The Bible teaches that GRACE is the root of our Salvation. Faith is only the channel that GRACE runs through, like water going through a pipe. Once the water runs through the pipe it cannot return to it's source, if collected in a pot, a person then decides what to do with it. One could apply the water to cooking, bathing, drinking...etc or one could let it sit and become stagnant. If we apply faith in our spiritual life by prioritizing The Word of God daily our faith will increase and we will grow into mature spiritual aldults since "faith comes by hearing, hearing by The Word of God". But, if on the other hand, we take The Word of God causually or become indifferent towards it then our faith becomes stagnant. Rejection or neglection of The Word of God is a recipe for disaster for the regenerate one in Christ. It is all of GRACE but faith is the channel to receive God's GRACE, He desires to do ALL the work of our Salvation.
"Our works are our fruit"
If you can hear it, this statement is self-oriented. Focus is on "our works and our fruit". This is not the Christian way of life.
As to works:
Joh 6:28 Therefore they said to Him, "What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?"
Joh 6:29 Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent."
As you can see God The Father wants our work to be "believing in Jesus". Believe in the Greek is the present active subjunctive pisteuēte, “that ye may keep on believing.” To believe and keep on beliving (trusting) in Christ from the day of our salvation all through eternity. God does not concern Himself about whether we are being good, feeding the poor, loving our neighbor, keeping the sabboth, being baptized, obeying the ten commandments....etc, but He is concerned about, are we trusting in His Son on a moment by moment basis in our daily life, "Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our Faith". Our faith is not even our own it is Christ's.
As to works:
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Gal 5:23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
The first thing we see in these verses is that "the fruit is not ours", it is The Holy Spirit's who is the "agent" of Christ. The Holy Spirit's work in the Church age is to manifest and glorify Christ, to point us to Christ and to reveal Christ to us and in us. As we grow in "GRACE and knowledge of Jesus" we learn to get out of The Holy Spirits way and allow Him to apply The Christ Life in us. It takes many people a long time to understand this, and some never do, they live to "do it for Jesus" instead of believing it is already done and the Christian life is not doing but receiving. These are frustrated legalists that demand you leave your "faith rest" and get busy like them. They like to boast about points of the Law and how they're keeping them according to "The Commandments". Eventually they will brake down, burn out or sometimes seek mental help. Some will change their doctrine and reject the things they once believed or forsake the Christian life all together seeking frantically a search for happiness.
These fruits are the very essence of Christ and He alone can live them, by faith we yeild to The Holy Spirit and allow Him to live this life through us.
"A person with strong faith(roots) will have good works(fruit), including asking God for forgiveness."
There is no need to ask God for forgiveness:
1Jo 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
The mandate is to confess (agree with God about a particular personal sin which takes us out of fellowship with Him) and once we are in agreement with Him, He is faithful to bring us back into fellowship with Him (to forgive and cleanse us). There is no work on our part, simple faith in believing what He says, a nonmeritorious act.
He says it, we agree by faith that what He says is true and He does the neccessary work in us and through us. It is a lifestyle of simply receiving!
As to Jas 2:18:
Faith never saved anyone or ever kepted anyone saved. It is ALL OF GRACE.