Justified by Faith
Salvation is by grace through faith.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
- Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV)
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
- James 2:26 (KJV)
So for example, donating $100 to Starship won't get you into heaven, but if you do it without expecting anything in return, it's a different story.
One is works, the other is works of repentance (or works of love if you will).
Faith and works of repentance go hand in hand.
Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
- James 2:24 (KJV)
Works of repentance come naturally, and are evidence of what you truly believe. It's proof that God is working in your heart.
Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance.
- Matthew 3:8 (KJV)
A faith without works of repentance is essentially dead (a branch that doesn't bring forth fruit).
God is looking for a "working" faith, where we put into practice what we believe.
Recently I asked myself "have I done enough?", but that's the wrong question to ask. My works (of repentance) are only meeting God half-way (if that), the other half still has to be done on grace alone. In a sense our righteousness by faith compensates for our righteousness by works. Grace is always required to make up the difference. Our works by themselves are never enough to meet the standard of God's Law.
And that is what justification by faith is.
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
- Romans 5:1-5 (KJV)
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
- Galatians 2:16 (KJV)
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
- Romans 3:24-26 (KJV)
Faith is essentially another way of saying "I trust God's promises".
God promises us salvation by grace, and we need to understand that God keeps His promises (faith).
Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
- 1 Peter 1:13 (KJV)