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All Articles For Contending for the Faith

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4.  The doctrine of the merit of good works as taught by Romanists is another most prolific error. They hold that works done after regeneration have real merit (meritum condigni), and that they are the ground of the sinner’s justification before God. They hold that a man may do more than the law requires of him, and perform works of supererogation, and thus obtain more merit than is neces­sary for his own salvation and beatification. That this super­fluous merit goes into the treasury of the Church, and may be dispensed for the benefit of others.

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Rome, therefore, contends that the Church, as an external and visible society, consisting of those who profess the Christian religion, united in communion of the same sacra­ments and subjection to lawful pastors, and especially to the Pope of Rome, is divinely appointed to be the infallible teacher of men in all things pertaining to faith and practice.

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Scripture is no book of formulated doctrines Scripture, although not a book of formulated doc­trines, is, of course, the source of all doctrines. The Bible is not merely a revelation of a truth. Christian­ity, we understand, is not simply a religion or another religion. It is not true, of course, that Christ pro­claimed truth, but that Confucius and Mohammed, etc., also proclaimed truth. The Bible is the revela­tion of the truth. It is the Lord’s own and only in­spired revelation of Himself as the God of our salva­tion.

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In our previous article we called attention to the fact that doctrines have a history because the Scrip­ture is no book of formulated doctrines. We also asked and attempted to answer the question: What is Scripture? It is the historic-organic revelation of the God of our salvation in Christ Jesus. This rev­elation itself is progressive. And it is simply a fact that the Church of God does not see everything at once. The wonderful truths of God’s Word crys­tallize gradually in the believing consciousness of the Church.

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