Living Faith vs. Dead Faith


I have heard from Protestant radio programs the following question addressed to Christians which don’t hold to “saved by faith alone”.
“How many good works are needed to get to heaven?”

St. Paul tells us that we are saved by faith apart from works of the law, and St. James tells us that we need a ‘living’ or ‘saving’ faith as opposed to a ‘dead’ faith.

I would assume that the ‘living’ faith would be evident because ‘good works’ flow from it.

My question is will you go to heaven with a dead faith, and if not, then how many good works need to be evident for your faith to be considered a ‘living’, or ‘saving’ faith?


And what about babies that can’t do any good works, or even have the intention to do a good work?



Yes, babies and severely retarded people who can’t reason.
But I think that is a different discussion, because this is for those who can reason their faith.
To me, the question that the ‘faith alone’ crowd would ask, is about the same as my question. Just the semantics are different.


Just read Matthew 25, beginning at verse 31. You do what Jesus said as best you can and throw yourself on His mercy.


How many good works are needed to get into heaven?

How much contrition is needed to obtain God’s forgiveness?

How much grace is needed to get to heaven?

Who knows? Who cares? I am working out my salvation in fear and trembling, and I don’t want to do the bare minimum. In fact, the love of God should be a driving force to do all that is in your being to serve God and others.


We are saved by grace. (A Catholic would make the distinction that we need sanctifying grace to enter heaven.)

It would be presumptuous to either rely on a single one-time act of faith, or to rely on any number of good works, to guarantee entry into heaven.

You can’t just do something once (act of faith) or do something often (good works) and think, OK, I’ve met the standard, now I’m in.

Like St. Paul, one must persevere to the end.


Mark 19: "Keep the Commandments if you would have eternal life.’

Doesn’t say believe in them, doesn’t say have faith in them, says keep them.

This isn’t American Express Reward Points.

Remember the Good Samaritan. Why do you think Christ’s parable concerned a people anathemic to the Jews of his day and not The Good Pharisee nor the Good Saducee?

We are called upon not simply to wait around for the next world, but to make this one better.

Christians who view works through the selfish lens of “jewels in the crown” imperil their salvation.


Among us protestants “dead faith” is simply head knowledge or simply saying I agree that the gospel is true.

The man on the cross with Jesus perform at least one good work by rebuking the other man who was being negitive.

We believe that living faith is ongoing everyday.

Jesus is the vine and we are the branches, as branches in the vine we must bear good fruit ( works ) we can not help but do otherwise.

So, check out Gal 5, 2 Peter 1 to see the fruits of the spirit in a christians’ life.


Jesus said that anyone who does not eat His flesh or drink His blood has no life in them.

That sounds like pretty dead faith to me.


Very, very good point, thanks for providing that for us. How many of us in our self indulgent society want to know what is the minimum I can do to get what ever, so I’ll do that and maybe just a little more and “just get by”. I have heard folks say that if we don’t have very many works as a result of our faith we won’t get a very good reward in heaven and will be in a lower mansion. What dangerous thinking! We either love and follow God through Jesus, or we don’t. Our faith is a lifelong committment, and requires effort on our part, not just intellect. God provides the grace and we must accept and act upon that grace or gift from God to our best ability. It’s just that simple. When we fail Him we seek forgivness, get back up and continue until we get to heaven where faith will become knowledge.

Peace to all


I agree with Daniel on this one.

Although we can never know who is and isnt truly saved, the way I see more evidence is how a person acts and if it is consistent with God’s Word. Such as, are they walking the walk in church and outside of church in their community.Do they stand up for Christ or just go along with the crowd. I know many people who go to church every Sunday(almost)(prot and cath’s) and then the comments that come out of their mouths:eek: Like, abortion is ok under some circumstances, or any religion is ok, as long as I am a good person Im going to heaven/ I dont think God really sends people to hell. I guess what I may be seeing is relativism(:confused: )

When I see someone do the right thing with humility and it costs them something but they dont care because they know it made Jesus happy.:thumbsup: I believe these can be outward signs. Also do these people exhibit Galations 5:22–26.

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.


Sorry, dont mean to shout, but I feel very strongly about my statement. I for one find it very difficult to be gentle and can only do it when I ask God for help.:smiley:

I also think that if you are fortunate enough to see someone come to Christ and then see them change over time–will prove to you that that person has Christ in them. People who knew me BC(before Christ)and still know me ask me why I am different and I tell them Christ is why I am different. AMEN!!!

It is probably easier to tell if you saw someone go through the spritual change then if you are just getting to know them and didnt know them BC.:shrug:


I would like to define it differently.
**Living Faith **is that faith which provides Claim supported with **straight passages **on every religious issue from the revealed Book it belives in, and it also provides gist of Reason also from the Revealed Book. Any faith that does not provide Claim and Reason from its Revealed Book is a Dead Faith.


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