I hope you will expand on what you mean by the Grace is originally given before we are even conscious of it. Because if that is so then it means we are already saved since Grace means "favor".
While we were
still His enemies, Christ died for us. If that isn't grace given before we're conscious of it, then I don't know what is.
How someone put it on another thread is: We have been saved, we are being saved and we will be saved.
As for the clarification, I'm glad you asked.
The Apostles Paul writes:
Rom 5:2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Let's consider that together Doc. That is not my words so if you disagree with them then please elaborate but if you agree with them then we must conclude that it Grace requires a form of Access and this scripture is telling us that Faith is that access. That means before we personally have obtained FAVOR (Grace) that we have Faith.
I don't disagree with those words, I disagree with your understanding of them. If you will notice, the access by faith is into the grace in which they're already standing.
James tells us this:
Jas 2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
Now I'm sure we both agree that Grace is profit. So can Faith without works (no profit) obtain what is profitable? - No, according to James.
The key problem Doc is that everyone wants to quote verses in the Bible that the Apostles Paul says as which is:
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Notice in those verses the word "works". But Paul says this also:
Rom 2:6 Who will render to every man according to his works:
Rom 2:7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, aionios life:
That is Paul saying that those that are continuing in well doing (working) will receive "aionios life"
See the verse in Ephesians 2:9 clarifies whos works it refers to by saying "lest any MAN should boast". The works that are done by those in Christ are His works.
Psalms shows the distinction more clearly:
Psa 28:3 Draw me not away with the wicked, and with the workers of iniquity, which speak peace to their neighbours, but mischief is in their hearts.
Psa 28:4 Give them according to their deeds, and according to the wickedness of their endeavours: give them after the work of their hands; render to them their desert.
Psa 28:5 Because they regard not the works of the LORD, nor the operation of his hands, he shall destroy them, and not build them up.
So Doc, the obtaining or access to Grace is FAITH + (works of Jesus Christ) THRU us. If we do that we shall be saved.
That conclusion is a non-sequitur from the verses posted above.
Consider the parable of the talents Doc. All of those servants were given a pound. Is not everyone in Christ given a pound? And what happens to one that did no works to increase his pound?
Luk 19:12 He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
Luk 19:13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
Luk 19:14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.
Luk 19:15 And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
Luk 19:16 Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.
Luk 19:17 And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.
Luk 19:18 And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.
Luk 19:19 And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.
Luk 19:20 And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:
Luk 19:21 For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.
Luk 19:22 And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow:
Luk 19:23 Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?
Luk 19:24 And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.
Luk 19:25 (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.)
Luk 19:26 For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.
Luk 19:27 But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.
So see Doc, we have to DO Works. Jesus is going to inspect the fruit of the branches. Now know this - at no time did I mention that we are to do OUR works or the works of the letter of the law. I am saying that the works we MUST do are those of the Christ. It is Him working in us.
As to the James passage, I think if we look at that verse in a bit more context, we'll see what James was talking about there:
Jam 2:8 If you truly fulfill the royal Law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well. Lev. 19:18
Jam 2:9 But if you have partiality you work sin, being reproved by the Law as transgressors.
Jam 2:10 For whoever shall keep all the Law, but stumbles in one, he has become guilty of all.
Jam 2:11 For He who said, "You shall not commit adultery," also said, "You shall not murder." Ex. 20:14, 13; Deut. 5:18, 17 But if you do not commit adultery, but commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the Law.
Jam 2:12 So speak and so do as being about to be judged through a Law of freedom.
Jam 2:13 For judgment will be without mercy to the one not doing mercy. And mercy rejoices over judgment.
Jam 2:14 My brothers, what is the gain if anyone says he has faith, but he does not have works? Is the faith able to save him?
Jam 2:15 But if a brother or a sister is naked and may be lacking in daily food,
Jam 2:16 and any one of you say to them, Go in peace, be warmed and filled, but does not give them the things the body needs, what gain is it?
Jam 2:17 So also faith, if it does not have works, is dead being by itself.
I see that we are judged by our works (justified or condemned), and that we are given according to our works (reward and punishment), but I don't see the conclusion from these passages that we are saved by them. The works of God are merely an outflow from real faith (that has been given to us) resulting from grace (that has been given to us). He's saying that faith without works doesn't do anyone any good.
I know you didn't mention that we are to do our works, or the works of the letter of the law. Yet you are still implying that works save us, which is trying to keep law. You appear to be saying that faith + works = access to grace leading to salvation.
If one has been given real faith, then He who has given that to you is also doing those works through you.
It's the same thing with the sermon on the mount. Jesus wasn't laying down a bunch of new rules, he was saying that if you're living the God kind of life (in other words, if God is living out His life through us), this is what it will look like.