Okay, first we have to establish what salvation is and what we are being saved from. We must realize that God is holy, perfect, and just. He comes with anger and wrath against all unrighteousness and sin--both small and great. Thus, every human being in the world without exception is an unrighteous sinner before God and the Scriptures declare that the wages of sin is death. Meaning, because we live a life of sin and rebellion against God, we deserve separation and His wrath. We will all be judged for every deed, word, and thought.
Now, salvation can only come if the penalty of our sins and unrighteousness is paid. This brings us to the incarnation of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was sent to show the world who God is and to make atonement for sins--reconciling those who put their trust and hope in Jesus. To receive this gift of salvation we must recognize that we are sinners in need for a savior. We must believe that Jesus died in our place and was resurrected from the dead. Our hope is that when we die we will also be raised with Him in heaven. Thus, salvation means to be reconciled to God through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the application of that occurs through faith and not by good works (merits, deeds, rituals, or anything else). The one who places their trust in their own goodness or works will be condemned but the one who places their hope and trust in Jesus and confess Him as Lord shall be saved. This was a short presentation of the gospel ("the good news"), but here are some Scriptures to emphasize what I just said:
John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God."
Matt 16:24 "Then Jesus told his disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.'"
Rom 3:23-25 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.
3:28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.