The one true "gospel of God's grace," which God offers as our only salvation, has three basic elements: 1) who Christ is—fully God and perfect, sinless man in one Person (were He less, He could not be our Savior); 2) who we are—hopeless sinners already condemned to eternal death (or we wouldn't need to be saved); and 3) what Christ's death accomplished—the payment of the eternal penalty for our sins (any attempt by us to pay in any way rejects the Cross).
Christ has commanded us to "preach the gospel [good news!] to every creature [person]" (Mark:16:15). What response is required? Both the desperate question and uncomplicated answer are given to us: "What must I do to be saved?...Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts:16:30-31). Neither religion, ritual, nor good works will avail. God calls us to simply believe. "For by grace are ye saved through faith" (Ephesians:2:8)—whosoever believes in him will not perish, but has eternal life (John:3:16).
It is the gospel alone that saves those who believe it. Nothing else will save. Therefore, we must preach the gospel. Paul said, "Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel" (1 Cor:9:16). Sentimental appeals to "come to Jesus" or "make a decision for Christ" avail nothing if the gospel is not clearly explained and believed.
Paul specifies the gospel that saves: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures" (1 Cor:15:3-4). "I am the door," said Christ: "by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved" (John:10:9).
The gospel contains nothing about baptism, church membership or attendance, tithing, sacraments or rituals, diet or clothing. If we add anything to the gospel, we have perverted it. —Dave Hunt, excerpt from The Nonnegotiable Gospel, 2006.
Key Scripture verses related to "The Gospel"