According to the Pauline version of Christianity (as interpreted by many in the "Religious Right" today), faith in Jesus is all that is needed. While according to Jesus and the Ebionites (the Original Apostles and their followers), living a good life (works) is the key.

From Paul we hear:
Rom 10:13
13 ...Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

But Jesus states:
Matt 7:21
21 Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Or as James (the brother of Jesus and the leader of the Ebionites) put it:
James 2:26
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Now, the "Religious Right" will counter with quotes from Paul's letters or--most famously--John 3:16, which they claim as proof that the way to get to Heaven is through faith in Jesus rather than works:

John 3:16
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

I could point out that Paul never met the historical Jesus and that the Gospel of John was written decades after the death of Jesus and was, therefore, the one that was most influenced by the teachings of Paul. However, I don't need to do that because Jesus--in very straightforward language--settles the argument for me.

Jesus' emphasis on works as the route to heaven (rather than faith in Jesus) is found in one of the most well known but probably least understood portions of the New Testament. That is the story of the "Good Samaritan." Over the years, the term "Good Samaritan" has become so watered down that the original moral message of the story has been lost to many people. "Good Samaritan" has come to be applied to anyone who does a good deed. There are even "Good Sam" clubs that are organized to help fellow travelers. What has been forgotten by most people over the years is the fact that the Jews (and the lawyer that Jesus was talking to was a Jew) hated the Samaritans! It was not merely a stranger that helped the injured man after pious members of the lawyers own religion ignored him (a priest and a Levite). It was a SAMARITAN!! A follower of a false religion; a person that most Jews would have nothing to do with; a SAMARITAN!!

In Jesus' time, this must have been a real shocker! The impact would have been similar to Jesus today telling a Fundamentalist Christian the story of the "Good Muslim" or the "Good Mormon" or even (gasp!), "The Good Atheist." With this in mind, let's look at the story of "The Good Samaritan":
Luke 10:25-37
25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?

37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. (KJV)

"Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" What a find! A clear cut question that received a clear cut answer. No mysteries, no need to search for hidden meaning (even though some religious leaders today, who must know better, seem unwilling to point this out), just a straightforward answer to the age old question of works vs. faith!
"Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"

There are many answers that Jesus could have given to this question.

He could have said:
"You shall accept me as your personal Lord and Savior!"

But he didn't say that.

He could have said:
"Believe in me, for I will be a sacrifice that will take away all of your sins!"

But he didn't say that.

He could have said:
"Have faith in me, for my death will allow all those who believe in me to enter into eternal life!"

But he didn't say that.

What he did say was that you should love God and love your neighbor!

The lawyer then asks a question that leads to a definitive answer to the question of "Works vs. Faith."

The lawyer asks:
"And who is my neighbour?"

"And who is my neighbor?" I may never tell another lawyer joke! This simple question leads us to the most definitive answer possible, and it comes directly from Jesus.

Now, Jesus could have said:
"Your neighbor is he who shares your faith in me!"

But he didn't say that.

He could have said:
"Your neighbor is he who shares your religious views!"

But he didn't say that.

He could have said:
"Your neighbor is anyone you like and respect!"

But he didn't say that.

What he did say, was that the lawyer answered correctly when he said that the neighbor was:
"He that shewed mercy on him."

Not the people of FAITH (the priest and the Levite), but the person of WORKS (who showed love and kindness to his fellow human being). And this person was not even a person who did his Works because of his Faith, he was, rather, a non-believer; a Samaritan!

Jesus then gives a very straightforward instruction to the lawyer who has asked how to get to Heaven:
"Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. "

"GO, AND DO THOU LIKEWISE."!! What a wondrous instruction! Even an old "heathen" like myself can add a hearty, AMEN!