A “works salvation” advocate, possibly a Jew and/or legalist, quotes James and arrives at a false conclusion.
“FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEADCan faith alone, without works, justify and save anybody?” James 2 (KJV)
James is correct…faith, lest it be validated by good works, was never truly faith…just a head knowledge or words expressed void substance. Those redeemed by faith in Messiah Jesus will reflect a changed heart, a renewed perspective—works befitting the presence of the Spirit in one’s life.
Where you must approach with caution is misinterpreting James by suggesting he is advocating for a “works” salvation; that is, our works, good deeds, play a role in pleasing the Father who grants eternal life to the faithful…this is a Jewish error; this is death to mind, body, soul in Hell.
As far back as Isaiah, we’re told that our works, even on our best day, are as a filthy, bloody, menstrual cloth in the nose of God (Isaiah 64:6) and the error made by the Jew, the religionist’ – the legalist, is thinking that we must do something, some good work, in order to please God and thereby earn our salvation; this demonically-rooted, prideful, error mocks God and His sole-sufficiency to save through Messiah apart from our input. This is heresy.
There is absolutely NOTHING you can do physiologically to be saved from sin and death in Hell…not one thing, not one work, not one good deed, will save you from God’s wrath; if that were possible, Jesus would not have needed to suffer and die for our sin. It is by faith ALONE in Jesus, alone, as our God who died to pay our sin-debt that pleases the Father who grants the faithful in Jesus redemption from sin and life in Eternity via the imputation and subsequently provides the redeemed the Gift of the Holy Spirit as Guarantor of relationship with Him…nothing else, no one else will please the Father and establish Covenant with Him but faith in Jesus, alone.
The ONLY time your works become relevant in Christianity is SUBSEQUENT to your confession that Jesus is your Lord. It is your works SUBSEQUENT to your confession that validates, authenticates, your faith as being true and your relationship with the Father as established in Covenant and verified by the presence of the Spirit in your life (Ephesians 1:13-14). You can give your body to science for your fellowman; you can love without fail; you can serve your local Church till the day you die; but, if Jesus is not your God and Messiah, your good works will die in Hell with you at the “second death” (Revelation 20:11-15). Faith alone in Jesus, alone, establishes Covenant with the Father. Good works/obedience subsequent to establishing relationship with the Father by faith, these validate your faith…they do not supplant it. A works salvation results from narcissism; pride; arrogance; self-sufficiency; these are an anathema; these are demonically rooted.