What is the gospel?

You might have heard that the word “gospel” means “good news.” And indeed it does. But in
order to understand the “good news,” one must first understand the bad news.

The bad news begins in Genesis. When Adam, the first man, sinned, death and the curse entered this world as a consequence. Since we’re all descendants of Adam, we all inherited his legacy of sin and death. Every one of us is a sinner by nature and by choice, in glad rebellion against our Creator.

Romans 3:23 puts it like this: “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” You might object and say, “I’m a pretty good person.” But good according to whom? God’s standard for goodness, and thus His requirement to get into His Heaven, is absolute
perfection, never breaking any of His laws your entire life, not even once. Just a quick look at the Ten Commandments reveals our extreme imperfection. It is safe to say anyone who is reading this has been involved in sin against God, whether they realize it or not.

Many have surely told numerous lies, stolen something (physical or something immaterial, like reputation or innocence), disrespected parents (to their face or behind their back), worshipped an idol (God wasn’t first in your life), coveted something, taken God’s name in vain, committed sexual activity outside of marriage, etc. And that’s not even all the Ten Commandments!
On top of this, God requires that all of our thoughts and motives be holy and perfect our whole lives. Never a selfish, lustful, hateful, prideful thought, or motive. The list could go on, but that’s enough to make any honest person say, “Besides Jesus, no one could do this!”

And that’s the point — we all fall short. That’s the bad news.
Some would then argue, “But God is loving. He wouldn’t send me to hell.” God is loving; He is the source of all love (1 John 4:7–8). And in His perfect love, He is a perfect and just judge (Psalm 9:8, 11:7, 96:13, Romans 2:16, Revelation 20:11–15). And any just judge will not allow the guilty to go free. And we are all guilty. The bad news just got worst.
But that’s why the “good news” is so good! In His love for us, God became flesh, lived a perfect life, died on the cross for our sins as a perfect sacrifice, paid the infinite price we could never pay by taking the wrath of God we deserve, and rose again, defeating death once and for all (1 John 4:9–10; Romans 5:14–19)! The Bible says that while we were still sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8) and that anyone who would repent of (turn away from) their sins, confess Jesus as Lord (God, King), and believe that God raised Him from the dead will be saved (John 3:16; Romans 10:9)!

Salvation cannot be earned by “works”; it is the free gift of God to all who believe (Ephesians 2:8–9). And that truly is good news!