Dead works are man's own efforts to obtain a God-given righteousness that only comes through faith in Christ
Two of the greatest problems known in the religious world today are the (unsaved) man's struggles to try to obtain the saving Grace of God and; the believer's (the saved man's) struggles to keep the saving Grace of God at work throughout his entire Christian walk. Both of these struggles ring to the tune of the works of man rather than the works of God's Divine Grace in the heart of a believer! The Bible calls these human works, dead works. Human works take away from the work of God's Divine Grace! Human works "add too" the work of God's of Divine Grace! God doesn't need your works! That's why Christ suffered and died for you and I personally!
The Bible doesn't teach that man works to obtain anything from God for salvation or holiness! As a matter of fact, human works used to obtain Salvation or some other blessing from God are stench to the nostrils of God! Human works in relation to Salvation, holiness, and righteousness...are dead works! The Bible says so! All of man's "works" (human effort, human achievements, and human advancements toward a closer walk with God) cause men to look to themselves or to look to their own abilities or talents. This causes men to miss or overlook, God's Divine Grace that instantaneously changes the human being! This type of living in the name of Christ is contrary to what's taught in the Bible. You may ask, "Can you clarify that?" Yes I can. Here's how.
When man "tries" to work his way into Salvation or righteousness gradually, he trusts in his own ability rather than the ability of God's Grace which is a free gift that effectively flows from Calvary. This free gift of righteousness by Grace changes the believer in Christ, morally (in the present tense). If man tries to gradually "quit" sinful conduct, or to gradually "steer away" from the use of alcohol, sensuality, or dirty living... man hinders his faith and trust in the redemptive work of Christ at Calvary from having effective changes upon the moral character and being.
Doctrines that lean to the humanistic approach (rather than the Divine Grace approach) causes man to look to himself or to his own will power to overcome sinful conduct, addictions, and disobedience to God. This kind of mindset by passes the God-given righteousness that comes from Christ in this present Grace Age! This kind of mindset indicates the human will is not broken by the Spirit of God that flows from Calvary! The will of man is controlled by man himself and doesn't depend on God's Grace completely! Human ability sometimes causes man to "fall short of the glory of God's Saving Grace".
When the will of man is broken by a living Christ, the will of God can take over and govern the believer's actions and being through every condition in life. This believer will not come short of the glory of God anymore... because this believer has the power and effectiveness of Christ... that flows from Calvary! Now! Today! He's alive! That effectiveness is not personal forgiveness only. That effectiveness is also a God-given righteousness that morally changes man's character and being. God-given righteousness is the believers power to do right because man is unable to do right without power from above! It's the Christ given power of God's Grace "imputed" to a believer in Christ that provides a means for the believer to overcome "wrong-doing".
Rom 3:23-26...For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believer in Jesus
Notice Paul says, "All men have sinned". "Have sinned" is a past tense statement about men before they find Christ. All men "were sinners" and "all men have sinned" but Paul is looking back to a man before he finds the power and effectiveness of Christ (in the present tense of a believer). Before the believer touches or experience's the "gift of God's Grace", he is a sinful man! After the believer trusts in Christ's suffering and death for personal remission of sins God does something to this man's character and being. God not only " pardons and forgives this man" but He also declares this man righteous. How? He frees the conscience of a sinful man from the guilt of sin. Because of man's faith and trust in Christ at Calvary the cleansing power of God's Grace effectually does something in that man's heart and life. That beleiver becomes a new creation or conversion made by Christ.
Yes, my brother, God not only forgives you when you believe... He also "imputes" righteousness into that believing heart and soul to be the man or woman you should be in Christ! Imputed righteousness is a gift given to the heart of a believer from God!
Rom 4:22-24...therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
Get this clear into your thinking...the gift of righteousness that's given to the child of God should not "come and go at will!" When you're awakened to righteousness that is given to your heart by Christ.. you don't desire to sin! The Bible says so! This righteousness I speak of is given from above...you the Christian are to live it out! God's Righteousness permits God's peace to comfort your conscience. God's Righteousness is the power to do right and to live right in the eyes of God every day of your existence. The Bible teaches that this gift of righteousness "reigns" in the life of the believer. This means righteousness "rules" the life of a believer in Christ, "Not wrong doing, not disobedience, and not sinful conduct!"
Rom 5:17...For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.
The human intellect, the human inclination, and human reasoning may indicate something different than God's Word or God's Spirit! These human characteristics are not the truth of God's Word! God's Word is the basis of Christian faith...not man's human inclinations! The Word of God is the only true basis for light we have today. Christ makes us holy and right and keeps us that way if our faithfulness lies in Him! If you don't trust the holiness and purity of God's Word, and God's Spirit, "What are you trusting?' The human inclination to do wrong does not come from God! Man's ways are not God's ways. Don't let the human intellect have its way in your life if you're a child of God! God's righteousness will never allow you to "justify or excuse sin!" Human intellect will!
Remember Christ was "made" sin for us...so you and I could become the righteousness of God... because of what he did for us personally! God-given righteousness has nothing to do with what you do meaning your works! Christ suffered and died for you and I personally...so we could could be made the righteousness of God. Glory!
2 Cor 5:21...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.
Should we live a righteous life everyday between now and eternity? The answer is yes...by the Grace of God! Glory! How?
Rom 5:20-21...But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
Notice how "Grace abounds through our righteousness" in the New Testament after Calvary...Glory!