Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

James 2:20 But, O vain man, dost thou desire to know that faith without works is dead?

In the New Covenant, there are two types of works. There are works by the law and works associated with faith.

Works by the law has to do with self-effort to receive salvation. This may include fasting, praying, and staying away from certain foods in order to be in God’s good graces. But as we can see from scripture, works by the law in the New Covenant is meaningless (2 Tim. 1:9; Titus 3:5). Our own righteous works is filth in God’s eyes (Isaiah 64:6). If our self-effort can save us or put us in right standing with God, there’s no need for Jesus.

On the other hand, works by faith is corresponding actions to God’s Word. For instance, if we pray for a job, the works or corresponding actions to receive that job is to allow the Holy Spirit to direct us on when and where we should apply. We can’t just pray, sit back, and wait on a job offer to knock on our doors. There’s physical actions we must take.

Don’t combine or confuse the two types of works. One has to do with self-effort and the other has to do with corresponding action. Always remember there’s nothing we can do in our own strength to please God. God is pleased when we receive the righteous works of His Son on our behalf.