In this passage, we hear the author’s understanding of what the crucifixion of Christ accomplished. By the shedding of his blood, we are cleansed of the ‘dead works’ and freed to worship the living God.
I like this reference to sin as ‘dead works’. Often, when we examine ourselves for sin, we think of obvious sins like using hateful words or cheating or stealing or ignoring someone in need. Sometimes, though, I perform good works with a bad attitude or with the wrong intention. I might do the right thing only because it makes me seem like a saint or I might feel a measure of resentment or judgment when I’m helping someone. I wonder if this is what the author means by ‘dead works’.
Alternately, works grounded and rooted in the love of Christ, offered as a thank you for the gift of grace, are life-giving to both parties involved. Maybe this is what it means to truly worship the living God both in word and deed.
Today, consider the motivations or the attitudes that swim beneath your good deeds. How might you better perform them with life, good-will, and gratitude? Offer a prayer of confession, specifically naming any sins you identify in yourself, and find assurance in God’s promise of pardon.