2 Cor. 13:5 – Paul also admonishes us to examine ourselves, to see whether we are holding to our faith. This examination of conscience is a pious Catholic practice. Our faith, which is a gift from God, must be nurtured. Faith is not a one-time event that God bestows upon us.
Gal. 5:6 – thus, the faith that justifies us is “faith working through love,” not faith alone. This is one of the best summaries of Catholic teaching. Faith and love (manifested by works) are always connected. Faith (a process of thought) and love (an action) are never separated in the Scriptures. Cf. Eph. 3:17; 1 Thess. 3:6,12-13; 2 Thess. 1:3; 1 John 3:23; Rev. 2:4-5,19. Further, all faith (initial and perfected) are gratuitous gifts from God, and not earned or merited by any human action. God effects everything, both the willing and the achievement. But God also requires human action, which is necessary to perfect our faith.
James 1:22-25 – it’s the “doers” who are justified, not the hearers. Justification is based on what we do, which means “works.” Notice that there is nothing about “false faith.” The hearers may have faith, but they need to accompany their faith by works, or they will not be justified. See also Rom. 2:13.
James 2:17,26 – James clearly teaches that faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. Works are a cause, not just an effect, of our justification because good works achieve and increase our justification before God. Scripture never says anything about “saving faith.” Protestants cannot show us from the Scriptures that “works” qualify the “faith” into saving faith. Instead, here and elsewhere, the Scriptures teach that justification is achieved only when “faith and works” act together. Scripture puts no qualifier on faith. Scripture also never says that faith “leads to works.” Faith is faith and works are works (James 2:18). They are distinct (mind and action), and yet must act together in order to receive God’s unmerited gift of justification.
James 2:19 – even the demons believe that Jesus is Lord. But they tremble. Faith is not enough. Works are also required.
James 2:20 – do you want to be shown, you shallow man, that faith apart from works is barren? Good works in God’s grace are required for justification. But there is nothing in the Scriptures about “saving faith.”
James 2:22 – faith is active with works and is completed by works. It does not stand alone. Faith needs works to effect our justification.
James 4:17 – in fact, James writes that the failure to do works is a sin! So works are absolutely necessary for our justification.
James 2:15-17 – here are the examples of the “works” to which James is referring – corporal works of mercy (giving food and shelter to those in need).
James 1:27 – another example of “works” is visiting orphans and widows in their affliction. Otherwise, if they do not perform these good works, their religion is in vain.
James 2:25 – another example of “works” is when Rahab assisted the spies in their escape. Good works increase our justification and perfect our faith.