How can we reconcile James and Paul? We have to remember the theme of James 2. James is arguing against those who profess faith but have no good worked to prove it. consider this question: Is justification by faith or by profession of faith?
Clearly, justification is only by true, humble faith, which always and inevitably issues in faithful works. Paul is speaking of legal justification before the eyes of God, while James is speaking of visible justification before the eyes of men.
“The true, living faith, which the Holy Spirit instills into the heart, simply cannot be idle.”