The last couple of posts get me thinking about the whole works/faith debate that has characterized so much of modern Christianity. I grew up with Ephesians 2:8-9 always in the forefront of my field of vision. So it was a great shock to me when I was later introduced to problematic references like James 2:24. It seemed to stand in stark opposition to the bedrock principle of Eph. 2:8-9. And watching Evangelicals do backflips to try to make the passage go away always left me unconvinced. I mean it is telling how problematic the text is when Martin Luther, the godfather of Sola Fide, so disliked the book of James that he desired to see this "gospel of straw" removed from the Bible. But more problematic texts present themselves (Romans: 2:5-8; Matthew 25: 31-46) , and the least you can do is face the issue. The authors of the New Testment seemed to have no discomfort in reconciling statements like the above with ones that said "faith in Jesus is the way to salvation".
So here's where they reconcile in my head. It is interesting to me that, contrary to what I always used to parrot, Eph. 2:8-9 says we are saved, not by faith, but by grace through faith. And as I look up the word grace, I see it defined as the "loving kindness of God". And that is what I think brings salvation to us, when we join in with the loving-kindness of God. You might say we are saved by Love. Because you can't have the "Christ-kind" of Love without faith; it just turns into chore-like duty. And you can't have Love without works; any spouse who has heard a partner say "I love you" yet never act it out understands this well.
Jesus was very deliberate about revealing to us a new way of Loving - the way of grace. He pointed out the only way to join in was a re-birthing of your heart into Love - it can't be undertaken without a change by the Spirit. Faith in him is faith in the Love he showed us at the cross, a culmination of the way of Love he revealed during his life.
Anyway, this is taking a whole lot longer than I expected. I'd better take some time to deal with it a little more comprehensively somewhere else. Too much brain power to expend while my boy is yelling for orange juice...