When a publishing company asked me to write an endorsement for a new book, I said I’d be glad to. It appeared to be a helpful effort directed to young people, challenging them to live for God in a changing world. But as I read the book, something troubled me. Although it had lots of Scripture and great spiritual advice, it didn’t explain that the starting point for any relationship with God is salvation through Jesus Christ.

The writer seemed to imply that the essence of living spiritually in modern society is based totally on action—good deeds—and not on saving faith in Christ. I didn’t write the endorsement.

The culture of the church is changing rapidly. Often left behind in the rush to find exciting new ideas is the essential nature of the gospel. The apostle Paul was astonished that people so readily embraced a “different gospel” (Gal. 1:6). What he preached was not from man, but a direct revelation from Jesus Himself (vv.11-12).

We must never let go of that true gospel: Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again for our justification, declaring us righteous before God (Rom. 4:25; 1 Cor. 15:3-4). This alone offers the “power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16). If we want to live for God, this is the only place to start.