Philippians 3:9 says, “and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from {the} Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which {comes} from God on the basis of faith,”  There is nothing good about me…or you!  My self-righteousness is “as filthy rags.”  No amount of self-effort (the Law) can make me more righteous!

I want to share a powerful illustration of this truth.  I found it in a little book that I believe is out of print.  It is called, How to Live the Christian Life (1963), by Fred H. Wight.


A miser lived in a little shack on a corner lot in a neighborhood of the city where millionaires were building their mansions.  Many had offered to buy his property but he always raised his price and continued to live in his small quarters.  But one day an agent of a millionaire cam and asked him his price.  He answered, “One hundred thousand dollars.”  “Sign this paper,” the agent answered. And before the old man could scarcely realize what had happened the deal was closed.  Afterward his conscience began to bother him for asking so much for the property, and so he decided he would endeavor to fix up the shack and make it a little more presentable.  Ten days later the owner came to make all of the final arrangements, and the miser said to him, “Don’t you think you have gotten a fine property, sir?”

“Yes, I do,” the new owner answered.  “There are great possibilities here.”

But the miser called his attention to what he had done to fix up the old shack.  “Have you failed to see how well I have painted the little shack?  I have put new boards on the floor, new glass in the windows, and I have patched the roof.  It’s a dear little place you have bought now.”

“Listen,” interrupted the millionaire.  “I do not want your shack, good as you think it is.  It must all come down.  This lot must be cleared.  What I wanted was the situation, and out of my wealth I am going to erect a new structure; a beautiful mansion.”


How many of us are like the old miser’ “working hard for Jesus!”  or maybe “cleaning up our act.”  Are you trying to fix up the shack of your OWN self-righteousness instead of allowing (by faith) Jesus to build in your life HIS beautiful mansion of His own wonderful righteousness?  This my friend is the Normal Christian Life!