What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
James 2:14-17 NIV
Revolving the tension between the role of faith and works is a big part of spiritual formation for the believer. Paul made it clear that our works cannot save us, so that no one can ever boast that he or she earned salvation ( Ephesians 2:8-10). On the other hand, James said that if that faith is not accompanied by God- honoring, fruit- bearing actions, that faith might as well not even exist. That kind of ” faith” is not the faith in Jesus that leads to salvation but simply a comfortable, cognitive belief that, in the end, accomplishes nothing for the one who holds it. It’s the kind of ” faith” that resembles the real thing but has no staying power. When suffering comes, this ” faith” often evaporates quickly.
FAITH that leads to salvation is like a two-sided coin. On one side is genuine repentance, where the penitent sinner comes to God, acknowledging his or her sin, hoping for mercy; the other side of the coin is faith, the belief that God is able and willing to save the broken- hearted sinner through the atoning work of Christ on the cross.