'Not because of anything you have done'
2 Tim 1:9
'God saves sinners in virtue of his own purpose and grace, and not in virtue of their good works. It is the undeserved freeness of the gospel which offends. The ‘natural’ or unregenerate man hates to have to admit the gravity of his sin and guilt, his complete helplessness to save himself, the indebtedness to the cross. This is what Paul meant by ‘the stumbling block of the cross
Many preachers succumb to the temptation to mute it. They preach man and his merit instead of Christ and his cross and they substitute the one for the other’in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ (Gal. 6:12; cf. 5: 11). No man can preach Christ crucified with faithfulness and escape opposition, even persecution.'
(2 Timothy, Stott, Page 43)