The Teachings of

Zane Hodges, Joseph Dillow, Robert Wilkin
(The Grace Evangelical Society)

and the extreme teachings of J. D. Faust

Can A Saved Person Have a Dead Faith?


"What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also" (James 2:14,17,26).

The Teaching of Zane Hodges and Joseph Dillow

The fruitful believer
The partaker or heir
The believing believer
The overcomer

The barren believer
The carnal one (non-heir)
The saved person who stops believing
The non-overcomer

This believer is fruitful unto every good work. His faith is not a dead faith. His faith is accompanied by good works. It is a living faith.

This is the person who believes in Christ but good works do not follow his justification. The result is that his faith shrivels up and dies. This spiritual impoverishment is considered "death." There is no connection between justification and sanctification at all. Though this person’s faith is "dead," he is nevertheless a saved person.


The true connection between saving faith and good works is found in the following chart:

The Relationship Between

Good Works and Salvation

Salvation is

(Ephesians 2:8-9)

Salvation is

(Ephesians 2:10)

Good works are not the MEANS of salvation (Titus 3:5).

Good works are the RESULT of salvation

(Titus 3:8).

Good works are not the CAUSE of salvation.

Good works are the CONSEQUENCE of salvation.

Good works are not what a person must do to be saved.

"But to him that WORKETH NOT, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Rom. 4:5).

Good works are what a saved person does.

"This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works" (Titus 3:8).

The unsaved person performs good works to try to obtain and merit God's favor.

The saved person performs good works because he has obtained God's favor

(Titus 2:11-14).

(Why do believers perform good works?)

Believers do not work in order to be saved.

Believers work because they are saved!

FLESHLY WORKS: that which an unsaved person tries to produce in order to be saved.

FAITH WORKS: that which God produces in the saved person (Heb. 13:21).

FLESHLY WORKS cannot please God

(Romans 8:8).

FAITH WORKS are pleasing to God

(Hebrews 11:6; 1 Thess. 1:3).

The unsaved boaster: "Look what I have done!" (see Matt. 23:5--"to be seen of men").

The saved person: "Thank you Lord for what You are doing in me" (Phil. 2:13).

The works of an unsaved person are grounds for boasting.

"For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory [boast]; but not before God" (Romans 4:2).

The works of a saved person are cause for praise to God.

"Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God" (Philippians 1:11).

DEAD WORKS (Heb. 6:1; 9:14; Eph. 5:11)

Working apart from God's LIFE. Works produced by the old nature (Gal. 5:19-21)


Works which flow out of a right relationship to the living God.

The unsaved person boasts in SELF ("I")

(Luke 18:11-12).

The saved person boasts in GOD

(1 Corinthians 1:29-31).

A person cannot WORK FOR his salvation (Romans 4:5).

A saved person can WORK OUT the salvation that he has (Phil. 2:12).

EMPTY: "Nothing in my hands I bring; simply to Thy cross I cling."

FULL: "that ye may abound to every good work" (2 Cor. 9:8; 1 Cor. 15:58)

Faith alone saves (Rom. 3:28).

The faith that saves is not alone

(James 2:14,20,22,26).

The error Paul corrected in Romans 3-4:


This is the error of legalism.

The error James corrected in James 2:

Works are unnecessary after we are saved.

This is the error of antinomianism.

You can't be saved by works

(Romans 3:28; 4:6; 2 Tim. 1:9).

You can't show that you are saved without works (James 2:18).

How can I be saved?

ONLY BY FAITH (Eph. 2:8; Gal. 2:16).

How can I show that I am saved?

ONLY BY WORKS (James 2:14-26).

Faith without works is essential for salvation (Galatians 2:16).

Faith without works is detrimental and evidences death (James 2:26).

Faith is the ROOT

(Galatians 5:6).

LOVE (expressed by good works) is the FRUIT (Galatians 5:6,22; Heb. 10:24).

Faith is unseen (even as a root)

Works are visible (Matt. 5:16).

Works are faith made visible (James 2:18).

Good works REJECTED (Matthew 7:22-23).

Good works REMEMBERED (Hebrews 6:10).

The works of an unsaved person will be an issue at the Great White Throne Judgment

(Revelation 20:11-15).

The works of a saved person will be an issue at the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15).

God's message for the unsaved:

"This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent" (John 6:29).

God's message to the saved:

"[God's grace] teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world...a peculiar people, zealous of good works" (Titus 2:11,12,14).

Impossible requirements for the unsaved:

"Run, John, run," the law commands but gives me neither feet nor hands...

Supernatural enabling for the saved:

...far grander news the Gospel brings,

It bids me fly and gives me wings!

              --attributed to John Bunyan


Adding requirements to saving faith. To be saved you must submit, obey, surrender to Christ's Lordship, fulfill the conditions of discipleship, etc.

Insisting that a true believer can be barren and devoid of good works even to the point of totally abandoning the faith and denying Jesus Christ.

I do not work my soul to save--
That my Lord hath done...

...But I would work like any slave
For love of God's dear Son!

For a fuller discussion of James 2 and what it teaches about good works, see Justification by Faith and Justification by Works  For some examples of what other Bible teachers have said about James 2, see What the Older Dispensationalists Taught.   

In studying James 2, it is important to note that the emphasis is on a profession of faith.  "Though a man say he hath faith" (v.14).   There is a big difference between saying that you have faith and actually possessing faith.  And if we are going to prove that we have faith, works must be shown:   "I will show thee my faith by my works" (v.18).   If a person cannot show any works, then it is reasonable to question whether he really has faith.

Next Page

Return to Index Page

The Middletown Bible Church
349 East Street
Middletown, CT 06457
(860) 346-0907

Back to Other Articles on Hodges, Dillow, Wilkin and Faust

Back to Doctrinal Studies
Back to Home Page