[quote="Tommy999, post:7, topic:442045"]
In my opinion, this verse needs to be balanced with Ephesians 2;8-9. Both faith and works are important. I think our works are visible evidence of our faith in action, although I've known a few people who did good works who were atheists but did their good works out of a sense of humanistic caring instead of flowing out of their faith in Christ.
Indeed, this verse needs "to be balanced with Ephesians 2:8-9"!
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." Ephesians 2:8,9 NKJV
Albeit the Catholic Church would refer to this verse as ascribing to initial justification, the verse does not *mention the word 'justification', and James 2:24 *does.
Notice, that Saint Paul talks about salvation, i.e. "*y grace you have been *saved"; he does not write, "by grace you have been justified], even though salvation and justification are very analogous and we can both agree that this verse alludes to initial justification. I would also take note of whom Saint Paul is writing this epistle to, Christians who were recently baptized and "saved" by it through "faith" (the gift of regeneration, i.e. Holy Baptism). Notice these preceding verses:
"And you He made alive..."
"...made us *alive * together with Christ...
"...and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus..." - Ephesians 2:1,5,6 NKJV
Making us "alive" and "rais[ing] us up" and especially "saving" us are Baptismal references:
"Therefore we were buried with Him through *baptism *into death, that just as Christ was *raised *from the dead by the glory of the Father...Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also *live *with Him." Romans 6:4,8 NKJV
"There is also an antitype which now saves *us—*baptism." - 1 Peter 3:19 NKJV
"He *saved *us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing [Baptism] of the Holy Spirit." Titus 3:5
So, Ephesians 2:8,9 is referencing our initial justification that takes place in Holy Baptism where we are "made alive" and "raised up" with Christ. However, justification is a process. Just as Abraham was initially justified *through faith by grace, i.e. "saved", he was later on *justified by works when he offered his son. Were those works done on his own without God's grace? Absolutely not!
“Lord, You will establish peace for us, For You have also done all our works **in **us.” (Isaiah 26:12 NKJV)
“make you complete in every good work to do His will, working **in **you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ.” (Hebrews 13:21 NKJV)
“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work **in **you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6 NKJV)
“it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives **in **me.” (Galatians 2:20 NKJV)