Concerning salvation faith is merely recognizing the finished work of Christ. Our faith isn’t a miraculous power which causes salvation. Faith is the door which leads into Christ and what He has already accomplished. The work is already finished. Our faith doesn’t add an iota to Christ’s work. However, as mentioned, we move into His salvation by faith. God utilizes a variety of measures to lead man to the point where he recognizes his need for salvation. When the need is recognized the solution to man’s predicament is already supplied, and by faith he enters into Christ and His salvation.
Jesus clearly stated that without Him we can do nothing. William Law wrote: “But if without Christ we can do nothing and all things are possible to our faith, can there be a fuller demonstration that our faith is nothing else, but Christ born and living within us?” Therefor our faith is Christ living in His fullness in us. If Christ lives in us we cannot make a division between faith and works like many do. This is the issue when James writes: “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” (James 2:18)
Christ is One. We cannot separate Him into different parts. There is only one power, and that one power is Christ in us. Hence Christ is both our faith and our works. There is no difference between Christ as our redeemer and His redeeming works in and through us. We can therefore not say that there is a difference between justification by faith and justification by works. They are no more two things than our Savior and our salvation are two different things in us. William Law insisted: “To divide faith from its works is as absurd as to divide a thing from its self, a circle from its roundness.”
James saw Christ living in common people living regular lives where Christ was the sustaining power within manifesting Himself in both faith and works so that those ostensible regular lives are extraordinary lives. “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (James 2:26) It is the vanity of the fallen false self which claims faith without the Spirit, and hence that the natural man somehow through his goodness is participating in godly works. That is an impossibility, James insists. It is but through the new birth by the Spirit that both faith and godly works become an inseparable reality in man. Jesus forever coupled faith with works when He said: “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” (John 6:29)
“If, therefore, faith and its good works are but one and the same, Christ living in us, the distinction between a good faith and its good works and all the contentious volumes that have been written about it, are as mere ignorant jargon as a distinction made and contended for between life and its living operations.” (William Law)