More from my discussion on charity as doctrine:
Our works are both evidence of faith and necessary to our salvation and are of our free will. When we “believe on the Lord Jesus” that includes what he teaches, including our having to do good works and avoid evil ones. For example, Jesus’ teaching about the servant who owed a great deal of money, was forgiven, then refused to forgive a smaller debt teaches us that we must do the work of forgiving in order to be saved. Because I “believe on the Lord Jesus”, I accept this teaching of faith plus works.
The lack of works can signify lack of faith but not necessarily. In the 1 Corcitation above, it says, “if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing”. It doesn’t say “if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I didn’t really have faith to begin with.”
Now this is not to say one can work his way to heaven. These works are in response to God’s grace but a free will response. The example of baptism is a perfect one to demonstrate this. We baptize babies and recognize it’s saving graces.http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20peter%203:19-22&version=NASB “Corresponding to that, BAPTISM NOW SAVES YOU–not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience–through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (emphasis mine). Also see:http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%203:5&version=NASB “Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of WATER AND THE SPIRIT he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (again, emphasis mine) A baby is not capable of good works because he’s just a baby, yet is able to be saved. So the baby did not work his way to heaven.
That being said, as he grows into accountability, he must live his faith with works in order to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling”. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians%202:12-13&version=NASB.
God wants our whole selves to respond to him freely. Not merely mentally or merely with our will. We can only respond completely, intellect and will, faith and works. Anything else is half hearted.