Adam’s Merit

I really cannot believe that Mark Horne thinks that Jim Jordan is somehow on target here. I am not going to argue the merit issue itself, since I have already done so here and here. But the Reformed idea of merit is hardly new. Here is Thomas Boston to directly, explicitly, and indubitably tear Jim Jordan’s argument to shreds (volume X, pg 376): “Proper merit is what arises from the intrinsic worth of the thing done, fully proportioned to the reward. Such is the merit of Christ’s obedience and death. But no such merit can be in our (post-conversion, LK) works; for there is no proportion between our obedience and eternal life, whatever the papists pretend…Improper merit is what arises from paction ensuring such a reward on such a work as the condition thereof; so that the work being performed, the reward becomes a debt. So Adam’s perfect obedience would have been meritorious, namely, by paction.” Is this new, Mr. Jordan? Is this not merit? Notice that my definition of the merit of Adam is *precisely* the same as Boston’s, namely, merit by pact. So Jordan and Horne at least need to retract their statement that this is new. It is nothing of the sort.

Here is Calvin to tear Jim Jordan’s argument to shreds even more: Inst. 2.17.1: “There are certain…men who-even though they confess that we receive salvation through Christ-cannot bear to hear the word “merit,” for they think that it obscures God’s grace. Hence, they would have Christ as a mere instrument or minister.” In 2.17.3, he says, “By his obedience, however, Christ truly acquired and merited grace for us with his Father…then he acquired salvation for us by his righteousness,which is tantamount to deserving it.”

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