The gospel isn’t a self-help, get-better-on-your-own program.  The gospel is a God-empowered, declared-righteous gift.

The gospel isn’t how you make yourself better in order to get God’s good gifts and benefits (i.e., “it’s never bad to have God on your side; do all you can to make Him indebted to you”).  The gospel is how God transforms you and brings you to Himself.