The gospel is the good news about what Jesus Christ has done to reconcile sinners to God.
A good way to summarize this good news is to biblically unpack the words God, Man, Christ, Response.
God is the creator of all things. He is perfectly holy, worthy of all worship, and will punish sin.
GENESIS 1:1 ESV In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
1 JOHN 1:5 ESV This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
REVELATION 4:11 ESV "Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created."
ROMANS 2:5-8 ESV But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed. He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.
All people, though created good, have become sinful by nature. From birth, all people are alienated from God, hostile to God, and subject to the wrath of God. The word "sin" was a term used in archery - it simply meant that an archer had "missed the mark." Mankind - despite our best efforts - is unable to live the kind of life that measures up to the standard that God created us to live originally.
GENESIS 1:26-28 ESV Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
PSALM 51:5 ESV Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
ROMANS 3:23 ESV For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
EPHESIANS 2:1-3 ESV And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
Jesus Christ, who is fully God and fully man, lived a sinless life, died on the cross to bear God’s wrath in the place of all who would believe in him, and rose from the grave in order to give his people eternal life.
JOHN 1:1 ESV In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
1 TIMOTHY 2:5 ESV For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
HEBREWS 7:26 ESV For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.
ROMANS 3:21-26 ESV But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
2 CORINTHIANS 5:21 ESV For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
1 CORINTHIANS 15:20-22 ESV But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
God calls everyone everywhere to believe that his Son, Jesus, has solved our sin problem. Faith in God is not "blind" but a confidence in what Jesus offers us. Belief - trust - confidence in Jesus will involve a lifetime of repentance - constantly listening to and obeying God as we grow in our knowledge of Him. As one pastor is fond of saying, "If a man can predict his own death and resurrection then He is worthy of following."
MARK 1:15 ESV And saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."
ACTS 20:21 ESV Testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
ROMANS 10:9-10 ESV Because, 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. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
* Adapted from The Gospel and Personal Evangelism by Mark Dever.