In my field (marketing), there’s a concept called “added value.” It’s the idea that its no longer possible to build a better mousetrap, therefore an organization’s job is to find a way to deliver unexpected value to their customers. So maybe you can’t build a better mousetrap, but you can give your customers a lifetime warranty for the mousetrap you can build. That warranty becomes an added-value.
(Quick sidebar – this example also demonstrates poor strategy because a warranty is an easily replicated value added and therefore does not help the organization differentiate themselves in their customers’ minds. I put this caveat just in case a student ever reads this.)
A lot of time, Christians also approach life with a value-added mentality. We believe that Christ alone saves us, and yet we seek to add add our own source of justification. With one mouth we claim Christ’s blood and we cling to our good work. We say He’s paid for us in-full, and yet we worry about our heavenly balance sheet. Scripture however is clear that we can never add any value to what Christ has done. Our righteousness is “like filthy rags” (Is. 64:6) therefore we can never depend on them to aid in our cleanliness. We must rely totally on the blood that makes us “white as snow” (Is. 1:18). There is nothing we can do to add value to that.