The Gospel - Salvation By Grace
Now that you have a working knowledge of the goal of salvation, which is to have eternal life and that you can experience that life here on this earth. It is important to understand that Salvation is a gift. It is not based on anything you have done or can do to obtain it. In fact James 2:10 says, "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." So even if you add up the amount of good you have done your entire life, one bad thing cancels out your chances of obtaining Salvation on your own.
Paul confirms this in Romans 3 when he said, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." ( Romans 3:23-24 ) Denoting that everyone is in the same boat, we have all sinned and that sin has separated us from God. However, we are forgiven based of God's grace and the payment for sin that Jesus provided. He goes onto say in Romans 6 that, "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." ( Romans 6:23 ) Meaning that Jesus is the one who took the payment for our sin and in return he has offered us eternal life as a gift of His grace.
That is the Gospel! Trading our sin, our shame and our shortcomings in for Jesus' righteousness and forgiveness. The Gospel is also known as the Good News. The nuance of the Greek for this terminology denotes that this news is 'almost too good to be true'. So even though you are incapable of obtaining this right standing with God by your own merit, God has provided a way for you to come into fellowship with Him. Paul tells us that "God made him [Jesus] who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." ( II Corinthians 5:21 ) In other words Jesus was sent to exchange our sinful state for His righteousness. This righteousness or right standing with God is available to everyone who believes.
To accept this gift of Salvation, we need to realize that it is by God's grace that we obtain mercy, not by anything we can do and that it is a free gift from Him. Titus 3:5 says, "he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit" and Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast."
Once we realize that we are sinners and cannot obtain right standing with God on our own, we are free to accept His payment for our sin and obtain eternal life. The way we do this is found in Romans, chapter ten. Paul says, "That if you confess 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 confess and are saved." ( Romans 10:9-10 ) It is that simple! We are saved by grace by confessing that Jesus is Lord and by believing that He is alive today and victorious over death. That is all it takes to be saved! What a wonderful gift this is...