What is the Gospel?
So glad you asked! Simply put, the gospel is the incredible news that God's forgiveness and favor has been won by Jesus Christ through his death for Sin. While the full story of the gospel found in the Bible spans 66 books, written by dozens of authors, on multiple continents, over a thousand years. The central story has four main elements:
A Holy God - The fundamental reality of the universe is God. He was before all things and created all things and now holds all things together. God, as the perfectly righteous, all-powerful, and infintely good God made everything in the universe to reflect and display his glory.
A Sinful Man - Mankind, the pinnacle of God's creation, was created free from any sin or imperfection. He enjoyed perfect communion with God as a sinless son of His heavenly Father. However, mankind chose to believe the lie that God was withholding something good from him and so he rejected God's rule and chose to go his own way. This rebellion destroyed his perfect relationship with his Heavenly Father and introduced sin and death into a world that has never recovered. All the pain, sickness, misery, evil, and death that are now a part of our world are a mere symptom of man's underlying issue - sin, and the wrath of God it incurred.
A Perfect Savior - Although no human had ever lived a life worthy of God's love and forgiveness, God continued to pursue his people. He taught them what he demanded of his people through His Law (perfection) as well as what their sins demanded through the sacrificial system (blood). God's pursuit of his people, as well as his righteous standards, and mankind's need for a blood sacrifice all collided in the person of Jesus Christ, who was both God and man. Jesus Christ was sent by God the Father to live the life we couldn't live (of perfection) to pay the price we couldn't pay (for our sins) so that we could be with Christ forever.
A Humble Response - Jesus came declaring the message, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." What he was (and is) saying is that absolute amnesty is availabe to any who will throw down their arms and follow this crucified savior. They must repent of their sinful rebellion against God and believe that He can and will save all who put their hope and trust in him. "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead then you will be saved."