In the spirit of the Protestant Reformation, I believe that salvation is by faith alone. So much is added to this simple creed! However, salvation is something we receive, and faith is the means by which we receive it. There's no pre-conditions that we must meet to receive salvation by faith alone and faith is not a work that we do to merit salvation. Karl Barth expresses this radical truth in the Church Dogmatics, and I encountered this helpful example from Barth that encouraged me, and I hope it encourages you as well:
Of the Reformers Calvin made this distinction with particular sharpness. Faith as such cannot contribute anything to our justification: "bringing nothing of our own to procure the grace of God" (Inst. III, 13, 5). It is not a "disposition" (habitus). It is not a quality of grace which is infused into man (on Gal. 3:6; C.R. 50, 205). "Faith does not justify by virtue of being a work which we do." If we believe, we come to God quite empty (vuides), "not bringing to God any dignity or merit." God has to close His eyes to the feebleness of our faith, as indeed He does. He does not justify us "on account of some excellence with it has in itself", but "on the basis that it lacks"; only in virtue of what it lacks as a human work does He justify man (Serm. on Gen. 15; C.R. 23, 722 f.).
Karl Barth. Church Dogmatics: The Doctrine of Reconciliation, Vol IV/1. trans. G. W. Bromiley, T.F. Torrance. London: T&T Clark. 2010 p. 102 [p. 617]
Related: Church Dogmatics, Karl Barth, salvation by faith alone