The image above illustrates a common position held by reformed believers that a believer who does not exhibit good works has never expressed true faith. Or put differently, the believer does not have ‘saving faith’.
Those who hold this view understand ‘faith without works is dead’ to mean ‘faith without works never existed‘. it’s illustrated above by showing the complete absence of the faith trophy.
This is clearly a different statement to the one found in James. But it is required to support the doctrinal position of endurance of the saints. If a true believer always endures to the end then it requires that someone who doesn’t endure never truly believed – they never had true faith.
But the Bible does not really support that. Real faith that trusts in Jesus sacrificial death really can exist without works – it is simply dead or useless and of no value in the saving of the soul.