Ephesians 2:8-9 shows us that works can not save someone. The saving of someone is a gift from God but it takes faith as shown in verse 8. Verse 8 shows that faith is necessary. The two need each other. Neither one, faith or works, by itself, save someone. James 2:14-26 goes further by showing that faith is DEAD without works. As an example, if you are on railroad tracks and see a train coming, you have faith that the train is coming. But if you do not do the work of getting out of the way, you are not saved. Likewise, a man of only works can walk on the tracks as much as he wants. But if he does not have faith that the train is coming, he will not be saved. Faith is not just seeing but taking action.
Ephesians 2:8-9 (RSV); “8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God— 9 not because of works, lest any man should boast.”
James 2:14-26 (RSV); “14 What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
18 But some one will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder. 20 Do you want to be shown, you shallow man, that faith apart from works is barren? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, 23 and the scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness”; and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.