Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Against "Merit"

Calvin's Institutes (1559)
Book 3 of 4 - How We Receive the Grace of Christ

Chapter 15 - Boasting in Our Merit Destroys God Glory for Giving Righteousness, as Well as Our Assurance of Salvation
Sections 1-4 - Merit in justification opposed

1. Justification is the "chief turning point."
2. Merit is an unfortunate word that shouldn't have been introduced for discussion. It will "produce great offense and very little fruit." It is possible to use it without corrupting the Gospel, though. 2 Tim 2:13 and Ezek 36:22, 32 are good correctives.
3. Any good work we do comes from God's grace, ruling out our merit entirely - Luke 17:10.
4. A verse in the apocrypha "for every man according to the merit of his works," is mistranslated. It should say "according to his works," which just means God is pleased with our deeds, not saying where they came from, ultimately. Our works cannot win favor with God; He gives His favor freely - Isa 55:1; John 1:16.

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