Before we answer the question “what is the Gospel?’ there are some questions you might want to consider first. Do you know yourself to be a guilty sinner who justly deserves God’s punishment? Let me explain. Have you ever broken God’s Law (Commandments)? If you are not sure just ask yourself the following questions: have I ever lied? Have I ever taken something that didn’t belong to me? Have I ever hated someone? Have I ever lusted after another person? Have I ever taken God’s name in vain? You see, most people who are trying to make an honest assessment of their lives would have to answer yes to all those questions. And this is precisely our problem. We are all guilty of breaking God’s Law in action, thought and motive and God, who is the Holy Creator and Sustainer of your life, has every right to condemn you “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23 [you are not the exception]… whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it…” James 2:10 [God requires perfection]… and “the wages of sin is death…” Romans 6:23 [that’s what we actually deserve]. Why is important to know all this? Because the Gospel is for sinners! If that’s you, please keep reading.
So, what is the Gospel? Some questions are difficult to answer. Thankfully, this one is not among them. The Bible gives us a very clear, simple and yet profound answer. The apostle Paul wrote “Now, I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you… that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…” 1 Corinthians 15:1, 2, 4.
In short, the Gospel is the Good News (literally!) that "Christ Jesus came into the world to save [guess who?] sinners…" 1 Timothy 1:15, both from sin’s present power and eternal consequences, and to give them the hope of reconciliation with God and everlasting life through his own sinless (perfect) life, his death on the cross, and his glorious resurrection. In other words, the Gospel is the declaration that God did something amazing in human history to save guilty sinners from the condemnation wrought by their disobedience to God and his commandments (which started with the first man, Adam). The key point to understand is this: that “when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son…to redeem…” Galatians 4:4, 5. Elsewhere the Bible says “For God so loved the world that he sent his only Son…” John 3:16. Notice who performed the action in every instance: God!
Therefore, the Gospel does NOT say “this is what you must do to be saved from your sins and hell.” No. The true Gospel says that what guilty sinners need in order to be forgiven of their sins, reconciled to God and given eternal life has already been done by God himself in the person of Jesus Christ. False religions say: “do this…” The Gospel says “it’s done!” And this is why the word Gospel literally means Good News. The Gospel is the Good News that guilty sinners can “have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” Romans 5:1. Why through Jesus? Because “Christ died for our sins… [and] he was raised on the third day.” Jesus received on himself “the wages of [your and my] sin…” namely, “…death.” Jesus took our place. He died on our behalf. The righteous wrath of God was poured out on his own Son, Jesus Christ. But, he did not stay dead. He broke the power of sin, death and hell through his resurrection. And he lives forevermore!
The question is do you want peace with God? Are you in need of grace? Are you in need of salvation? Then the Bible says that what you need is “repentance toward God and…faith in the Lord Jesus Christ” Acts 20:21. Repentance and faith. To repent means to realize that you have sinned against God and to turn away from your sins. The Bible puts it like this: “Let the thief no longer steal…” (Ephesians 4:28). To repent then is to “no longer…”
And to believe (faith) is to trust that Jesus can save you through his life, death and resurrection; to believe is to embrace all of Jesus with all your being. When you believe in Jesus you stop trying to be good enough and realize that Jesus is more than good enough to save you. The Bible says “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). The work is done. Salvation has been accomplished by Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The question is:
Will you repent and believe today?