"You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone." James 2:22-24
In today's reading, James stresses the importance of our faith and our actions working together. If we have an active faith, it should be expressed in Christian living. In other words, a true disciple of Christ will not live in hypocrisy. If our faith is not expressed in Christian actions, it is useless and dead. I also appreciated how this passage tied in with the OT reading in Ezekiel 15 (Jerusalem as a useless vine).
My next point is strictly my own thought, but here is a reason why I believe that our faith and our actions need to go hand in hand........
The Lord looks at our heart, which no one else is able to see or observe. People on the other hand, can only hear what we say and observe us on the outside along with our actions. I work at a store where the owner does not advertise. So the only "advertising" we have is word of mouth from previous customers. It will either be good or bad.......that just depends on how well the store treats its customers. The same goes for us a Christians. How are we advertising our faith?
The faith Abraham had in God was equally matched with his actions, and is an example for us all.