“Your faith has saved you; go in peace” (Luke 7:50)  

There is often discussion about the apparent contradiction between the apostles James and Paul.  Paul says that we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), and James seems to say that a person is saved by works – “You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone” (James 2:24).  Well, Jesus weighs in on the matter too, when he says to one woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace” (Luke 7:50).  This woman was a known sinner – clearly not someone justified in what she has done, except in this one sense… Her faith prompted her to come weeping in repentance before the Lord, even washing His feet with her tears.  In this sense, I believe her ACTION (or deeds) demonstrated her FAITH.  It was her faith that moved her to action, but it was her faith that came first.  Which is why Jesus says “Your faith has saved you.” Even James is careful to say in the same verse where he extols good deeds, that Justification involves faith.  Clearly any living faith will be expressed by deeds.  The fault happens when someone attempts to take either extreme – works without faith, or faith without works.  A good deed not grounded in faith is not a good deed at all, and a living faith that demonstrates no fruit is not thinkable either.  Faith and works are both alive and well in the life of the believer.  There is no contradiction here.