Faith is most commonly defined as something we believe or hope for. Here it is better defined as something that totally moves us and shapes the course of things to come, a leaving of ourselves to commit/pursue the greater promises laid before us. Faith is a both a destination and the road/process of getting there. It is it's own country.
I have often look at this definition of faith as if it was me looking out into life's vastness and seeing the evidences of what I hope; if I looked hard enough and sincere enough I would see actual proof. Suddenly I have considered that it may well be intended to be the reverse. If I truly believe, the activities of my life will naturally become living proof that I believe; my faith will become evident. I have faith despite the appearance here of things, I live forward out of trust. Like Abraham, others can discern that I believe by the manner I proceed in trust and obedience, what I am willing to sacrifice, how and where I am willing to sojourn, what spiritual promises I am willing wait long past my physical death patiently for and how such waiting guides me. Faith is not a collection of scientific insight, it is a substance born of hope.
There is an eternal salvation and justification accomplished on our behalf strictly by the work of Jesus Christ our savior at the cross of Calvary. No other work can replace that. What James means by works leading to justification here is similar to what the author of Hebrews meant by 'the evidence of things unseen/substance of things hoped for' ( kjv@Hebrews:11 ), the effect faith has in producing corresponding action. It is difficult for one man to justify that another man has faith if their is no tangible evidence outwardly of said faith. It should be just as difficult for us ourselves to justify our reasoning for believing in Christ if we yet disallow His natural effect upon us causing us to act forward in a new and living way. If our faith leads us to no more than what faith in any other god would lead us to do or not do, what justification would we have for such faith? The question then must be asked 'how much does Christ's redemptive work on the cross mean to us personally'? 'To what extent does it/will it effect us'? Jesus called it 'abiding in' and Peter called it 'being neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of Christ'.
2012 - pBiblx2 Field Wise Bible System Version 2.0.9d - GPL3