It’s funny how when you are studying multiple passages at once, you see how it all ties together. How it isn’t just stand-alone pieces, but all parts of a whole. A puzzle. Or a painting, without which one part we couldn’t see the whole picture.
This passage is talking about showing our faith by our works. We must have faith. We all – all of mankind – have faith in SOMETHING. Even those who don’t follow Christianity, or even organized religion at all, all place their faith in something. Religion, government, nature, even self. Faith is part of who we are. For Christians, our faith is in God, Christ, the Holy Spirit.
Our faith should, in turn, produce good works. This is how we show others who God is. We, because of our faith in God follow His commands to show others His love, grace, and mercy (see James pt. 8). We have to act. If we don’t we are no better than the Israelites when God punished them for their rebellion (Isaiah – pt 1).