Sunday, March 22, 2015

On Covenantal merit

According to Dr. Clark, Covenant merit (meritum ex pacto) is just congruent merit (meritum de congruo), which is to say that God rewards imperfect works as if they were fully righteous. However, at the same time, he states that covenant merit has nothing to do with salvation. But since condign and congruent merit are phrases used within the context of salvation or soteriology, then shifting the referent of "merit" from salvation (justification, sanctification, good works) to something that is NOT salvation would it seems imply a radical break between the meaning of covenant merit and congruent merit as-traditionally-defined, even though the concept of credited righteousness is found in both forms of merit.

If the referent has nothing to do with salvation, then covenant merit should not be called congruent merit, although it is certainly analogous to it. If used for the purpose of typology, then it seems to be the case that it is a literary phenomenon more than it is an actual phenomenon. Thus, "covenant merit" is defined as the literary portrayal of a person fulfilling the requirements of the covenants (without regard for the motivation or the empowerment to do so), and thus God is required upon His own word to reward the one who fulfilled the requirements. Thus, while a person does not really, actually, merit anything by doing what God commands, in a literary sense he does "merit" something when he fulfills the conditions of the covenant.

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