The gospel is the good news of God's plan for the salvation of people. It is the way to receive forgiveness for sins and be restored with God. The gospel is all centered on the life and substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. It is the foundation and centerpiece of Christianity, and can be summarized in these five basic points:
1. God loves us and created us to be in an unbroken, fully connected relationship with Him. He made us in His image—the capstone of His creation—for the purpose of reflecting His glory back to Him (Genesis 1:26-27).
2. Man has broken that connection through his sin. Part of being made in God's image was that He gave us the capacity to choose, and we as humans, starting with Adam and Eve, have all made a deadly choice--to turn away from our Creator's authority over our lives. The Bible says we are, by nature and by choice, sinners. Romans 3:23 puts it this way: "For all have sinned and fall short of God's glory."
3. Sin carries an eternal death penalty—separation from God. Sin is rebellion against God, and like any crime, it carries a penalty. The Bible says in Romans 6:23 that the penalty for sin against a holy God is death. Death means separation, and every human since Adam has carried the marks of that penalty, by being separated from God for eternity in payment for our sin. It means that we have a serious situation that needs repair. We're in need of forgiveness and restoration.
4. Because He loves us so much and does not desire for us to be lost, God made another way for our sin to be paid for.
The Bible says that even while we were still in our rebellious state, God Himself decided to intervene on our behalf, and stepped into our world on a rescue mission (Romans 5:8). He took the form of a man—Jesus Christ, came to earth from heaven, lived a perfect, sinless life, and then did something unbelievable for us. He willfully substituted Himself--His body in place of ours, to absorb the penalty for all of mankind's crimes and sins.
The whole course of human history focused on the day Jesus Christ was nailed to a cross in Israel, and God the Father placed the entire penalty for all our sins on Him. Jesus endured it, suffered, and died under its weight. The Bible says it this way in 1 Peter 2:24: "He himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed." Summarizing in John 3:16, Jesus said, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Three days after His death on the cross, Jesus proved He was indeed the true God in the flesh, with the power to command life and death, the source of life through which any person has to get it. He did what He said He would do, and conquered death's grip over Him by rising from the dead.
5. Forgiveness and eternal life are now given by Jesus Christ free of charge to anyone who will put their trust in Him as their Savior.
A person admits their inability to restore themselves, confesses to God they have sinned against Him, and turns from their sin. The Bible uses the word repent: it means to renounce your sin and what you've trusted in to restore your soul, and to turn away from it.
Then, they personally accept His provision on the cross as payment for their death penalty by asking Jesus Christ to credit His payment to their account.
At the moment they do, Jesus gives them righteous standing with God and full pardon in exchange, free of charge. Not only that, but He restores their soul and enters their heart by His Spirit, gives them a new spiritual life that will never end, and makes them a child of God, fully restored into His full acceptance. The Bible says in Romans 6:23 that while the penalty for sin is death, the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. And John 1:12 says that whoever believes in Him, to anyone who receives Him, He gives the authority to be called the children of God.