This question usually arises when Christians talk about salvation. Some says in order to be saved one needs faith and works. Some likes to quote Paul who wrote Ephesians 2:8, 9 which says For by grace you are saved through faith it is a gift of God not of works lest anyone should boast. Everyone agrees that we need faith but where does work comes in ? In James 2:20 the verse says faith without works is dead.
How do we reconcile Paul who wrote Ephesians 2:8,9 as inspired by the Holy Spirit and James who wrote James 2:20 also inspired by the Holy Spirit ?
One way to settle this is by using symbols or legend:
Let F= faith
0 W= zero works or no works
so the equation will look like this F+W= S let this be equation one which looks like James is saying.
Paul seems to say F +0 W= S (0 stands for zero) let this be equation two.
Looks like equation one does not agree with equation two. Did the Bible contradicted itself ?
As was explained to me by my pastor, the equation below will settle this.
F--->S----->W or Faith will lead to Salvation which will lead to Works.
This equation reconciles Paul and James , would you agree ?
In summary we do not need works to be saved but we need works to show that we are saved. Or works is not prerequisite for salvation but is a proof or fruit of our salvation.
I like the way you explain it. My explaination is somewhat the same. When we have a relationship with Jesus and feel His Love for us, then the "works" is the fruit of the Joy of the Holy Spirit. It just becomes natural to give Love to others. Prior to healing and bettering my relationship with Jesus, I wasn't a giver, if someone needed help that person had an angle and wasn't getting anything from me. Now, it doesn't matter if there's an angle to it or not. I help almost w/o thought. If I see someone needing anything (from a cheerful word, to carrying groceries to the last dollar in my pocket, I do it). This is how we are changed, not of ourselves out of fully giving ourselves to submission to the Father. Salvation is earned by works, Jesus earned it for us and "works" is simply the fruit of true submission to God.