In Hebrews 6:1, we find an interesting scripture, “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Messiah, let us go on to perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and a faith toward Yahweh.”
The idea of dead works can be looked at in two ways. The deeds of a sinner can be looked at as works that do not lead to salvation, but death. Also, the unprofitable works of a believer can certainly be linked to dead works from what he or she must turn away from. In Hebrews 9:14, one can read about this principle, “How much more, then, will the blood of Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to Yahweh, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living Elohim.”
So we see that dead works are certainly not good works, but neither are they necessarily evil works. Rather they are ineffective works. They are the useless acts that count for nothing; works that are as different from evil or good works as wild fruit is from good or bad fruit. Using this analogy, while bad fruit looks unappealing and would never be eaten, wild fruit may have the appearance of good fruit, but lacks flavor and nutritional value, and would provide no useful function if it were eaten.
Likewise, dead works, which actually may be of some humanitarian value, can lack life—not stemming from proper motives and not propelled by love, thus accomplish nothing of lasting value. We can see an example of this in 1 Corinthians 13: 1-3:
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
Both the sinner and the Believer can pridefully indulge in useless works, but this must be repented of if one is to reach for salvation. Useless works must be replaced with good works motivated by love. May we continually submit all our efforts to Him, recognizing that service to the living Elohim does not entail our dead works.