What James is saying is that if you claim to have faith, it is dead if there is no fruit or proof to show for it.  We don’t do good works to keep our faith alive.  We do good works because our faith is alive.  Also consider the vast passages that echo God’s promise of eternal life that will never be taken away, along with the presence of Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost being with us forever.

    So then, there is still a difference between having a head knowledge about God and personally applying it to yourself.  Who is pointed out as believing in God and even trembling?

-The devils-

-The Gentiles-

-The Pharisees-

-The uncircumcised-