If you've been around a Christian whose worth their salt you've probably heard them talk about the Gospel. It's what changed their life and what inspires them to talk about Jesus. If you've never head anything about Christianity other than "Jesus loves you" or "the Gospel," those terms may not have much significance to you.
I am a Bible-believing, Christ-professing Christian and I'd like to break down the Gospel for you.
The literal meaning of the term "the Gospel" is "the good news." The good news of the Bible and Christianity is that you can be completely forgiven and cleansed of every sin you've ever committed or will commit because Jesus Christ died and paid the price for your sin when He died on the cross.
Jesus Christ is the son of God. He came to earth and lived a sinless life so that He could be the clean slate to take on the sin of every person in the world. (1 Peter 2:21-24)
A sin is anything one does that disobeys God (1 John 5:17). If you've ever lied? That's a sin. If you've ever made anything more important to you than God? That's a sin. If you've ever disobeyed an authority? That's a sin. No matter how good you are or how perfect you try to be you've messed up at least once and that one mess up was enough to keep you out of heaven.
That may seem a little harsh but God is perfect and heaven is perfect so if God bends the rules and lets one sinner, one imperfect person, into heaven...heaven is no longer perfect. God wants to give His people a spotless, perfect heaven where they can spend eternity with Him and in order to do that He cannot let a single sin into heaven.
His plan to let people into heaven while preserving Heaven's spotless perfection was to send His son to the imperfect and sin-filled world, have Jesus live a perfect life then have Jesus sacrifice Himself in His sinless state so that God could transfer the track record of every sinner to the clean slate of Jesus so that God no longer has to view that sinner as an un-forgiven, imperfect person but He can look at that sinner as having the perfectly clean slate of Jesus' life.
"Forgive" means to cancel a debt. The Gospel (or good news) of the Bible is that a sinner can have their sin-debt cancelled (or forgiven) when they humble themselves before God, admit they are a sinner and believe that Jesus' sacrifice is sufficient to forgive them of their debt. No person could ever be good enough to earn the forgiveness of God, but the good news is that no person ever has to be.
Jesus came and was good enough so that we don't have to be. All a sinner has to do to receive the forgiveness of God is to believe on Jesus' sacrifice to forgive them of their sin. When a person puts their full faith and trust in Jesus sacrifice, God cancels their sin debt. When a person refuses to trust Jesus sacrifice or tries to earn forgiveness on their own, they will never be good enough to get a clean slate or earn forgiveness.
God has a perfect heaven that He can't have messed up by sin. But He also sent a perfect sacrifice to take on the sin of the world.
That's the Gospel, that's the good news. You can go to God's perfect heaven when you put your faith and trust in Jesus sacrifice to forgive your sins.
How you tell God that you believe in Jesus' sacrifice to cancel your sin debt is through prayer. Prayer is simply talking to God and you can do that out loud or in your head. It's not the words you say when you pray, it's the intention of your heart. God knows the heart and mind of every person He's ever created and if you're praying from the heart that you are putting your faith and trust in Jesus sacrifice to forgive you of your sins then God sees that and forgives you. He no longer views you as a sinner but He views you as a perfect, forgiven person whom he can have a relationship with and let into heaven.
When you have the spot of sin on you, God can't have a relationship with you. When that sin is removed, God can have a relationship with you while you're still living on earth and He can admit you to His perfect heaven when you die.
The Bible is God's word and it says in Acts 16:31 "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved."
It really is as simple as that. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be forgiven of and saved from the penalty of your sin.