(Here's something I don't want you to miss. It's from my friend, Dave O'Brien.)
"Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?" James 2:22
"These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth". Hebrews 11:13
Those who had faith in God, in the Old Testament, were looking forward to the promise. The works that they did were the result of the faith they had in the One whom God was sending, namely Christ. Noah built the ark having faith in the coming promise. Abraham knew that even if he killed his son, that God was able to raise him from the dead in order that the promise would be fulfilled. Even though many in the OT did not receive the promise, by faith they looked forward to it. Today, we believe in the promise fulfilled.
Jesus was asked by the multitudes… "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent." (John 6:28-29). In other words, it is His work, that we believe in His Son. This is His way (believing), by which we are saved.
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of (our) works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:8-10
Today, our faith is in the finished work of Jesus Christ. His work is finished.
Through Christ, God has made it possible for us to be saved by grace through faith, apart from our works. We are His workmanship. We are His good works, which God before ordained (prepared beforehand). We now walk, by faith, in His finished/completed works, that were fulfilled in Christ. We inherit the promise (life), having believed the Gospel. This is God's way. It is the only way.
Therefore, we have no reason to examine anyone, according to their works. It is our faith, not our works, that is the evidence that we are believers. We are witnesses of what Jesus has DONE, and what we say we believe concerning Him, is our testimony.