A Christian farmer was concerned about an unsaved neighbor who was a carpenter. The farmer had been trying to explain the gospel to his friend, particularly that the death of Jesus had accomplished everything that was needed for him to be saved. But the carpenter kept insisting that he had to do something for himself.

“Jesus did it all,” said the farmer.

“I must have to do something,” said the carpenter.

One day the farmer asked his friend to make a gate for him, and when it was finished he came for it and carried it away in his wagon. He hung it on a fence in his field and then arranged for the carpenter to stop by to see that it was hung properly. The carpenter came at the time arranged. But when he arrived he was surprised to see the farmer standing by with a sharp axe in his hand. “What is that for?” he asked.

“I’m going to add a few cuts to your work,” was the answer.

“But there’s no need to do that,” the carpenter protested. “the gate is perfect as it is. There is no need to do anything to it.” Nevertheless, the farmer took the axe and began to strike the gate with it. He kept at it until, within a very short time, the gate was ruined. “Look at what you’ve done,” said the carpenter. “You ruined my work.”

“Yes,” said his friend. “And that is exactly what you are trying to do. You are trying to ruin the work of Christ by your own miserable additions to it.” According to Pink, God used the lesson to show the man his mistake, and he was led to trust Christ who had died for him.”

–Arthur W. Pink, The Seven Sayings of the Savior in the Cross, as retold by J.M. Boice, Psalms.