In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
Students of Jesus have puzzled over the relationship between faith and works. The problem arises over the perceived difference between what James says here – faith without deeds is dead – and Paul’s statement in the Book of Ephesians that our salvation does not come through our works.
There is no contradiction between James and Paul, only a difference in emphasis.
By emphasizing works, James isn’t saying faith is unimportant. Nor is he arguing that as long as we obey God’s commands it doesn’t matter whether we have faith or not! He is saying, true faith will reveal itself in action.
By emphasizing faith, Paul isn’t saying works are unimportant. Nor is he arguing that as long as we have faith it doesn’t matter whether we obey God’s commands or not. He is saying that all the works in the world apart from the grace of faith cannot save anyone.
True faith always produces the action or work of obedience.
You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless.
James recalls the faith of Abraham that moved him to act in obedience to God’s command to sacrifice his son Isaac. - You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.
You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
We understand. Both faith and works are important. They complement each other, with works completing our faith.
James is simply calling those who have faith to get busy doing what God requires.