It's so important to know that works don't save us, but works follow all genuine salvations.
Galatians and James use Abraham to illustrate the works-faith contrast:
Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” ...those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse. Galatians 3:6-14
Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? ...his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did... a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. James 2:21-24
The key ingredient is love. if we love Jesus, we will obey Him and fulfill His purposes for our lives (John 14:15,23). If we don't love Him, our works are filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).
Read through the passages below and ponder this formula:
Faith + nothing = salvation
Salvation = obedience + good works + growth in the Lord
James 2:14-26: 14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. 20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
Galatians 3:10-13: For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” 11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.”13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”
copyright 2015, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
All Scripture NIV unless otherwise noted