ABEL – How are dead works related to sin? (Lesson 6)

Up to this point, we have learned that if the LORD God is NOT directing the works of men, then they are NOT “living works.” The means that they are “Dead works” to the LORD God. No matter whether the works are grand and mighty, fully funded with the riches of the world, or the simple and humble acts of compassion and caring of the less fortunate; if the LORD God has NOT directed the works, they are NOT living.

We are reminded of this fact through our study of Cain’s error when he offered the works of his own hands from the cursed ground, rather than from the works from the LORD’s efforts instead. The LORD God told him specifically:

Genesis 4:6–7 (KJV 1900)
6 And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? 7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. (Genesis 4:6-7)

The LORD God links Cain’s error to offering unworthy works to Him with being very near to sin that lies at his door. This link of sin to dead works is associated to many different teaching places in the Word of God.

In fact, it is one of the six principles that every Christian must be taught for the establishment of the Foundation of Jesus Christ within them:

Hebrews 6:1–3 (KJV 1900)
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, 2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this will we do, if God permit.
(Hebrews 6:1-3)

Note how the six principles of the doctrine of Christ for foundation building are listed exactly:

1. Repentance from dead works (sins)

2 Faith

3. Water Baptism

4. Holy Spirit Baptism

5. Resurrection

6. Judgement

Before we go any further, let us state a fact that you will hear us state over and over in your studies with us:

You are saved through belief in Jesus Christ! You can do nothing to bring salvation to yourself.


Now here is where it gets complicated for some sincere Christians because of their defense against false religions that wrongly believe works are necessary for salvation. As a result, many Christians often reject the discussion of works completely, in a false sense that belief is all you need to come close to the LORD God.

Ephesians 2:8–10 (KJV 1900)
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

This misguided belief prevents an intimate relationship with Him. The LORD God wills each of His people to do “Living Works” that are guided by Him. When a person is focused entirely on salvation, and does not place importance upon doing His works, then the plans that the LORD God has established are not fulfilled. It is prudent that we discuss the accomplishment of works, and there is no better time than right now, as we learn about the “dead works” that Cain tried to present to the LORD God.

As we study this important topic, keep this in the forefront of your mind:

SALVATION comes from belief in Him.

REWARD comes from works led by Him.

Living Works are acts performed in obedience to the law and movement of God. Those acts done by unbelievers and believers that are against His law, or do not contain His movement, are without life. Man cannot create living works by himself. Man cannot create living works if he is in sin.

Dead Works are just the opposite. They are acts performed in disobedience to the law of God that are without life and inanimate.
At some point, every Christian will be judged for the works they do.

THIS IS IMPORTANT: A Christian’s salvation is not going to be judged; it is clear that a believer had faith if he is standing in the presence of the Lord in Heaven. Salvation is not something a person does, but something a person receives. If there had been no faith, there would be no judgment at the Glory Seat of Christ. Judgment of those without belief will happen later at the Final Judgment Seat of Christ; Faithful Christians receive their Judgment earlier from the Glory Seat of Christ in Heaven.

1 Corinthians 3:11-15
“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)

The Glory Seat Judgment will be the place where Christians receive their rewards for the living works they have completed as moved by Him. There are different levels of living works, and different levels of rewards that the Lord will give to the deserving.

2 Timothy 2:19-21
“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” (2 Timothy 2:19-21 AV)

Note once again how a believer must purge himself of sin, in order to become sanctified and able to accomplish the living works of God.

There are many types of vessels in the great house of Jesus Christ. Each vessel represents the works of a person of Christ. Those works form the great house of Jesus Christ. The vessels of gold and silver bring honor. The vessels of wood and earth bring dishonor. Some works bring honor and some works bring dishonor to the great house of Jesus Christ. If a person purges himself from iniquity, his works shall bring honor to Jesus Christ. If a person is sin-free and does works of honor, he will be made holy and prepared to do even more honorable works for Jesus Christ.

Faith without works is dead. Dead Faith does nothing. Living Faith does works.

James 2:17-18
“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.” (James 2:17-18 AV)

The Word of God furnishes all Christians to do the living works of God.

2 Timothy 3:16-17
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Therefore, those who come closest to the LORD God through righteousness and perfection, void of sin, are in the position of doing the greatest works led by Him.

It is this reality that Cain failed to understand. He honored the works his own hands had produced above the works that the LORD God had made. At that very moment, sin was at Cain’s door. Dead works and sin go hand-in- hand, because it causes a man to think himself superior to the Lord. When a man thinks this, he is emulating the same wicked ways of Lucifer when he declares he is better than God.

Thus, it is profitable for a Christian to understand fully the importance of Living Works directed by God and to have the ability to distinguish dead works that are led by carnal man.

Concept #1 – If you are a sinner without grace, no amount of good works will be rewarded.

Concept #2 – If you are a sinner without grace, you do not get credit by the LORD GOD for any works that you have done in your life.

Concept #3 – If you are a sinner without grace, you cannot be saved by your works.

Concept #4 – A sinner can repent from dead works and be saved by grace of the LORD GOD by, accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.

Concept #5 – If your foundation is laid on Jesus Christ, but you have not produced good works that sustain the testing of fire, you will be saved, but will suffer loss.

Concept #6 – If your foundation is laid on Jesus Christ, and your good works sustain the testing of fire, you will be saved and rewarded.

Concept #7 – If sin is present in the midst of your good works, the fire of the Holy Spirit will burn away all impurities. The type of work is revealed by this fire and classified as gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble.

Concept #8 – If impurity is present throughout your works, you will have stubble, hay or wood which will quickly be burnt away. You will suffer loss.

Concept #9 – If no impurity is present throughout your works, you will have gold, silver or precious stones. You will be rewarded.

Concept #10 – If your works are pure and complete and under the direction of the LORD GOD, the Lord Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit, the fire will reveal gold.

Concept #11 – It is very, very good if your works are classified as “gold”. You will receive great reward.

These concepts taken from Scripture make it clear for believers to know the differences, equipping them with the ability to honor the LORD God in the same way that Abel did in the first offering of Living Works!