You may have heard someone refer to the “gospel.” Maybe you heard about the Gospels of Matthew, Mark Luke and John. The Lord Jesus also preached the gospel in Mark 1:14-15, “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”
So, what is the gospel?
The word “gospel” means “the good news.” In short, the good news is that Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, willingly gave Himself and died on a cross for sinners, as their substitute. He rose again three days later (He’s alive!) and because of the blood He shed, sinners may now be saved! When referring to the Gospel of Matthew (for example), it is the good news of what the Lord Jesus Christ did for sinners, as recorded by the disciple Matthew.
That is the short version of what the gospel is. The longer version is this:
God is perfect. He is flawless. He is completely Holy. There is no sin in Him. His goodness includes justice. If He were not just, He would not be good, but He is. His justice requires punishment for sin. The punishment for sin is eternal death in hell for eternity.
We are all born with a sin nature. We are condemned already (John 3:18). We choose to sin and we choose to keep on sinning against our Holy God. Our hearts are desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). We are completely separated from God (Isaiah 59:2). We all deserve hell and all who die in their sin will go to hell because God is good and we are bad.
We have a big problem. We are completely helpless to save ourselves! We are just like Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son (in 2 Samuel 9) in the Old Testament who couldn’t even walk. He was completely reliant upon others to provide for him.
There is absolutely nothing that we can offer God in exchange for salvation from the penalty of sin (hell). We’ve already blown it. We’re condemned sinners! The judgement has already been made. The Judge has ruled righteously. Our crimes have been laid out before Him and He has ruled rightly. If we are to be saved, and the ruling to be reversed, it will have to be a free gift.
Fortunately, God loves us and doesn’t want anyone to go to hell (2 Peter 3:9)! That’s why He became flesh, in the Person of Jesus of Nazareth, lived a perfect life (without sin) and willingly died as our substitute.
God’s holiness demands perfection and Jesus Christ is perfect! He is the only one who qualifies to be our substitute! Now, if we will agree with God that we are condemned sinners, and put our trust in Jesus Christ, we can be saved! Because the Lord Jesus Christ was sinless and He died on that cross, God can remain perfectly holy and just, while forgiving wicked sinners like you and me!
THAT is the good news! Sinners who deserve hell, can be saved! That is the gospel.
Are you saved? Get honest with God. Admit in your heart (not just your head) that you are a sinner. Admit that you fall short and that you deserve His holy wrath. Then transfer your trust from yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ who died in your place! If you were the only person on earth, He would have died for you! He loves you very much, but you must come to Him on His terms because your sin has separated you from Him. Repent of your sin, agree with Him and trust in Jesus Christ alone!