The Bible teaches that we are saved by God’s grace through faith in Ephesians 2 and that we cannot save ourselves on the merits of anything we do. But this does not mean our faith is to be a passive mental assent in the reality of Jesus Christ and what He accomplished for man through His sacrifice.
Peter wrote in chapter 2 of his second epistle that we are to strive to add many qualities to our faith such as virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness and charity. Peter went on to say that these qualities keep us from being barren and unfruitful in knowledge. He also said those who lack these Christian virtues are blind and barren. Peter then exhorts all Christians to give diligence to do these things, in other words, Peter said to make an effort to make these things a part of their faith.
James had much to say about faith in chapter 2 of his epistle. He wrote by inspiration that “Faith without works is dead” (v20). He went on to say that it is by works that our faith is perfected or made complete. After giving the example of Abraham’s obedient faith, James went on to say these words in verse 24, “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only”. James then concluded this teaching by again saying that a faith without works is as dead a body without a spirit.
Jesus said in Matthew 7:21 that, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” Those who have knowledge of and believe in Jesus enough to call Him Lord must do the will of the Father if they want to enter into the kingdom of Heaven. Jesus says they cannot rely on their faith alone to get them there. He went on to teach the parable of the foolish and wise house builders. The wise builder who obeyed Jesus Christ was the one who built his house on rock.
Is your faith a living faith, complete with obedient service to our Lord and King, Jesus Christ, or do you have a faith which is inactive and dead? We are commanded by God’s word to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). A dead faith won’t save us any more than works alone can save us. The two work together to produce a living, saving faith.