So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
Faith produces works that are pleasing to God. Faith does stuff in the world. It produces not just a positive energy, but new actions that do good things observable by others in the world. It changes our actions. It works because we now believe.
Now, works do not on their own save us from our sin. I cannot of my own suddenly do the right stuff and expect God to look at me in favor. My best actions, apart from salvation by Jesus, are still filthy garbage in God’s sight. I need Jesus to save me from sin. And by faith I trust His saving work in me and for my sin. From that faith procedes the proper actions that shows the change Jesus is making in me.
Just as I cannot find salvation in my works, I also cannot just live as I want if I claim to believe in Jesus. A faith that shows no change, that does not regenerate a life to do good things in the world, cannot be a saving faith. Belief is not just a cognitive intellectual exercise. Jesus changes our hearts and that transforms our lives, because the heart is the treasure chest from which we show all that we value in what we do. Faith to be real, must be known to others by how we live and not just in what we say we believe.
You have changed my heart. Through Your saving work in me, I am learning to love people as You do. You have helped me learn to live out a generous grace to know You, follow You, and love this world as You do. I can give myself to the gospel, to others by Your grace, and to the God I now love because of this change. By faith, I work!