Here in a short form is our message: Jesus Christ has come into the world—fully God and fully man. He perfectly obeyed God's law and perfectly fulfilled God's will. He died in our place and as our substitute, paying for our sins. He rose from the dead on the third day and ascended into heaven. He will one day return to the earth to establish his kingdom. In the meantime we are commissioned to preach the gospel to all people everywhere.
To say it this way means that the gospel doesn't center in our feelings or our sentimental notions. The gospel is rooted in time and space, in the facts of history, in the Incarnation, in the truth of what God did when he sent his Son to the earth.
God did this out of love and pity for us. He knew there was no hope unless he took the initiative to save us. Salvation begins with the admission that there is nothing good in us, nothing in us that can contribute to our salvation, that we are utterly helpless and unable to save ourselves, and that salvation must come from outside of us. We confess that we need the help that only Jesus can supply.
God offers salvation on one simple and single condition—a wholehearted faith in Jesus Christ, trusting him alone as Lord and Savior, resting upon him for complete salvation, renouncing all self-trust, admitting our sinfulness, confessing our need, and crying out to Jesus to save us from our sins.
Those who trust in Jesus Christ and him alone are saved forever. They are forgiven of all their sins, born again, brought into God's family, declared righteous while they were still sinners, their sins are placed on Christ and his righteousness is imputed to them, and they receive a new nature that enables them to walk in a brand-new direction. They are given eternal life and guaranteed they will go to heaven when they die. This is what John 3:16 means when it says that "God so loved the world." This is the Good News Jesus told us to preach "to all creation" (Mark 16:15).
Excerpted from "What is the Gospel and Why Does It Matter?" from Keep Believing Ministries (used by permission).