The word "gospel" means "good news." It's the word used in the Bible for the good news of Jesus Christ and the good news of Christianity.
What does it mean to be a Christian?
Some people think being a Christian means going to church or obeying a set of rules. But being a Christian really means that you believe and receive Jesus Christ and his teachings. Jesus taught many things about God, mankind, and life after death.
The Truth about God
First of all, Jesus taught that God exists. God is the one who created everything (Gen 1:1). All of creation points to the reality of God (Psa 19:1; Rom 1:19-20). As the creator, God owns and rules over everything (Psa 24:1; 103:19). This means he has absolute authority over human life.
Jesus also taught that God is absolutely holy, which means he is morally perfect (Isa 6:3; 1 Jn 1:5). God cannot commit or approve of any evil (James 1:13). He has a standard that he will use to judge human beings, and the human conscience confirms this (Rom 2:15-16). But what is God's standard?
Put simply, God's standard is perfection. This means that even if you kept all of God's laws but messed up in one, you would still not measure up to God's standard (James 2:10). This is why Jesus taught that anger and lust bring judgment—just like murder and adultery (Matt 5:21-22, 27-28). Jesus told his followers: "You must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matt 5:48, see also 1 Pet 1:16).
A Major Problem
This expectation of perfection presents a problem because no one is perfect. Every single person has broken God's law. The word Jesus used for disobeying God is "sin." No matter how sinful or righteous a person is, that person has not given God the proper worship, obedience, and love. No one has met God's standard (Rom 3:10, 23). Every single person deserves God's righteous judgment (Psa 5:4) and can do nothing to fix the situation (Isa 64:6; Eph 2:8-9; Titus 3:5).
But God has lovingly provided a way for any person to be saved from sin. He doesn't take joy in the judgment of sinners (Ezek 18:31). He wants everyone to be saved (1 Tim 2:4).
The message of Jesus is that he is God's solution for the problem of mankind. God became a human being to accomplish his purpose on the earth (John 1:1, 14; Col 2:9). Demonstrating God's perfect love, Jesus came "to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10). Jesus died to satisfy God's justice. He took the place of sinners (2 Cor 5:21; 1 Pet 2:24; 3:18). And to demonstrate the truth of his message, Jesus was raised from the dead (1 Cor 15:3-6).
So what can you do to be forgiven by God? What can you do to be saved from the judgment your sin deserves? Jesus calls all people to repent and believe in him. This means turning away from sin and following Jesus (Isa 55:7; Luke 9:23; Acts 17:30). Trust in Jesus for salvation. Believe that Jesus died to pay for your forgiveness. Ask God to forgive you on the basis of what Jesus has done. The word of God says "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Rom 10:9).
That's the good news of Jesus Christ!
No matter what your life has been like, you will be forgiven if you truly repent and place your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:16-17, 36).