Protestants: can you explain what justification by faith alone means as it relates to repentance?

Generally speaking Protestants will say that someone needs to repent of their sins and believe in Jesus to be saved and have eternal life. They will also affirm 'sola fide,' or justification by faith alone. This is what confuses me. They will say that hte basis of your salvation is not works, and yet... show more Generally speaking Protestants will say that someone needs to repent of their sins and believe in Jesus to be saved and have eternal life. They will also affirm 'sola fide,' or justification by faith alone. This is what confuses me. They will say that hte basis of your salvation is not works, and yet repentance is necessary for salvation.

According to the Bible in James 4:17 knowing the right thing to do - or a good work - and failing to do it is a sin. So to repent of that sin is to do good works, and repentance is seen as part of what is necessary for salvation.

So if repentance is necessary for salvation, and repentance must consist of good works, then how can salvation be based on faith alone and not of good works?

The Catholic position just makes so much more sense on this. Faith and works can't be separated.
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