A common misinterpretation of the difference between faith in Romans 4 and James 2 is to suggest that the first describes faith before salvation which is to God, and faith after salvation which is before men. The first has no works; the second has works.
I would respectfully disagree. Such an explanation is represents a typical explanation to depict two faiths – one before salvation and one after. The false depiction is driven by “faith alone” doctrine and says that to be saved you only need the faith that has no works/obedience (se, Romans 4) and after salvation you need the other faith with works (see James 2). But this is the creation of a false dichotomy. We cannot accept that there are two faiths.
The truth is that there is only one faith (Rom 1:17) and it is obedient (Romans 1:5; 16:26; 1 Thess 1:3), from beginning to end. The proper understanding is that: 1] Faith is always in God instead of one’s works, 2] Faith is always obedient. If our faith is in our works (ala, Romans), then it is fleshly. If our faith doesn’t have works (ala, James), then it is dead.
Said in love, Dan Mayfield