Let us therefore remind ourselves before we go any further that the gospel announces, at the very beginning, that man is absolutely helpless in the matter of his salvation, he can do nothing at all about it. The gospel is not a scheme or proposal to enable men to save themselves, nor is it a program which God has outlined, an example of which has been given in the person of the Son of God, telling us how we can raise ourselves and lift ourselves into heaven. No, it starts by telling us that we cannot do it, we are all dead in trespasses and sins, we are utterly helpless, we are quite powerless, and while we were yet without strength Christ died for the ungodly. It was while man was in a state of complete bondage to sin and Satan and hell that God did something. Now this is the very essence of this message.
-Martyn Lloyd-Jones in The Assurance of Our Salvation