There is no such thing as blind faith in the Bible, it is knowledge
Q. Is there a contradiction between Paul and James? Paul says that we are justified by faith but James says that faith alone doesn’t save you and faith without works is dead.
A. There is no contradiction between the two. Whenever you read the Scriptures you have to keep in mind the context in which it was written.
Paul, for instance, was writing to people who thought that self-justification was attainable by their Torah observance. This, of course, is never taught in the Torah itself. A man can never be justified before God by works.
But, just like some denominations today, the Jews had a well developed system of works righteousness and Paul had to deal with that everywhere he went. He says in Rom 9.32 that the Jews did not pursue righteousness by faith but by works.
They thought that when they obeyed God they earned righteousness and that is just not the case. That’s why Paul says that we are not "under the Law." Now, that term in Greek is "upo nomou" and it means that we are not subject to a system of works righteousness.
He also says that we cannot earn righteousness through "works of the Law." That term in Greek is "ergo nomou" and that means a system of works righteousness. You cannot earn righteousness through obedience to God nor are we subject to a system that says we do.
We approach God through "emunah" or faith.This Hebrew word is related to the word "amen" which means "so be it" or "let it be done." Now, faith is action and it is made up of three components. First, "ahav" or love. You obey the Lord because you love him.
You must have the right attitude. Secondly, there are "mitzvot" or commandments. This word can also be translated "works." We should obey the Lord because we love him and let our good works shine, which glorifies our Father in Heaven. Third, we have "da’at" or knowledge. God tells us to do something and we act. There is no such thing as blind faith in the Bible.
So, biblical faith is made up of love, works and knowledge. So, Paul is saying that a man is not justified by works but he does not say you shouldn’t have any.
James is saying the same thing. James is dealing with an audience that was anti-nomian, which means they were forgetful hearers of the Law.
James is saying that if a person has genuine faith he will have genuine works as evidence of that faith. He is not saying that you need works to be saved, he’s saying that you will have works when you are saved. Now, these works are not what man says are good works, it is what God says are good works and those works are described in the Scriptures.
Paul and James are not contradictory but answer the question of how a component of faith (works) fits into salvation. Paul says that good works does not earn righteousness because that is a free gift of God and James is saying that one who is truly saved will have good works following as evidence of that saving faith.