Many people believe that these two items are as opposite as black and white. This is based on a misunderstanding of how we receive God’s mercy and is in no way contradictory to Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV) 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. The answer is seen is Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
A majority of people today believe in “faith only” and reject the necessity of “doing”. James rhetorically asks James 2:14 (KJV) What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? James knew this did not make sense. The answer is clearly NO to the question “Can faith (only) save him? He then goes on to say why a faith lacking obedient works cannot save. James 2:17 (KJV) Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. It is impossible to separate God’s commands from our faith. The obedience to these commands is the exhibition of this faith as an active and living relationship with the Father. James clearly shows that the current thought process of “faith” minus “faith in action (works)” is nothing more than a dead faith. Many make the claim that James contradicts the book of Romans, but if it does it also rejects the book of Hebrews. Hebrews 11:6 (KJV) But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. James is emphasizing both faith and obedience to God is necessary. If not, James would also contradict 1 John 1:6 (KJV) If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: Faith only believers claim baptism is a work, but it is a command which has been given to us by Christ himself (Mark 16:16). To separate this act from “faith” based on the false doctrine of “faith only” means “we lie, and do not the truth”. There are many commands given in the New Testament which make us whole in our faith. Subtract any of these commands (works of obedience) and our faith is incomplete. James clearly states this in James 2:22 (KJV) Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? Perfect in the Greek (τελειόω) means “complete”. You can’t be a complete Christian when you separate faith and works. James further explains why. James 2:24 (KJV) Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Many today claim to have faith or a “personal relationship” with God, but their faith does not demonstrate this claim. According to “faith only” believers, Paul must also be contradictory in His writing to Titus, but should be sufficient to show this doctrine false. Titus 1:16 (KJV) They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. James shows our faith IS our doing!