By faith we are saved not by works. Works are evidence of faith. Think about it. Abraham could not have approached the 'work' (sacrificing his son Issac) he was asked to do if he had not faith first. If he did do the 'work' first without faith, then what would his faith mean? Nothing. Faith is accepting God's call and being faithful to it. This is a gift from God; when His call is received and accepted it is called God's grace and this is a gift.
Why a gift? Because, we do 'man' does not seek after God. He seeks us. Otherwise, what would it be but 'our' work (seeking Him) and it would be work without faith; in that - He was, is and will be. "And if by grace, then it is no
longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace" ~ Romans
"What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don't show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?" And..."So you see, faith by itself isn't enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless" ~ James 2:14-17.
Yes, faith by itself isn't enough. However, don't misunderstand, we cannot be the one who goes about being nice and thinking that it qualifies as faith for it is just works without faith. It is by faith that we are saved, not by works. Works are evidence of faith. How does one have faith first? All are called, some are chosen and all that are called, chosen must be faithful. What does that mean?
It means that when we are called we recognize (hear the call) that we are being 'chosen' and in being chosen acquire a gift which is 'grace' (undeserved) and by being faithful to that 'gift' we acknowledge that gift and its giver ... giving thanks and praise to the Lord who is our choice by faith and not by works. This in itself is a revelation as when that happens, works pour out from us. Why? Because this is no longer 'our' work but the work of the Holy Spirit in us which reveals being called, chosen and faithful. And, that's how it should and must be. And in this way, works are evidence of our faith!