What is faith?
When discussing faith in religious circles, it is often said that, "…faith without works is dead." This quotation from James 2:26b is yanked out context such that the popular understanding of this verse is completely twisted and unbiblical. Even study of the context will yield little, unless the dark "religious eyeglasses of blindness" are removed and put aside.
The common religious understanding of this verse is as follows:
Your religious beliefs have no effect if you do not produce charitable works which are instigated, directed and validated by the religious institution which you belong to. You must obediently provide the resources (time, talents and money) in accordance with instructions and approval from the religious leaders who are responsible for you.
The common religious understanding, as stated above, has absolutely nothing to do with the verses in James chapter 2.
The words "faith" and "works" (in this context) have been misunderstood for centuries, since western religion has redefined them. Religion had to redefine these words as the institution and its' audience became less and less spiritual. The unspiritual audience could be accommodated and the spiritual audience could be suppressed and controlled.
The quotation is a figure of speech called "oxymoron". With the correct biblical understanding of the words "faith" and "works", it can be understood that "faith without works" is an impossible condition which cannot happen.
Faith is kinetic, energetic and powerful. It is NOT a mental process which conforms to a particular world or religious point of view. The apostle Paul states that the life he now LIVES he LIVES by the faith of Jesus Christ! He is not discussing an ethical or a religious system.
It is important to understand that the Greek word for "faith" is the same as the word for "believe". As illustrated in Hebrews 11, holy spirit upon a person is required for that person to exercise "faith" or "believing". This is what brings to pass the power of God in the senses realm in order to accomplish the will of God. It is this kinetic, energetic "faith" which pleases God.
Noah had faith
The account of Noah in Hebrews 11:7 illustrates how this works.
 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
Noah was first "…warned by God…" which is revelation, including word of knowledge and word of wisdom. Knowledge about future events, Wisdom instructing what to do about them. When Noah moved to obey what he had heard, faith or believing was energized. These works required the power of God in operation. No man simply using his own resources and efforts could ever accomplish what Noah did. No man, by his own efforts could "condemn the world" or become an "heir of righteousness".
We have faith
As it worked with Noah, it works with us. God, via the gift of holy spirit, provides knowledge and wisdom. Moving with obedience on these instructions will cause faith, or believing to be energized and the power of God goes into operation. If you are instructed by revelation to speak, and you obey, you then speak by faith, or believing. If you are instructed by revelation to shut up, and you obey, you are silent by faith, or believing.
For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.
The manifestation of holy spirit is required for anyone to endure in this world, eagerly anticipating the return of Jesus Christ. This is how we perform the works of God and how we worship him in spirit and in truth. This is how we please him.
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