James talks about living faith and dead faith James 1:21-26
James uses Abraham as an example. God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, yet Abraham knew that God had given promises regarding Isaac.. and since Abraham knew that God was not a liar, his faith was steadfast in God in believing that if he sacrificed Isaac God is surely still going to be faithful to his word.
Because of Abrahams faith in God (faith), he obeyed God and went to sacrifice Isaac (works). This was faith and works working together.
Faith and works is even at work even at the point of Salvation. Firstly you believe in God (faith), secondly you repent of your sins (works), and believe that God is just and will forgive sin just as he said he would and once you receive that forgiveness, you are saved. Salvation comes from putting that faith into action. (faith and works working together)
However, there were no works which resulted in salvation in the sense that salvation could be earned. It is a gift that comes from God through Jesus by faith in the grace of God and that God is just and true to his word. So there was nothing we could do which bought us to a place deserving of salvation.
Once we are saved, faith and works still work together, but the works is not only about physical work, but is evident in many different ways, but once someone is saved, it is inevitable that we will be changed and righteous deeds will follow as evidence of salvation and relationship with God.
Faith and works working together is about putting faith into action. As James said, what good is faith without works? What good would Peters faith have been if he told the cripple he had faith to heal him but carried on walking without the cripple being healed? There would have been no justification of Peters faith had he not healed the cripple. So since Peter did heal the cripple, his faith was justified by works, just as Abrahams faith was justified by works and his faith was perfected and credited to him as righteousness.
The object of our faith is always Jesus. Trusting in who God is. Abraham trusted God, Peter trusted Jesus, both relied on God being faithful to his promises and both put their faith into action believing that what God said was true, and God was faithful and true on both occasions, and it is through Gods faithfulness to his word and who he is that the justifications of putting our faith into action comes.