WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?
The Gospel is first and foremost a declaration. It is an announcement or proclamation of good news. Specifically, it is the good news that the Holy God, who judges sin and sinners, has made a way for those sinners to be reconciled to Himself for His glory. The only way that this reconciliation can take place is by repenting of sin and believing in the perfectly finished work of Christ on the Cross by His death and resurrection.
The message of the gospel can be explained in four simple words: God. Man. Christ. Response.
God (Romans 1)
God exists, always has and will forever. He is the perfect, righteous, and holy creator of all things. There is nothing made that He did not make. All men are made by Him, owned by Him, dependent upon Him, and therefore held accountable to him.
Man (Romans 2&3)
The problem or “bad news” of the gospel is that all men have rebelled against God. This is sin. The sin of man deserves the eternal wrath and judgement of God. This is important to understand. Why? Without this understanding of sin, the message that “Jesus Christ has come to save sinners!” will not be good news if you do not believe you need saving. All men have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Christ (Romans 3)
The solution to humanity’s sin is the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Here is the heart of the good news! There is a way for sinful human beings to be counted righteous before God instead of unrighteous, to be declared innocent instead of guilty, to be justified instead of condemned. It has nothing to do with acting better or living more righteously (though that will come as a result of salvation). This righteousness comes “apart from the law.” It is only by the blood shed by Christ on the Cross and His resurrection that one may be reconciled to God.
Response (Romans 3&4)
This message demands a response. The salvation God has provided comes only “through faith in Jesus Christ,” and it is “for all who believe”. So how does this salvation become good news for the individual person? How are they included? By believing in Jesus Christ alone. By trusting Christ alone and no other to save one from their sins and the wrath of God to come.
In Summary, here is the essential message that Bible-believing people rally around: God, through the perfect life, atoning death, and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, rescues all His people from the wrath of God into peace with God, with a promise of full restoration of His created order forever - all to the praise of the glory of His grace.