The Gospel is the good news of Christ. It is good news because it is all about coming into a relationship with God, being able to spend an eternity in heaven, being saved from your sin and from punishment in hell. This page will tell you in a brief way what it means to become a Christian, why this is important, and what you should do if you want to become a Christian.
The first thing that you should understand is that we all sin. Sin is anything that we say, think, or do that goes against God's nature or laws. Romans 3:23 says, "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." All means all. There is no person who is sinless. We all, in our own ways, rebel against God; because that is really what sin is. It is us deciding to go our own way rather than following God's way.
You may think that you do a lot of good things and not many bad things, so your good deeds should outweigh your bad deeds, and you'll be ok, but look at what Isaiah says in reference to good deeds. Isaiah 64:6 says, "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away." We can try to do good things, but we can never measure up to God's perfect standard. When we reject his grace, our good deeds are as good as filthy rags.
As I mentioned earlier, the problem amounts to us choosing to follow our own ways, rejecting God. We decide we don't want or need God's love and forgiveness, choosing instead to attempt to decide our own fates, thus living in our sin. Isaiah 53:6 says, "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all." This is something that we are all guilty of.
Living a lifetime of sin, we thus earn the wage of sin. It is the payment we recieve for rejecting God and living in sin. That payment is death; separation from God for eternity in hell. Romans 6:23a says, "For the wages of sin is death..."
God does provide a way out, however. He provides an alternitive to death. The second part of Romans 6:23 says, "...but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
God loves you and does not want you to spend eternity in hell. He loves you so much, that he decided to provide a way, even while we were still in rebellion towards him. Romans 5:8 says, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
The sinful lives that we all live still needed punishment. The only way that punishment could be satisfied once and for all was with a perfect sacrifice. Somebody who could identify with our humanity, living as we do, but without sin. Thus, he sent Jesus, God incarnate in human form, to take our punishment for us. Second Corinthians 5:21 says, "God made him [Jesus] who had no sin to be sin offering for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
Jesus took your punishment for you. He lived the perfect life we are incapable of living. He took the punishment we deserved, though he did not. And to prove his power over death, he rose from the grave three days later. If you place your faith in Christ, giving your life over to him, you will be saved. Romans 10:9-10&13 says, "If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
You may still be thinking that there is something you must do, or quit doing, or a certain law you must follow before God can save you; or that you must still work to prove yourself worth. Read what Ephesians 2:8-9 says. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast." You are saved by God's grace through your faith in him. It is God's gift to you. You don't earn it. You can't earn it. It isn't based on any good deeds we do or bad deeds we don't do, that way nobody can claim they are better than anybody else. We are all equal. You can't earn it, but you must receive and accept it.
Jesus is the only way to a relationship with God. There is no other way to him, no other way out of your sins, no other way to heaven. In John 14:6 Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to God the Father, except through me."
The truth is that God loves you. He sent his son to die for you. He wants a relationship with you, to spend eternity with you. He wants the absolute best for you. He wants to be there for you through thick and thin, good times and bad. You may be familiar with John 3:16, but read it again, and see how much God loves you. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
Would you like to give your life to God today? If so, I urge you to pray the following prayer from your heart, with sincerity and conviction. There is nothing inherently special about the prayer itself or its wording. What really matters is if you are sincere about what it means.
I know that I am a sinner and that I have tried to make my own way apart from you. I know now that this was wrong, and that I deserve punishment for it. But I believe that you do not want that for me and that you have already made the sacrifice for me. I believe that Jesus lived a perfect life, dying in my place to take my punishment, and that he rose from the grave. Please forgive me for my sins and rebelling against you. I accept Jesus' sacrifice for me and your love for me. Jesus is Lord and I want him to be the Lord of me. Guide me and teach me all the days of my life. Thank you! In the Holy name of Jesus I pray, Amen."
If you prayed that prayer and meant it, let me be the first to call you my new brother or sister in Christ. You are now born into a world wide family of believers. I would highly suggest you do a couple of things. First, I would encourage you to read through the Bible books of John and Romans. You do not need to read them all the way through in one sitting, you can spread it out a little if you like. They are not difficult reads though. These books will help to give you a little better understanding of who Jesus is, and what it means to be a Christian. If you do not own a Bible, but are reading this online, then you can access the Bible online at biblegateway.com.
I would also reccomend that you find a local church to be a part of. I am not going to tell you to be a part of any single denomination. Personally, I grew up going to a Southern Baptist Church, and not attend a non-denominational church. While there are some secondary issues that I have differences on with various denominations, there are many that seek to love God and love people. So find a church that preaches and teaches the Bible, that preaches that salvation is by grace through faith alone, and practices grace and love toward others. I would say these are the most important things to look for first in a church.
Lastly, the Bible says that we should be baptized after we are saved. This is a public confession of our faith in him. Jesus lived a public life, taught a public ministry, died a public death, and appeared publically to over 500 people after he rose from the grave. Thus, we are to make our faith known publically. Jesus is again our example. He himself was baptized before starting his ministry.