James warned that faith without works is dead but what is the Holy Spirit actually telling us? James 2:26
Unless one FIRST establishes covenant relationship with God the Father by faith, alone, in Jesus, alone, their works of righteousness are equated to a filthy, bloody, menstrual cloth in God’s nose (Isaiah 64:6); fact is, God does not even entertain the petitions of those who are not His child by faith in Jesus as Lord (John 9:31).
One’s works of goodness, faithfulness, righteousness, SUBSEQUENT to having established covenant relationship by faith in Jesus as Lord and having received the indwelling Holy Spirit as Guarantor of that relationship are seen as validating, substantiating, one’s faith as true but NEVER can one’s works supplant the necessity for faith first, relationship first; in other words, IT IS NOT POSSIBLE IN YOUR FLESH TO WORK YOURSELF TO GOD AND “EARN” HIS FAVOR OR FORGIVENESS. If righteousness came through law-keeping, self-righteousness, Jesus Christ died needlessly.
God the Father has ordained ONE – WAY for you to find forgiveness of sin and life in eternity; that is, repentance – faith in Jesus Christ believing that Jesus is Lord and that He died to pay your sin-debt owed the Father and subsequently receive the indwelling Holy Spirit as Guarantor of that covenant relationship (Romans 10:9-10; Ephesians 1:13-14); from that point forward, you walk in obedience to the Holy Spirit who meticulously guides you in obedience to the Father’s will for your life via the daily process of sanctification i.e. preparation for eternal service in the New Jerusalem (Galatians 5:16). There is no other Way and there is no other Name given among men by which you can be saved from death in Hell (John 14:6; John 3; Acts 4:12).