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Our readers asked:

Does Having Faith Mean You Will Go to Heaven?

Richard G. Malloy, SJ Answers:

Dave Fleming, S.J, transposed St. Ignatius’ Principle and Foundation of the Spiritual Exercises into 21st century language. “The Goal of our life is to live with God forever. God, who loves us, gave us life. Our own response of love allows God’s life to flow into us without limit.”

Faith is a gift given us. Faith is “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen” (Heb. 11:1). We believe that God became what we are so we can become what God is. That’s not some Jesuit’s wild twist on theology. That’s St. Athanasius in the third century (CCC #460).

So, the answer to the question rests on what “having faith” means. Faith is not a thing one has; faith is a relationship one lives. A relationship between a free person and a loving God mediated to us through the experiences and people in our lives. The church is the community that joins those who live these relationships based on, and energized by, faith.

Faith is ultimately the trust and hope that the God who loves us, the God who sustains our very existence every minute of our lives, will continue to cause us to exist when we die and move beyond this present life. I Tim 2:4 teaches that “God desires the universal salvation of all.” The promise is that we will be transformed in Christ and become able to live in and with God forever.

The Author : Richard G. Malloy, SJ
Richard G. Malloy, S.J., Ph.D., is Vice President for University Ministries, the University of Scranton, Scranton, PA, and author of A Faith That Frees (Orbis Books).
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Lawrence

    John 14:6 Good works while in itself is a great thing has nothing to do with the Love of God. God loves us as we are, we cannot to anything extra to make his love greater. Faith we do need, because without it we will question everything abiut our lord.

  • Nick Russo

    Separating faith and good works isn’t possible. If I care for a sick person by thinking, “it would be good if she were healed,” or address the needs of the hungry by telling them “what you need is food,” they won’t benefit, and neither will I. If faith is a relationship with God, “mediated to us through the experiences and people in our lives,” our behavior during those experiences, and our treatment of those people, will define the quality of that relationship. I would say then, that having faith means you do good works.

    • Mike

      yes you can, you can still be a good person and do nice things for others and not be a selfish person and still say you do not believe in Jesus.

      to them they do not go to heaven.

      what was meant by that was to say I beleive in Jesus then do not do good works. to them that makes them a hypcrite and they too do not go to Heaven.

  • lynnelmiller

    didn’t really answer the question. my understanding is that both faith and good works are required.

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