The apostle Paul stressed the sinner’s justification by faith alone and at first sight James appears to contradict Paul’s teaching by these words: “What does it profit, my brethren, though a man say he has faith, and has not works, can faith save him?”
He also wrote: “Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? You see then how by works a man is justified and not by faith only. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead.”
Though somewhat confusing to the greatest minds, really there is no contradiction. Many people have faith: in fact we could not exist without faith, and James was referring to a general faith and not to saving faith. He knew only saving faith would produce good works.
The Scribes and Pharisees placed much emphasis on their good works and performed their good works to be seen of men and not as a manifestation of their faith in Christ, Whom they hated.
Paul wrote “For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10.
It matters not how famous a believer or her accomplishments; she realizes her works are the result of her faith in God and His marvelous grace. If so, there is no room for boasting only for praise and thanksgiving.
Father, though one of the least of Your children, thank You for adopting me into your royal family and allowing me to serve you in a few ways. My few achievements are the result of Your grace and not my intelligence or hard work. Jesus made this possible and I pray and thank You in His Name. Amen.