Christ’s Merits Affirmed And Ours Denied In The Reformed Confessions

What do the Reformed confessions teach regarding Christ's merits versus ours?

“nor we to merit” (Westminster Larger Catechism 193) “without all respect to any merit proceeding from us” (Scots Confession ch. 12) “we [do not] merit the pardon of sins…” (2nd Geneva Catechism 100) “the works of men so vile and valueless that they cannot merit favor with God” (2nd Geneva Catechism 113) “not on account of any merit of ours” (Second Helvetic Confession ch. 10)


Christ’s Merit For Us Affirmed

  1. “only for the sake of Christ’s merits” (Heidelberg Catechism 21)
  2. “for the sake of Christ’s merits” (Heidelberg Catechism 84)
  3. “if they did not rest on the merit of the suffering and death of our Savior” (Belgic Confession, art. 24)
  4. “nor the merit, intercession, and preservation of Christ” (Canons of Dort 5.8)
  5. “We are accounted righteous before god only for the merit of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Thirty Nine Articles 11)
  6. “upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ” (Savoy Declaration ch. 17)
  7. “in Christ, their Guarantor and sole Mediator. And on account of his merit” (Helvetic Consensus Formula, canon 4)
  8. “Christ himself is also included in the gracious decree of divine election, not as the meritorious cause, or foundation prior to election itself, but as being himself also elect (I Pet 2:4, 6).” (Helvetic Consensus Formula, canon 5)
  9. “Mediator, and our first born Brother, whose precious merit God determined to use” (Helvetic Consensus Formula, canon 5)
    ” [We also cannot affirm the teaching! that he obtained for all a salvation, which, nevertheless, is not applied to all, and by his death merited a salvation and faith for no one individually but only removed the obstacle of divine justice” (Helvetic Consensus Formula, canon 16)
  10. “Author and Finisher of our faith and salvation; they make his cross of none effect, and under the appearance of exalting his merit, they, in reality diminish it.” (Helvetic Consensus Formula, canon 16)

Our Merit Denied

  1. “without any merit of mine” (Heidelberg Catechism 60)
  2. “The reward comes not of [our] merit” (Heidelberg Catechism 63)

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