Simply speaking, the word gospel means "good news." This term has become diluted and pregnant with extra-biblical meaning, so it is important to recognize the distinction between biblical consistency and other relative usage of the word. The Good News is that "Jesus Saves." He saves from the penalty, power, and the presence of sin; He saves from the continued failure of attempted self-righteousness; He saves from the futility of self-reform. When we turn to God with belief in His provision of our substitute (His Son, Jesus) and repentance for our sin against Him, the Holy Spirit makes us eternally alive, baptizes us into Christ's body, and we are reconciled with and restored to a relationship with the Triune and Holy God. God does not require us to DO anything to be saved, to be made perfectly holy before Him; God requires us to believe the gospel, that He loves the world so much, that "...He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life." "He who believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." John 3:16, 36
Sacraments or Ordinances
Something to be attained, achieved, or accomplished
The power of God unto salvation, unto all who believe! Rom 1:16
The gift of eternal life, in relationship with Creator God, not just someday in the future, but RIGHT NOW!
A reconciliation between Holy God and helplessly sinful man!
Romans 3:23 - For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God
EVERYONE has sinned. What is sin? In our culture, the word "sin" is commonly used from a relativistic perspective with various definitions and implications depending on the speaker's perspective. The Bible, however, has a very specific concept of sin. The Greek word for sin means "to miss the mark", and is a term used in archery. It is a binary term; the archer either hit the mark, or he didn't. When the Bible speaks of "missing the mark", it is describing humanity's failure to maintain, or coming short of, the absolute moral perfection, or glory, of God. No one is perfect, as God is. We commonly use the phrase, "no one is perfect...", and that's exactly the problem!
Romans 5:12 - Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
The CONSEQUENCES of our sin have the dramatic and comprehensive consequence of death. This death is permanent separation from God because of our offenses against Him and the opposition of our natures. The Bible tells us we are naturally the enemies of God (Romans 5:10), and the just punishment for our disobedience to God is that death. Romans 6:23 - For the wages of sin is death;
Romans 3:10-12 - As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Not only are we naturally the enemies of God and condemned already in our unbelief (John 3:18) we are naturally unable to discern or remediate this condition. NO ONE is perfect (God's mark) or can do anything to make themselves perfect.
Much is made of the fact that a man's natural condition condemns him to an everlasting hell. Some may say, "I can't believe that a loving God would send anyone to hell." God does not send anyone to hell, and He does not want ANYONE to go to hell! Jesus addressed this very objection, and introduced God's plan of Salvation to a very devout and religious man (but totally dead, spiritually) named Nicodemus in John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
1 Timothy 2:4 tells us that God "...will have (the Greek word "desires") all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth." Peter tells us in 2 Peter 3:9 that God delays pouring out His judgement on the world because "....He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
Not only does God not wish for anyone to perish in their sin, and not only does He delay the reckoning each of us will have with Him because of His mercy, He has done EVERYTHING He can do to reconcile us to himself, by sending His Son, Jesus to suffer our punishment in our place. Jesus WAS perfect. He demonstrated this perfection by perfectly keeping the Law of Moses, and then, although He alone of all men who have ever walked the earth DIDN'T deserve to die, offered Himself as the substitute for sinners. Some have called this "The Great Exchange", and in God's plan, Jesus took sin and the consequences on Himself while on the cross, and God ascribes perfect holiness to those who will believe Him and commit their trust to His plan. Only in this awesome plan of salvation could God be both just (holy) and the justifier (the one who makes holy) of those who believe in Jesus (Romans 3:26) Take a look at the following verses, perhaps even in your own Bible, to see the truths of God's plan of salvation.
Romans 5:8 - But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
2 Corinthians 5:20-21- Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Perfect righteousness is the only way for God, in His holiness, to be able to be in a relationship with humans. Some people believe and/or teach that there is something we can DO to accomplish this. The fact is that this is impossibility, and not only is it a bit absurd to think there is something I could do to commend myself to God, it actually flies in the face of God's Son by suggesting that He is Himself insufficient to satisfy God's requirements, and so I need to help Him out with the job! The scriptures are very clear that we can do nothing to add merit to ourselves in God's eyes.
Ephesians 2:8-9 -For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Titus 3:4-7 - But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
So, what must I do to be saved, to be made spiritually alive and to be reconciled to Christ? Believe God. Don't just believe the facts of God's plan for salvation, but put your trust in it, commit your everlasting destiny to it! When you, like Abraham, believe God, He will save you. It's not something you do, or can do, for yourself; it's all what God does, because He loves you, and gave His Son for you, and wants a relationship with you. God has done everything He can do, now what will YOU do with Jesus?
Romans 10:9-10 - ... if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
2 Corinthians 6:2b ... behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.