Faith and love are so closely allied in the Bible. The just shall live by faith (Gal 3:11). Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11). Awesome faith without love amounts to nothing (I Cor. 13). Salvation is based on faith (John 3:16). Salvation is based on acts of love (Matt 25:31-46). Among those who claim faith, love is paramount (I John 4: 16-21).
As powerful and essential as faith may be, it appears to be invalidated if not practiced in conjunction with love. So what is the proper relationship between faith and love in God's plan? What is this faith that saves us? Some would say it is a faith which compels us to act in obedience to God's commands. I would not argue with that logic. I would suggest that the commandment(s) in question are not those describing necessary church rituals and obligations. When Jesus said that all the law could be summarized in the requirement to love, that seals the deal for me. I conclude that we have faith, i.e. demonstrate faith, when we accept unconditional love as our operating life principle. In this sense, faith also involves a reliance on God alone for our ultimate well-being, either here or in the hereafter. This concept of faith leaves no room for relying, even in part, on my own knowledge or efforts.
Of course, this definition of faith is foreign to most of our religious experience. Just as James stated in his epistle, this type faith is manifested in actions, but not those generally required for church affiliation. Faith is instead shown in our relationship with one another and not with the church or our response to or compliance with its many doctrinal pronouncements. Thus, saving faith is that which causes us to love like God does, a love which can only be seen in how we treat one another. Faith without life alterring love of fellowman, that is not biblical faith as I see it.