Faith must be the first principle in revealed religion. As soon as truth is revealed and proclaimed, men are to adhere to it by acquiring faith in this revealed truth.
With no such faith there can be no righteousness. Thus, it is also the very foundation of righteousness. Acts that looks like righteous acts will not be rewarded as righteous if the motivating factor behind them is anything but faith, exercised in free agency.
1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).
From this we learn that faith is the assurance which men have of the existence of things which they have not seen. This assurance is sent by God to the individual through the Holy Spirit, and it is the result that comes from asking God for a witness of the truth.
Faith is the principle of action in all intelligent beings. And as it is the moving cause of all action in temporal concerns, so it is in spiritual. An example of faith in temporal things is when the farmer prepares the soil for planting, and then throws seeds into the ground, whereupon he waters the fields and gives them proper nourishment. All this work, filled with faith that comes fall, he will have a crop to bring home.
Faith is also a principle of power. When Jesus created the universe he commanded the elements, filled with faith that they would obey him then, and forever. In that, and every other situation where the outcome of an action is critical, it is important to differentiate “faith” from “hope”. “Take up thy bed and walk into thine house” would have been something of a fiasco if Jesus would not have had the power of faith. The same would have been true with every act of power that have accompanied the apostles and prophets ever since.
Faith, then, is the first great governing principle which has power, dominion, and authority over all things; by it they exist, by it they are upheld, by it they are changed, or by it they remain, agreeable to the will of God. Without it there is no power, and without power there could be neither creation nor existence
Faith unto life and salvation centers in Christ. There is no salvation in that general principle of faith alone, that moving cause of action, which causes the farmer to plant his seed with the unseen hope that it will bear grain. But there is faith unto salvation when Christ is the focal point in which the unseen hope centers.