Almost seventy of the folks who read the Kindle edition of my little green book highlighted this passage:
The fact is that the authentic gospel of the New Testament remains extremely offensive to human pride, and nobody who preaches it faithfully can expect to escape at least some degree of opposition. Paul found in his day that the message of Christ crucified was both folly to Greek intellectuals and a stumbling block to self-righteous Jews. Nobody can reach God by his own wisdom or by his own morality. Only at the cross can God be known. And this is doubly offensive to men and women of culture. They resent the exclusiveness of the Christian claim, and even more the humiliation implicit in it. Christ from his cross seems to say to us, "I am here because of you. If it were not for your sin and pride, I would not be here. And if you could have saved yourself, I would not be here either." The Christian pilgrimage begins with bowed head and bent knee; there is no other way into the kingdom of God except by the exaltation of those who have humbled themselves.
I have often thanked God that he taught me this truth very early in my Christian experience, partly through glimpses into the pride of my own heart and partly through a glimpse into somebody else's. It was when I was an undergraduate at Trinity College, Cambridge. Only recently I had come to Christ myself, and now — clumsily, I am sure — I was trying to share the good news with a fellow student. I was endeavoring to explain the great doctrine of justification by grace alone, that salvation was Christ's free gift, and that we could neither buy it nor even contribute to its purchase, for Christ had obtained it for us and was now offering it to us gratis. Suddenly to my intense astonishment, my friend shouted three times at the top of his voice, "Horrible! Horrible! Horrible!" Such is the arrogance of the human heart that it finds the good news not glorious (which it is) but horrible (which it is not).
Postscript: I heartily recommend Stott's book, but I do have a bitter gripe. It's one of those ridiculous cases where, in a book rich with quotations, the publisher (Eerdmans!) has inexplicably removed the documentation from the quotation, in the execrable form of chapter endnotes.