Clarifying James’ admonition: Faith without works is dead… (James 2:26)
My point is this…it matters NOT how you work, strive, endeavor, to please God the Father through your human efforts UNTIL you have FIRST established covenant relationship with Him by complying with HIS WILL (John 6:29); that is, “believing in the One He has sent” into the World to make atonement for your sin.
Until such time you have FIRST established covenant relationship with the Father by grace (unmerited favor – a gift you cannot earn through human effort) through faith (trusting-believing) in Jesus Christ as your Lord, your works of goodness and righteousness are of NO ACCOUNT as they’re equated to a putrid, bloody, cloth in God’s nose (Isaiah 64:6 – menstrual cloth in Hebrew).
The confusion lies in cults, religions, sects, Hebrew Roots fanaticism, Sabbatarianism, Judaism, Islam, Catholicism, believing that our behavior, our self-righteousness, pleases God and that we can earn His forgiveness by what we do…this is a lie of Satan and the Jewish error that culminates in the death of mind, body, soul, in Hell.
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matthew 7
What is the will of God for your life?
Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” John 6:29
Your works of righteousness will NOT be relevant concerning your eternal destiny, forgiveness of sin, until you have first surrendered your will for God’s will in Jesus Christ through faith in Jesus as Lord and having received the indwelling Holy Spirit as the Guarantor of that covenant relationship (Ephesians 1:13-14); then…and only then…do your works of righteousness performed IN and BY the indwelling Holy Spirit honor God the Father as these good works serve to validate the authenticity of your faith in Jesus as your Lord, Messiah.
20 So then, you will know them by their fruits. Matthew 7
Therefore, please don’t compromise the necessity of faith in Jesus FIRST with works of self-righteousness as a path to righteousness (a right standing) with the Father as only the righteousness of Jesus imputed into your life by faith in Jesus as your Lord is acceptable to the Father concerning your eternal destiny and relationship with Him, forever (2 Corinthians 5:21). Grace-Faith-FIRST – then – works of righteousness, obedience, will naturally follow as the Holy Spirit walks you daily in sanctification in accordance with God’s will for your life in preparation for service in the New Jerusalem.