If people believe in God but don’t live the right way, do they still go to heaven?
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
Indeed someone may say, “You have faith and I have works.” Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works. You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe that and tremble.
…For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
- James 2:14-19, 26
For he will render to every man according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury.
Faith requires that it be lived, otherwise its not really faith. If I say I believe something but then do something that is the opposite, what kind of faith did I really have?
However, we are also sinners. We sometimes do things that we *know *are wrong. Due to Original Sin we suffer from disordered inclinations and desires and sometimes even when we know they’re wrong we make the wrong choice. In those times we need to repent of our wrong choices and make a commitment to try to live better.
And even when someone truly has great faith in God, he may be confused about what really is the right way to live. The individual may truly believe he is living the right way but in reality is not, this is what we call “invincible ignorance.” Such individuals would have lived differently had they known the truth.
So its not really as simple as believing in God and doing the right thing, our faith must be sincere and our intentions honestly good.