“…faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead….. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.” (James 2:17,24,26)
These verses from James have stirred up quite a controversy over the centuries. Are we saved by God’s grace or by our work? How do we reconcile James comments here with the ample evidence in Scripture that we are saved by God’s grace, by our belief in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior? (John 3:16, Rom 1:16, Rom 10:9, Acts 16:30-31, and more). But I’ll cite and discuss Ephesians 2:8-9 for more insight: “For by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is a gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” That seems pretty clear, doesn’t it? So, again, how do we reconcile this truth with James comments about our works? Let’s read the very next verse in Ephesians 2, verse 10, which says: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to go good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” We were created to do good works. If we believe in Jesus, we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (1 John 4:15).
The Holy Spirit provides us with power, love and self-discipline (2 Tim1:7). Paul states: “And now, just as you accepted Christ as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him. Let your roots grown down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him” (Col 2:6-7). So, the power of the Holy Spirit enables us to build our lives on the foundation of Jesus Christ. The natural result of this is that we will obey His commandments and display the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22) through our works – in so doing, witnessing to His Glory.
“But those that trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)