When you are a Christian with half a million Twitter followers, your tweets should be the product of careful consideration. Unfortunately I don’t think Dave Ramsey always does that, as this tweet shows:
Fill the glass of your life so full of doing good that there is no room left for dirt. The clean water displaces the dirt. (
But that’s not how it works. For those who belong to Jesus, the very people who make up the bulk of Mr. Ramsey’s readers and clients, we know that life is actually quite different.
In fact, Christians can’t fill themselves with good works and so “displace the dirt.” Jesus told his followers that trying to do so is just setting yourself up for failure because it’s impossible.
For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:20.)
Remember that the Pharisees were the most righteous-living people in Israel at the time and yet Jesus said you can’t get to heaven unless you are even better at living righteously than they were.
So Mr. Ramsey wants us to make sure we’re clean by doing so much good that it displaces the bad?
Sorry Dave, that’s not how it works and never has been.
The Righteousness of Christ
The only righteousness we have in the kingdom of heaven is by the work of Jesus.
It is because of [God] that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God — that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. (1 Corinthians 1:30.)
… that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ — the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. (Philippians 3:8-9.)
Jesus’ blood is our only source of cleansing from our sins – or as Ramsey put it the displacing of the dirt in our lives. (Revelation 7:14.) No one in the New Testament claimed to have been able to do enough good works, to be able to fill themselves up with clean water that displaces the dirt.
Instead, we read a lengthy passage in Romans 7 of how even an Apostle of Christ repeatedly lost the fight against sin and failed to live righteously. (Romans 7.) That’s why he celebrated the gift of salvation and freedom that God blesses us with through Jesus:
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:24-25.)
The Real Source of Clean Water Righteousness
We’ll never be able to fill ourselves up with clean water. God can do it for us though. He is the one who fills us with living water – the cleanest of the clean – and he does it not because of our efforts but for no other reason than that we belong to Jesus. (John 4:13-14.)
So should we seek to do good and not sin? Of course we should. (1 John 2:1-2.)
But should we try to fill ourselves with so many good works that we crowd out the bad, as Mr. Ramsey advises? Never going to happen. (Matthew 5:20.)
I bet Mr. Ramsey already knows this. So why would he tweet such works-based legalistic nonsense?
It only serves to set his followers up for certain failure.