James emphasizes that saving faith generates works, not the other way around. If we have true faith we will see a difference in the way we live and act. We are instructed in the three facets of saving faith. There must be:
In contrast to the teaching in much of the church today, we see that a true saving faith must and will change the way we live. We cannot ‘believe’ the Gospel and then live as we always have up to that point, expecting that we will be taken to heaven as a result.
Finally, we are cautioned not to think that the works we do will save us, or that salvation is owed to us by God in payment for our works. Faith comes first as a gift from God and it is this that saves us. Works proceed as the fruit of that faith and give us assurance that we have received true saving faith from God.