The word "gospel" comes from two Old English words meaning "God's Story." Gospel is the word most often used to translate the Greek word "evangelion," which simply means "good news."
The gospel is the good news of God's story. So, what is God's story?
God the Creator
Genesis 1-2, Psalm 89, Revelation 4
The One True God of the Bible has always been and will always be the One True God. God has always existed as God, and will continue that way for eternity. In the beginning, before anything else existed, God created everything out of nothing by His word. From the smallest molecule to the galaxies that we may never even know exist - God created it. This includes you and I.
God created natural laws. The boundaries within which the universe exists were placed by the Creator. In the same way, God created laws for humans. He placed boundaries within which we are to live and breathe. As our Creator, God has every right to do this. He created us with purpose, and that purpose is to love, serve, and enjoy a relationship with our Creator.
God is also perfectly holy. The word "holy" means "set apart." God is pure and blameless in a way that you and I could never imagine, and He hates all sin and evil that departs from His good design.
Man the Sinner
Romans 5, 2 Thessalonians 1, 1 John 1
Instead of fulfilling our purpose of loving, serving, and enjoying a relationship with our Creator, we have all rebelled against Him. the Bible calls this "sin." The Greek word for "sin" was an archery term that meant "to miss the mark." Anything less than bullseye is sin. In our lives, anything less than God's perfect standard is sin. The Bible says in Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
God is a holy and righteous judge who is perfectly just. We would expect a human judge to be just and punish wrongdoing appropriately. If a human judge who is flawed by sin should be expected to judge appropriately, then much more so should a perfectly righteous God.
Our sin is an offense to God's holiness, all people deserve punishment because of it. This isn't a parent or a teacher or a governmental authority that we've rebelled against; it is the King of the universe. As such, that punishment is eternal death and the wrath of God in hell. As in all crimes, the punishment fits the value of that which the crime was committed against.
Jesus the Savior
John 10, Matthew 28, Acts 4
Here's the good news: The One True God became a man in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus lived a perfect life and was executed on a cross even though He was completely innocent. By dying on the cross, Jesus paid the debt that you and I owe. God does not simply "erase" sin. Rather, he dispensed the punishment for sin upon Himself. It's as if someone murdered your family and you willingly took the death penalty upon yourself and allowed them to walk free. This is the radical and merciful love of a holy and righteous God.
The story doesn't end there. Three days after being crucified, Jesus rose from the dead. In doing this, Jesus proved that He was God. He proved that He had authority over sin and death. And He gave us a picture of what Christians have to look forward to one day - eternal life in a right relationship with the Creator.
Repentance and Faith
John 3, Acts 17, Ephesians 2
Because of Jesus' death and resurrection you and I have the opportunity to be justified, or made right, before God. Our sin must be paid for. If we trust in Jesus Christ, then we trust that His death paid for it.
God commands us to repent, or turn away from our sin, and trust in Jesus Christ alone for our salvation. Salvation is a free gift by God's grace. You and I could never earn it - the cost is too high and God's holy standard is too far out of our reach.
But the cost was not too high for Jesus Christ. He paid the price with His own blood. God's holy standard was not too far out of His reach. He lived up to it perfectly.
The Bible says if we turn from our sin and turn to Jesus, we will be saved.
Will you do this?