As I see it, there are basically two different kinds, or categories, of faith: saving faith and Christian living faith; that is, faith to be saved and faith to live as a Christian. These are found in my book Principles of Prayer.
1. Saving faith. In Ephesians 2:8-9 Paul said, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God…” Here we see that our salvation is a gift from God. It is totally a gift. We did nothing. That means that our faith was a gift too. He gave us faith to believe, which resulted in our salvation. What a great gift!
2. Faith to live the Christian life. Every part of the Christian life, if you live as a Christian, is a life of faith. As Paul said in Galatians 2:20, we live in the flesh, but we are to live by faith in the Son of God. In Romans 1:17 Paul tells us that the righteous (that’s a Christian) shall live by faith.
In the Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus preached on worry, at one point he said to His disciples, “O you of little faith” (Matt. 6:30). He was telling them that because they lacked faith to trust God for all the little things they needed in life, they end up worrying about it. Worry is always due to a lack of faith. But if we trust Him He will surely provide for us and keep us from worry. For he has promised, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst” (Jn. 6:35).
The Bible tells us, “…he who comes to God [in prayer] must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6). If we pray according to a promise He gives us, or according to evidence He places in our heart that the thing we pray for is in His will, we can believe without a doubt that He will give it to us. But the key is that we must pray believing that we will receive what we ask for. For even if we have the evidence that it is His will and we don’t have faith to receive it, our prayers will be useless and empty. Jesus says to us, “Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them” (Mk. 11:24).
The apostle Paul has declared, “The righteous shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:17). Faith is so important; it is absolutely necessary if we want to live righteously. In fact, without faith we sin. John R. Rice writes, “If ‘without faith it is impossible to please God,’ then unbelief is displeasing to God and is sin. If Jesus commanded, ‘have faith in God,’ then one who does not have faith in God is disobedient and rebellious.”
E. M. Bounds has written, “Faith is the foundation of Christian character and the security of the soul.” Bounds also makes note from 2 Peter 1:5-11 that faith is the basis and the starting point of all the other graces of the Spirit. Hence, I think it is safe to say that from faith is built all things in the Christian life. We can not live a Christian life at all without it.