What is the gospel? First, the word “gospel” simply means “good news”. And the gospel of Jesus Christ is indeed incredibly good news! The Bible tells us that we each have a problem: we’ve each sinned (Romans 3:23), and we each deserve the judgment of God (Romans 2:2-5), for He is holy, and we are not. All of us have broken God’s perfect Law, and it would be righteous and just of Him to send us each to hell.
The great news is that God Himself has provided an answer for this huge problem. He so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16) – the Lord Jesus Christ – and sent Him to earth so that we might receive forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).
How does this work? First, we must know that it is not simply automatic. The death and resurrection of Christ doesn’t grant forgiveness to everyone by default. The rest of John 3:16 tells us “that whoever believes in Him [Jesus] shall not perish, but have eternal life”.
It is through faith alone – Scripturally, faith and trust and belief are essentially identical terms – it is through faith alone in Christ alone that you can find this forgiveness of all your sins (Ephesians 2:8-9). This is God’s gift to you! Your response is to repent (admit your sin, turn from it, and pursue Christ and holiness) and believe (trust, have faith) in the Lord Jesus Christ and what He did for you (Mark 1:15).
If you think you’ll get to heaven by your good works or because you’re “a good person”, you’ll be sorely and eternally disappointed. Why? Because our very best works – not our worst, but our best – are “as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6) before God. And if our best is so worthless, just think about what our sinful deeds must look like! Our sin deserves a just sentence of eternal death (hell) (Romans 6:23) – but thank the Lord! – the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ.
Those who don’t repent and believe in Christ will be judged by Christ (John 3:18). Someday, “God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus” (Romans 2:16), and “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22).
Many people think they’re saved, when in fact all they’ve had was some sort of non-saving religious experience (Matthew 7:21-23). Things like walking an aisle, praying a certain prayer, joining a church, having a religious experience – those things by themselves do not save. Each person must repent and believe the gospel message (Mark 1:15). If you’re not sure about your own salvation, listen to “Wasted Faith” (by pastor Jim Elliff, free audio download here) that lovingly and biblically addresses this issue. We are committed to sharing with you an unadjusted and undiluted gospel.
We urge you to make sure you understand the biblical gospel message and also believe it in your heart so that you can find complete forgiveness of all your sins. For more details, please see the RUforgiven site.
Then, make sure to find a solid Bible-believing church to be a part of. See the Find a Good Church link.
For your reference, here are some resources that should be helpful:
- RUforgiven.org – a thorough evangelistic web site
- Grace to You offers their excellent “Who do you think that I am?” tract
- John MacArthur’s 47-minute video message: The Need for the Gospel
- John MacArthur’s 48-minute video message: The Message of the Gospel
- Way to God has lots of very helpful resources
- Bad News and Good News
- Here is a place to go if you have questions about the Christian faith
- Here is a longer but good gospel tract from our Southern Baptist Founders friends
Or view this short video… from The Way of the Master: