to do--to ask and seek out how to remedy the situation.
Romans 2:4 - Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
Paul here said that knowing the goodness of God, His forbearance and longsuferring for us is what leads a man to repent. This is diametrically opposed and contrary to what we hear preaching today. People have changed their approach and said we need to preach hell, fire, and brimstone to get these people to respond. They leave out the gospel and expect people to be moved by fear rather than a Godly conviction of sin and the resulting separation from God. It says explicitly that knowing the goodness of God leads you to repent. Have you ever read of the apostles preaching “the gospel of hell, fire and brimstone” to lead people to Christ and obtain salvation?
II Corinthians 7:9-10 - Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. [Emphasis added are mine]
Lastly, Paul said Godly sorrow leads men to repent. This was in Paul's second writing to the Corinthians. In a way, he was consoling them because they were truly sorrowful for the things they were doing that Paul pointed out to them in the first letter. Paul rejoiced because of this. Not because they were sorrowful, but because that sorrow led them to repent of their deeds in the flesh.
A true repentance causes you to turn away from the world, its lies, and sin and turn toward God with all your heart. Godly sorrow will lead you to repent and not repent again and turn back to old wicked ways.
1. Godly Sorrow – leads or causes a man to a repent unto salvation that he will not repent of
In contrast, the sorrow of the world is short lived. It cries in the night, but come morning it has forgotten what took place the previous night and continues to walk in the old wicked ways of man. It makes loud cries and draws much worldly attention, but unless God shows you the heart of that man, repentance should be easily seen by the change of action, with a sustained and concerted effort to not turn back - which leads to never repenting back to it again.
2. Sorrow of the World – leads to death because for a short while they will repent (change their ways) but like the dog that returns to it’s vomit, so will they repent yet again
For those who have come into the kingdom, the next few scriptures should influence you to walk out your own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). If you have obtained the salvation of our God, Jesus Christ, you must hold to it and maintain it. You can always decide to turn back to the vomit, decadence, and degradation that you came from.
We are instructed by Jesus to be faithful and to persevere, even unto death. We are to hold fast to what we have that no one would take our crown (Revelation 2:10, 3:11). The saints of God must be patient and enduring in keeping the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus (Revelation 14:12). In other words, we have the responsibility of maintaining our salvation.
However, there are those who have come into the kingdom who will not persevere, who will not be patient, who will not endure, but will return back to their vomit. The author of Hebrews warns against people who think they can continue repenting from vomit to eternal life to vomit again. In actuality, the author of Hebrews states it is literally impossible to renew again by repentance, once you have already been renewed.
Hebrews 6:4-6 - For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. [Emphasis added are mine]
Hebrews 10:26-31- For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. [Emphasis added are mine]
Many in the kingdom do not realize that falling into the hands of God – coming into the kingdom - was actually a fearful thing to do. He will hold us accountable to a much higher standard because we have known the truth and willingly accepted it as the truth.
If we willfully (being the operative word here) sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth, that would mean that we have trodden under foot the Son of God. It means we have repented from God and eternal life and now treat the blood of the new covenant as an unholy thing and have grieved the Spirit of God like never before. If we being partakers of the Holy Spirit, tasting the good word of God and of the powers of the world to come fall away, we cannot renew ourselves again, like we were able to the first time. Be not mistaken, God will not be mocked. He will judge His people accordingly. The New Covenant law does not give us license to sin, but frees and empowers us by the grace of God to serve Him pleasingly.
Before Christ ascended, He enlightened His disciples that what just took place concerning Him was written beforehand and needed to be fulfilled. He then commanded them to preach, in His name, repentance and remission of sins to all nations.
Luke 24:45-47 - Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. [Emphasis added are mine]
In conclusion of this section of repentance, we see that:
1. Repentance – blood.
2. Water Baptism – water (for the Remission of Sins – Forgiveness of sins).
were the fruits brought forth that were worthy of repentance (Luke 3:8). This started with John the Baptist and concluded with Jesus. We also see that:
3. John the Baptist – alluded to the one that would come after him and would baptize in the Holy Spirit – this was added by Jesus after His death, burial, and resurrection – the establishment of the New Covenant.
Let us remind ourselves that the beginnings or origins of the doctrine of Christ do not begin with repentance. It begins with repentance from dead works. We have studied repentance and the fruit it brings forth. Let us now study dead works to understand what is repentance from dead works.
Dead Works – What is it?
Romans 10:3 - For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. [Emphasis added are mine]
Paul spoke here of Israel. Probably specifically referring to the Pharisees and religious leaders of his day. He, himself having been a Pharisee, understood their strict religious upbringing. It was revealed to him that they, and himself at one time, were going about establishing their own righteousness separate and apart from God’s righteousness. They would not humble themselves and submit to God’s righteousness. The question then becomes, "What is God’s righteousness?"
Think about and contrast Paul, a former Pharisee, and the Pharisees and religious leaders of his day and read what Jesus said to the Pharisees.
John 5:39-40 - Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. [Emphasis added are mine]
Jesus said that the Jews searched the scriptures because they thought that in them they would gain eternal life. The scriptures actually testified that Jesus was the eternal life they sought, but the Jews would not humble themselves and come to Him to obtain that life.
What became different between Paul and the religious leaders? We find the answer to this in Philippians.
Phillipians 3:9 - And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: [Emphasis added are mine]
The difference between Paul and the rest of the religious leaders was that Paul submitted himself to the righteousness of God. The letter to the Philippians tells us that God’s righteousness is through the faith of Christ. Paul, submitted Himself by refusing to be independent of God and undependent on God, and became completely dependent on Jesus, our God. He did this by repenting and turning His faith upon Jesus. The righteousness of God is obtained, not by the works of the law – self-righteousness, self-effort, self-exaltation – but by the faith of Christ Jesus.
Well, what is the faith of Christ?
The Faith of Christ
Jesus is our example of man dependent on Spirit of God - Father God. Christ was in all manner dependent upon the Spirit of God. Jesus was the perfect example of a man being dependent upon God. Let’s look at the testimony in John of this truth.
John 5:17,18 - But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. [Emphasis added are mine]
The Jews knew and understood when Jesus said that God was His Father that He was, by interpretation, saying that He was God (albeit, God come in the flesh). The Jews did not accept that God came in the flesh as Jesus Christ. They refused to recognize Him as the promised Messiah, the Immanuel - which means God with us. Sadly, many of them still do not accept it today.
John 5:19-20a,21,26 - Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth:
For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.
For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; [Emphasis added are mine]
Jesus explicitly stated that He can do nothing of Himself, but as He hears He judges and His judgment is just because He doesn’t do it out of His own will, but that of the will of the Father who sent Him. He surrendered his human will to that of the will of God.
John 5:30,36,37 - I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. [Emphasis added are mine]
John 8:24,28,29,58 - I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. [Emphasis added are mine]
John 10:30-33 - I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. [Emphasis added are mine]
Jesus did not mince words as recorded in the gospel of John. He kept alluding to this truth until He came out and said “I am He” which the Jews interpreted as saying He was the "I am" from Exodus 3:14. He said it again later in different words by saying “I and my Father are one.” Jesus was saying to the Jews and He says it to us today, "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that has come unto you."
Jesus said the Father is in Me.
By the Holy Spirit who is God the Father.
The man Jesus could do nothing without being dependent on the Father, the Spirit of God. Jesus said we must abide in Him that He would abide in us and we would bring forth much fruit, just as He abided in the Father and the Father in Him. The faith of Christ was that the man Jesus Christ was completely and totally dependent upon God for every single one of His words and actions. There was a constant intimate communion between the spirit of the man Jesus and the Spirit of His Father, so much so, that whatever the man Jesus said or did was attributed to His Father.
John 15:5 - I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. [Emphasis added are mine]
In the same manner that Christ was dependent upon the Holy Spirit, Jesus says we also must be dependent upon Him. Without us being dependent on Jesus, we can do nothing.
Hebrews 9:14 - How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? [Emphasis added are mine]
The blood of Christ purges our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
Dead works start with man acting independent of God and undependent on God. That is the meat and bones of this issue of dead works.
Biblical Faith Defined – For those that claim to be disciples of Jesus Christ
Faith and works are, and have always been from Old Covenant to New Covenant, inseparable. James said that faith without works is dead. He used Abraham, the father of a multitude of nations who put their faith and trust in God, as an example of this principle.
James 2:14-26 - What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. [Emphasis added are mine]
Contrary to public opinion, faith alone does not save. The public opinion holds to the notion that faith is simply believing, which is a mental ascension and acceptance of a truth. But biblically defined faith says that faith is not just a belief, but a belief ensued or followed by action in response to that belief.
James said faith without works is dead and dead faith is in stark contrast to a living and active faith ("a doer"). James gets a bit sarcastic and says "you show me your faith without works and I will show you mine by my works." The sarcasm is that James knows it is impossible to show faith without works because he knows faith is dead without works.
James says that you believe (notice he changed from faith to believe – these two words in the Greek are tied to the same root word or origin, but you can only understand the subtle difference between the two in the context of this passage) that there is only one God and affirms that belief by saying that that is a good thing. However, he compared that type of belief with the belief of devils who do fear and tremble at that truth that there is only one God. The difference is that if James can compare and show the similarity between your belief and and the devils' beliefs, of what profit is it to have that belief?
What is the difference between a man who has faith (trusts) and a man who believes?
It's quite simple, in this comparison of faith and believe, that James teaches: the devils do not submit to the authority of the one God. They remain acting independently of God just like many who say they believe in God.
But for those who have biblical faith, they submit and act accordingly to the authority and supremacy of God. James then uses Abraham's example of faith and says that Abraham was justified by works. Abraham’s faith co-worked with his works. In the context of this passage, we realize that works is not meant to be works of self-righteousness and independence, but rather works of obedience to God. Abraham obeyed God and offered Isaac, his son, on the altar out of obedience to God. Therefore, it was said of Abraham that righteousness was imputed to him because He obeyed the Lord, not because he did what he thought was right in his own eyes. He heard the Lord and obeyed. That is biblical faith.
Using this example, James then says we see that by works man is justified, not by faith alone, separate and apart from works. It is faith and works that justifies, not faith alone because works make his faith perfect or complete. He also used the example of Rahab the harlot in that she could have just said that she had faith in the God of Israel and left it at that. But she had such faith in the God of Israel that she helped the spies escape. Rahab the harlot was also justified by works – works that coincided with her faith. God and all others can see the true biblical faith of people in God by their works of obedience to God.
Lastly James compares faith without works to a body without a spirit and we all know a body (faith) without a spirit (works) is dead. Dead! Dead! Dead!
Works done outside of faith in Jesus – these are dead works! These works are done independent of God and undependent on God because that not done in obedience to His heard word. Faith without repentance is dead! Faith without obedience is dead! But you can't repent or be obedient without hearing the Word of the Lord first. Faith begins with hearing God. Spirit-less works are dead because they are done out of your own strength and not dependent on the perfect grace of God.
1 John 3:12 - Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.
Cain’s works were evil, dead works because they were done in disobedience to God. Abel’s were considered righteous and true because they were done according to his faith in God and in obedience to God.
Revelation 3:1-2 - And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. [Emphasis added are mine]
Jesus is saying that He knew their works and found their works to be imperfect. Given the history we have just studied concerning works, the imperfect works were works done in disobedience to God and done in a self-righteous and self-empowered effort. They started acting independent of God and undependent on God.
Revelation 20:12-13 - And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
In the ultimate judgment of all judgments, the Great White Throne Judgment, to end all judgments, all men will be judged according to their works. Jesus will know whether you engaged in works that were completely dependent upon God by the hearing of faith (Rom. 10:17; Gal. 3:2,5) or if they were works done outside of faith (outside of hearing God), resulting in disobedience to God.
For those of us in the kingdom we have found a rest from dead works (works done in our own strength) by dying in the Lord.
Revelation - 14:13 - And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. [Emphasis added are mine]
This is speaking of our death and resurrection in Jesus Christ. This is not referring to the death of our bodies, but in reference to the death we experienced when we were baptized into our Lord Jesus in the waters of baptism in Jesus’ name and when we were resurrected into Jesus’ life and body by the baptism in the Spirit. This is when we rested from our own labours. And the works which we do hereafter, in submission and obedience to His Spirit, follow us and testify of God in us. We will elaborate on this much more in “Baptisms".
In conclusion, repentance from dead works is turning away from self-initiated, self-empowered, and self-righteous works and turning toward a complete dependency on the Spirit of God by faith for initiating Spirit-led works and thus fulfilling righteousness in us.
© copyright 2001 Jesus M. Ruiz