"This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent." - John 6:29
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing. It is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast." --Ephesians 2:8, 9
There's no merit in faith.
So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. --Romans 11:5,6
If we say we're inherently better that others because we believe the Lord, then we think faith is meritorious, and we're wrong.
If we think faith is not a gift, that doesn't necessarily mean we think it's meritorious.
(Scripture quotes from ESV)
The grammar of Ephesians 2:8-9 doesn't say directly that faith is a gift. It says that being-saved-by-grace-through-faith is a gift. So, is the faith itself a gift, or isn't it? I don't think that's as clear as some would say. If faith isn't a gift, then it's merely the non-meritorious way of accepting a gift. Either way, we would not believe unless the Lord had chosen us and called us.
How are we saved? By God's grace. How do we receive and experience that grace? By faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.