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?
Hebrews 9:14 (KJV)
Anything we do in an effort to try and get right with God through our own performance is called dead works. Putting our faith in Jesus and the sufficiency of His finished work delivers us from this bondage, and it sets us free to serve God out of a pure heart. Now we are not working to try and become righteous; we receive by faith that we are already the righteousness of God in Christ, and our right living flows out of our right believing.