What kind of faith? At least three different kinds of faith are distinguished in the scriptures: there is demonic faith, dead faith, and living faith.
Demonic faith: James 2:19
"You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believeand tremble!"
Dead faith:James 2:17
"Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead."
"But wilt thou know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?"
"For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."
Then there is living Faith: the faith that incorporates us into Christ in all things. We come to think with the mind of Christ, to love with the heart of Christ, to "be conformed" to Christ, to be "transformed" by the renewal of our minds in Christ, to do the works of Christ --- indeed, He says even greater works:
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father."
And this, finally, is the basis of judgment:
For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.
And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.
But would you set Paul against Paul? Paul asserts Romans 2:6-8 that good works are necessary for attaining eternal life, however little or much we may be capable of doing: "For he will render to every man according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury."
What exactly did Paul mean, then, when he said we are "justified by faith apart from works of law?"
Note the exact phrase he uses: "works of the Law." What Law? Well, note whom he was speaking: to the "Judaizers," who taught that we all must keep the Mosaic Law, not "getting" that the Mosaic Law has been superseded in Christ (Hebrews 7:11-12).
The Judaizers taught, as well, that Christian men must circumcised in order to be saved (cf. Acts 15:1-2). And that they must keep kosher. And that the Gentiles must all, in effect, become Torah Jews. They were wrong. And Paul had to correct them very firmly on this point.
Paul had these Judaizers in mind when he wrote in Romans 2:28-29, "For he is not a real Jew who is one outwardly, nor is true circumcision something external and physical. He is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart, spiritual and not literal . . . " Paul told us in Colossians 2:11-12 that this true "circumcision of Christ" is baptism.
So Paul was refuting the need for the Mosaic Law --- the old system of circumcision, the bloody sacrifice of bullocks, sheep and goats, the ritual dietary and "separateness" code which required Jews never to intermarry with Gentiles, eat like Gentiles, dress like Gentiles, or even enter a Gentile's house --- this is what Paul is referring to as "works of the Law."
But Paul, like Jesus Himself, says that we must have that living faith, that loving faith, that incorporates us into Christ. And all the many "imperatives" of Scripture make sense. They fall into place. They draw a fuller and fuller picture of what it is to be incorporated into Christ. It means nothing less than to become members of His Body.
Briefly, all of the commands of the whole of Scripture are meaningless if God does not actually require us to "Repent," "Choose", "Obey," "Come," "Love," "Follow", "Keep the commandments," "Have Faith," "Take and eat," "Take and drink," "Do this," "Watch," "Pray," "Work," and all those other imperative verbs of which I could find dozens.
It's all about incorporation into Christ, being one Body, and that Body is Christ. That is the only way we can be saved. It's the only way you and I could ever be safe.
And this is not just "any" faith, not the loveless faith of demons or the dead faith without works. This the living, loving, hoping, choosing, working Faith --- Lord, give us evermore this Faith! --- which saves.