The word Gospel simply means Good News. For something to be good however, there must be the possibility of bad as well. Good and bad are words that are used to describe something relative to a standard. In the case of the Gospel, the standard is God's word, and therefore it is a permanent standard. He has given us "good" news only because he has first given us "bad" news.
Let me illustrate:
Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever stolen something? Have you ever looked upon another person with lust? Have you ever used God’s name in an inappropriate way?
If you answered YES to any of those questions, the following is true for you.
You have broken the law of Almighty God.
Some day you will stand before God, and He will act as your judge.
Since you have broken God’s law, He will find you guilty of your crimes.
For justice to be satisfied, your crime must be punished.
The penalty for breaking the law of God is eternal separation from God. It is eternal because you are forever unable to pay the penalty for your crime. The destination is a place of eternal pain and torment (Hell).
That is very bad news. So what is the good news?
The Good News is that there is a way to be saved from His wrath. It is not hopeless!
Some 2,000 years ago, God caused a young virgin in Israel to become pregnant, and she gave birth to a boy named Jesus. (This is why Jesus is called the Son of God)
Jesus has always existed, but not in the form of a man. The Bible reveals to us that God exists in three persons: Father, Son, & Spirit. This is commonly called the Trinity (three in unity).
Although He was fully God, He was fully human as well. This made it possible to relate to all mankind on our own terms.
Jesus lived a sinless life, though He was tempted to sin in every way that the rest of mankind has been tempted.
He taught that the way to inherit everlasting life (to know God…forever) was to repent of your sins and follow Him (trust in Him).
Jesus was beaten, whipped, and finally hung on a Roman cross to die, although there was no fault found with Him.
Death could not hold Jesus, for He conquered death when He was raised back to life by God. Jesus came back to life three days after His death. He showed Himself to hundreds of people following His resurrection.
He then gave His disciples the commission to spread the Gospel (Good News) throughout the world.
The ‘Good News’ is that Jesus died in our place. He took on the punishment from God that all mankind deserved. The righteousness Jesus earned by his perfect life can be credited to our account. Likewise, the wrath of God that we have earned by our sinful life was applied to Jesus.
God therefore is shown be both just, and the one who justifies. He is just in that although he gives forgiveness of sins, those sins do not go unpunished.
What then must you do to be saved?
First, you must recognize that you are a sinner. You must see that you have offended God by rebelling against His law.
You must repent of your sins. (to repent is to do an “about-face” (from sin...toward God))
You must believe that Jesus' death took care of your sin problem. That is, God's punishment for your sins was satisfied on Jesus.
You must receive Him as Lord (Master) of your life.
The Bible says that we are slaves to sin. You must no longer be a servant of Satan, but a servant of God.
You will no longer be free to do as you wish, but will be bound to follow the commands of God.
All of your sins: past, present, and future will be covered by Jesus' sacrifice.
This doesn’t give you freedom to carry on in a sinful life, for that would mean that you have not made Jesus Lord over your life. But when you sin, you must confess it to God and He will forgive you.
You will be a child of God, and God will no longer see you as a lawbreaker, but as righteous.
The righteousness that Jesus earned by his life of obedience is imputed (credited) to you, though you did not earn it.
Repent today. Bow before the King in humility. Experience the pardon and freedom that only come through Jesus Christ.
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. ~John 3:16-18