Regarding the title: In the IT world, there’s the famous differentiation between free software (“free, as in freedom”) and freeware (“free, as in free beer”). Using that as an analogy: it seems that Christians are not really of one accord when it comes to the meaning of “faith”. Some think of it as “faith, as in believing”, and some as “faith, as in faitful”. Let me call these groups the “believers” and the “faithful”, and their occupation “believing” and “being faithful”.
Believers think of believing as the fundamentalist activity of thinking something is true, without fact-level confirmation, just based on an axiom. The faithful think of being faithful as the state of being “on God’s side”, even though the truth about God is not as obvious as one wishes it to be, and even though everything is in a mess, seeming to consist of doubts, strange occurrences and spiritual fights only.
What’s in the Bible regarding “believing or being faithful”? Without going into the details: there are plenty of people who failed in their activity of believing, but were still on God’s side. Abraham. Jakob. David. Asaph. Moses. Aaron. Eli. …
Now, with respect to my notes on humanities-level believing and fact-level believing I’d say: yes, the reports about the Gospels (and other humanities-based investigations) give reason to be faithful. But they don’t justify the fundamentalist activity of being sure beyond any doubt. Now, accepting that reason and starting to be “faithful” to God, makes one ask if there’s reason to be more sure about what one believes about God. That is, facts. Ok then, welcome to the search for them (in my case I call it Xpedition “Second Acts”). That search is about “looking deeper”: testing the reports, relating reports to what one expects from the current reality because of them … .
But remember, regardless of the status and outcome of this search, there’s reason to be faithful to God. That’s good news, as without that we’d be without any justified hope, near to psychogene death.