Whether Christ Merited Glory for Himself

“…fell down before the Lamb…  and they sung a new song, saying, ‘Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood…”s

Rev. 5:8-9

“He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name…”

Phil. 2:8-9

“Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He hath poured out his soul unto death:”

Isa. 53:12



Order of Contents

Yes & No
Westminster Standards
Early & Medieval Church




Reformed people from Calvin agree that Christ merited salvation and exaltation for his people; however the question is whether He merited exaltation for Himself.  The two questions are not equivalent.  No real practical matter, as He did in fact attain it, whatever the cause or grounds of it be.

All the scripture passage are arguably ambiguous

Vain curiosity, yet makes one plummet the depths of theological principles.

The strength of one side, is the seeming worthiness of his human action.  However, the other side reminds us that Christ was God to begin with, to whom all things are owed.  Searching the depth of this makes the answer much less obvious.

Some see Christ judging the world as a fruit flowing out of his work and atonement, something merited, therefore they understand a general aspect to his atonement, in paying for their sins, as the way in which He earned the right to be their Judge as Mediator.  Yet He also judges angels, yet paid for no sins of angels.

Most of the No’s were early, CoR later, focus on the promise of the Father to Christ, if admit of the CoR how can one deny merited in an improper sense by fulfilling the terms, and so it owed to Him (voluntarily entered into) by Covenant, to be graciously rewarded.  Not strictly merited by creatureliness, nature or the innateness of the work (argue against Moek), nor a scheer consequence of gracious blessing, but by Covenant, for the good of his people to be at the right hand of God (which cannot be merited in anyway by a creature’s actions), and a revelation of his right by nature and free love from Father.

Creature cannot make God owe anything, because a servant (Owen).  Doesn’t matter if an act of God via Jesus, as acts of God cannot indebt God to be rewarded, except by a gracious condescension of his will, by CoR.  Though his actions are innately good, and perfectly so.

Despite hypostatic union giving infinite value, yet it gives infinite value to all his actions, post exaltation for which there is no reward, and the reward, in fact, is finite.

If less was given Him, in circumstances or otherwise, would it impugne God’s justice?  Not by nature, but yes by Covenant as agreed.

Was it aimed at by Christ for Christ?  For the Church to save in love, for the ultimate glory of God, and for the good of Christ as human?  His Person need it not, but it is a lawful and necessary good duty of the creature to seek its own good in some way, as a subordinate motive.



No, in English

“Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.  No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself.  I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.  This commandment have I received of my Father.”

Jn. 10:17-18



Calvin, John

Institutes, Book 2, Ch. 17, section 6  trans. Beveridge

Bellarmine responds to Calvin.

Commentary on Philippians, chapter 2, verse 9

Willet, Andrew – ‘Whether Christ Merited for Himself?’  in Synopsis Papismi (London, 1592), The Five Other Popish Sacraments, About the Natures of Christ, 19th Controversy Concerning the Divine Nature of Christ, 3rd Part, pp. 614-615

The Papists argued that Christ not only merited eternal life for us, but also his own glorification.  Willet argues on behalf of ‘Protestants’, that though Christ did merit our eternal life, He did not merit his own glorification; rather it was due to Him because of his divine Person.



Perkins, William – Ch. 37, Question 1, pp. 121-122  in A Golden Chain: or The description of theology containing the order of the causes of salvation and damnation…  (Cambridge, 1600)

Wolleb, Johannes – Book 1, ch. 19.6  of The Abridgment of Christian Divinity, 3rd ed. (London, 1660), pp. 158-159  Wolleb’s editor, Alexander Ross, in a footnote, offers the both/and view.

“Christ attained to this exaltation by his obedience, not as it were by merit, but as it were by the means or way.”

Airay, Henry – Point 1, ‘The Cause of his Exaltation, or Rather, the Sequel of his Cross’, pp. 123-125  in Lecture 29 on Phil. 2:9-10, in Lectures upon the Epistle of St. Paul to the Philippians (Edinburgh, 1864)

Airay disclaims to enter into the disputed point (p. 124, rt. col.), and yet he earlier said, giving his view, the “apostle, and our Savior Himself [Lk. 24:26], speaketh of his crown of glory and honor as a consequence of his cross, not as caused by the cross; as following his cross, but not as merited by his cross.” (p. 124, lt. col. top)

Airay helpfully notes that Christ entered into his exaltation to the right hand of the Father at least for the sake of his people (p. 124, rt. col.; note Eph. 1:20-23), which all sides can agree on.  Whether He did it for Himself, is another question.

Walaeus, Antonius – Section 29 of Disputation 28, ‘On Jesus Christ in his State of Exaltation’  in Synopsis of a Purer Theology, vol. 2, ed. Henk van den Belt (Brill, 2016), p. 175

“The question also arises, whether it was strictly speaking through his passion and death that Christ merited this glory for his human nature.  And whereas we really do not wish to enter into a dispute with those who make this claim,† since Christ certainly did obtain it for us by the worthiness of what He merited, yet we are of the opinion that the opposite point of view, which is shared by many Reformed writers, rests upon arguments that are stronger.

The chief one of these is that the glory was owed to Christ by the right of his hypostatic union, and as the Son’s, and as the Son’s rightful inheritance (Ps. 2:7-8; Heb. 1:2).  And so, by the consensus of all theologians, that hypostatic union does not follow upon any merit, nor the things which necessarily and by God’s decree followed it–which is why the apostle Paul also uses the word [karisasthai] ‘to bestow as gift’ in this context (Phil. 2:9 [‘and given Him’]).”

[For a response to this understanding of the Greek word in Phil. 2:9, see Witsius below.]

Ames, William – Section 15  of Ch. 20, ‘Of Satisfaction’  in The Marrow of Sacred Divinity (London, 1635), p. 80

“15. But the exaltation of Christ, although it be an essentiall part of his mediation, yet it doth not pertaine to his merit, or satisfaction.”

Dutch Annotations – On Phil. 2:9  (1657)

“9 Therefore

[By this word therefore is not shewed that by this humiliation Christ merited the following glory for Himself: for all that Christ merited, that He merited for us, Jn. 17:19.  But sheweth only what followed hereupon, or was fit to follow.  See the like Act. 20:26; Heb. 3:7; 2 Pet. 1:10.]

hath also above measure exalted Him,

[namely, after that He being risen from the dead and ascended up to heaven, sat on the right hand of God in the highest glory, Eph. 1:20; Heb. 1:3, which according to his divine nature He had indeed from eternity, Jn. 17:5.  But seeing He had as it were laid aside the use thereof in the state of his humiliation; He took the same upon Him again after his ascension, and shewed it gloriously: and his humane nature both in soul and body was adored with as high glory and blessedness, as a creature can receive, far surpassing all glory of angels and other men.]

and hath given Him

[or freely given. See chap. 1, v. 29, whereby is meant that his exaltation came to pass according to the Father’s will and pleasure]”

Owen, John

Bk. 2, ch. 2, section 1 of The Death of Death  in Works, vol. 10, pp. 203-205

This is the main section to read in Owen.

‘The suffering of Christ may be considered absolutely…  or with reference unto God’s constitution and determination, predestinating Christ unto that work’, p. 458  being points (1) & (2) in ch. 8 of Of the Death of Christ, in Works, vol. 10

pp. 511552-553 & 591 of Dissertation on Divine Justice  in Works, vol. 10

Owen argues here that God is not obliged by creation and nature to reward anyone for obedience, because all creatures are servants, and hence debtors to God.

The Glory of Christ



No, in Latin

Tossanus, Daniel – pp. 293-294  of Loci, ch. 2 of Praelections on the Epistle of Paul to the Philippians in Theological Works, vol. 2, Commentaries on the Rest of the Epistles of Paul…  (Hanau, 1604)

Tossanus (1541-1602) was a French Reformed theologian.

Polanus, Amandus – ch. 26, cols. 2739-2748, ‘The meritorious cause of it [Christ’s Exaltation] is somewhat controverted’  of Book 6 in A System of Christian Theology, vol. 2 (Hanau, 1609)

Paraeus, David – Doubt 6, out of Heb. 2:9  in A Commentary on the Divine Epistle to the Hebrews of St. Paul the Apostle (Frankfurt, 1609), col. 96

See also Exercitationibus, p. 102, edit. in 8, per Voet

Ames, William – ‘Whether Christ may have yet merited something to Himself?  chs. 9 & 10’  in Bellarmine Enervated (Amsterdam, 1629), vol. 1, Book 2, ‘Of Christ’, ch. 3, sections 17-22, pp. 122-123

Schotanus, Meinardus –  On Phil. 2:9  in Analysis et Commentaria in Epistolam Pauli ad Philippenses, cum Observationibus Earumque Usibus  Ref  (Franeker, 1644)

Maresius, Samuel

pp. 150-151 of the end of Controversy 4, ‘Of Christ’  in A New Synopsis of Elenctic Theology, or an Index of Controversies of the Faith out of the Sacred Scriptures from that which has been produced by the Jesuit Jacob Tirin, with a Continuous Censure, augmented, emended and Refuted, vol. 1 (Groningen, 1648)

Section 6  of ‘A Miscellaneous Disputation containing a Decade of Theological Assertions, Looking at some Difficult Questions’  in A Syllabus of Some Select Disputations, vol. 2 (Groningen, 1663), pp. 220-222  (these pages are mislabeled as pp. 120-122)

Crocius, Johannes – On Phil. 2:9, ‘Wherefore’, pp. 566-567  in A Commentary on the Epistles of St. Paul to the Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, vol. 1 (Frankfurt, 1680), on Philippians, ch. 2, First Part

Crocius (1590-1659) was a German, reformed professor of theology at Marburg.  He cites Matthaeus Martinius (1572-1630) as in favor of the same position.


Matthew Sladus, contra Vorstium




Yes, in English


Bullinger, Henry – Sermon 27 on the Apocalypse, on Rev. 5:5-7; see especially p. 74

Zanchi, Jerome – Ch. 11, Section 15, pp. 70-71 of  Confession of Christian Religion (Cambridge, 1599)  This may be found in the Latin in his Works, vol. 8, cols. 502-503.  Voet and others say that Zanchi makes reference to this same teaching in the Preface to this work (on p. 477 in the Latin), though we have been unable to locate that reference.

“XV.  The Fruits of the Obedience, Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ

And we believe that Christ by his perfect obedience deserved eternal life, not only for Himself but also for us: by his passion and death He satisfied for our sins in his flesh…  and by his resurrection and ascension into heaven He obtained also for us both the resurrections, (as John speaketh, Rev. 20:5) the first and the latter: and that in our name He took unto Himself possession of the heavenly inheritance: and sitteth at the right hand of God (Eph. 1:20), that is, hath taken to Himself power over all things in heaven and in earth…”



Witsius, Herman – Economy of the Covenants, Book 2, ch. 3, sections 28-34

Witsius argues that Christ merited by way of Covenant.  In particular, in the last section on p. 265, he gives an important possible translation of a Greek word in Phil. 2:9.

Edwards, Jonathan – ‘The Excellency of Christ’ [1734], point 5, p. 579  in Sermons and Discourses, 1734-1738 (WJE Online, vol. 19)

“And He suffered from the Father, as one whose demerits were infinite, by reason of our demerits that were laid upon Him.  And yet it was especially by that act of his subjecting Himself to those sufferings, that He merited, and on the account of which chiefly He was accounted worthy of, the glory of his exaltation.  Philippians 2:8–9, “He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death; …wherefore God hath highly exalted Him.” And we see that ’tis on this account chiefly, that He is extolled as worthy by saints and angels in the context; “Worthy,” say they, “is the Lamb that was slain.…”  This shows an admirable conjunction in him of infinite dignity, and infinite condescension and love to the infinitely unworthy.”

See also:  Craig Biehl, The Infinite Merit of Christ: The Glory of Christ’s Obedience in the Theology of Jonathan Edwards  Buy  (Pilgrim’s Rock, 2014)



Smeaton, George – End of Section 14, point 4, on Phil. 2:9, pp. 295-296  in The Doctrine of the Atonement as Taught by the Apostles…  (Edinburgh, 1870)

Bavinck, Herman – Reformed Dogmatics (Baker, 2006), 3:432-436

“…given the teaching of Scripture, no other answer is possible.  For over and over it presents the state of humiliation as the way and the means by which alone Christ can attain his exaltation (Isa. 53:10-12; Mt. 23:12; Lk. 24:26; Jn. 10:17; 17:4-5; Phil. 2:9; Heb. 2:10; 12:2)…  Especially the Letter to the Hebrews repeatedly puts a heavy accent on this meritorious connection between Christ’s humiliation and exaltation (1:3; 2:9-10; 5:7-10; 10:12; 12:2)…” – p. 434

Vos, Geerhardus – Ch. 5, ‘States’, #43, p. 218  in Reformed Dogmatics, vol. 3, Christology (Lexham Press, 2014)

“43. What is the connection of the exaltation of the Mediator to His humiliation?

The connection of legal consequence.  Christ is Mediator not as a private person but as an official person, as Head of His members.  Hence He must receive the fruits of His merits in Himself.  And as He did not suffer for Himself, so too He was not glorified for Himself.”



Moek, Greg – Westminster Larger Catechism 39 ff.  Merit, Christ’s Human Nature And The Law – Parts I & II  Handout

Moek is a Ruling Elder at First Orthodox Presbyterian Church in San Francisco, CA.



Yes, in Latin

Zanchi, Jerome

On Phil. 2:9, cols. 121-124 & On Phil. 3:9, col. 194  in vol. 6  of The Theological Works, in 8 vols.  (Geneva, 1619), bound with vols. 4 & 5

“By this particle, dio, ‘wherefore’, the apostle notes the merits of Christ, whereby he hath merited his own exaltation and our salvation.” – col. 122

Piscator, Johannes

Commentaries on all the Books of the Old Testament (Herborn, 1646) on Phil. 2:9

Theological Theses, vol. 3, place 25 ff.

confer the notes to ch. 16, section 32, p. 281 ff.

Gomar, Francis

End of Section 1, pp. 230-231 in Disputation 22, ‘Of the Merit of Christ and its Efficacy’  in Gomarus, Arminius, Trelcatius, Jr. – A System of Theological Disputations, in the Academy at Lugduni-Batava  (Rotterdam, 1615)

Theological Works, vol. 1, p. 230 ff.

Explict. Verborum Apostoli, Works, 1.532  on Phil. 2:9

30th Theological Disputation of the Cycle, ‘On the Merit of Christ & his Benefits toward Us’  (Leiden, 1599)  It does not appear that the question of Christ meriting for Himself is addressed in this disputation.

Gomarus (1563-1641)

Rivet, on Isa. 53:11, Theological Works (Rotterdam, 1652), vol. 2, pp. 836-837


All the Theological Works, 1.305, 888

Corollario ad Positiones de Christo Servatore, works, vol. 1, p. 305

with Turretin?  held 1614, as in his Syntagmati, 1645 by Cloppenburg, per Voet

Exerc. Theol., place 8, disputation 4, sections 17-21, and same pp. 888-889

Burman, Francis – ch. 15, ‘Of the Surety of the Covenant of Grace’, sections 13-15, pp. 492-494  in A Synopsis of Theology, and especially of the Economies of the Covenant of God… (Utrecht, 1671), vol. 1, Book 2, Locus 11, ‘Of the Constitution of the Covenant of Grace’

“Since this exaltation was due the Son in terms of the pact, his obedience and submission was of the nature of true merit strictly so called, and it came first for his own glory not only antecedently, as some would have it, but also meritoriously.” – Section 14, trans. Heppe, Reformed Dogmatics, 19.5

Burman argues that this meriting by ‘pact’ may be called a condign merit, not in that the work and reward are strictly equal, but in that there was a proportionality between his righteous work and the reward given.

Nicolaus Arnold – Heinrich Echardi, Lutherani, scopae dissolutae seu Fasciculus ejus controver siarum succincte refutatus et Quadraginta publicis disputationibus in Academia Franekerana dissolutus  Ref  (Franeker, 1654; 1676), ch. 7, question 2, p. 154

Arnold (1618-1680) was a reformed professor of theology at Franeker.

Voetius, Gisbert – 7th Problem, ‘Whether Christ Merited to Himself Anything?’, pp. 265-267  in Disputation 16, Problems of the Merit of Christ, part 3  in Select Theological Disputations, vol. 2 (Utrecht, 1655)  See in general the five disputations on the Problems of the Merit of Christ, Disputations 14-18, pp. 228-286

Ravensperger, Herman – Inquiry 3, ‘Of those things which Christ Fore-Merited to Himself’  in Florilegium Theologicum, hoc est, Disputationes Sacrae (Offenbach, 1612), pp. 169-170

Ravensperger (1586-1625) was a German reformed professor of theology.

Van Mastrict, Theologia V.14.7


Corpus, vol. 2, XVIII.39

Vitringa, 5.585 ff., thesis 115

Johanne Marck, Compendium, ch. 21.3

de Moor, Bernard – end of section 17, p. 600  of ch. 18, ‘Of the Mediator of the Covenant of Grace’  in vol. 3 of A Perpetual Commentary on John Marck’s Compendium… (Leiden, 1765)

Johanne Rudolph, Christian Theology, book 4, ch. 5, section 3, p. 367



In the Middle and/or Non-Committal


Daille, Jean – On Phil. 2:9, pp. 164-169  of Sermon 10 on Phil. 2:9-11  in An Exposition of the Epistle of St. Paul to the Philippians (Philadelphia, 1841)

Daille says that Christ’s exaltation after his humiliation “may be something more than a single consequence and order of dependence.  I willingly admit that his glory was the fruit of his cross, and his exaltation the effect of his humiliation.” (p. 166)  Daille says that Christ would have received the same reward for his humiliation even if the Father had not made such promises to Him, due to God’s good nature to bless those who do good. (p. 167)

However, in opposition to Romanists, Daille argues that the proposition that Christ, properly speaking, merited this reward, “cannot be proved by Scripture,” (p. 167) and he gives several arguments to this effect.  “…they do not prove that He [God] had regard to it [Christ’s work of humiliation] in his justice, in such a way as that He could not have given Him less without being unjust.” (p. 168)

Taylor, William – Sermon 15, ‘Christ’s Exaltation’, pp. 237-239 on Phil. 2:9  in Puritan Sermons (London, 1845), vol. 5

Taylor says that some divines held that Christ was “Even as a prince, who though he hath right to a kingdom by inheritance and succession, yet he will accept of it as a reward of his obedience and conquest over its enemies.” (p. 238)

Yet he says that understanding the connective particle of Phil. 2:9 as conveying the connection between an antecedent and consequent “is that to which most our Protestant divines do incline.” (p. 238)

Taylor also cites Daniel Featley and Anthony Burgess as giving the judgment that “there need be no controversy about this thing [the interpretation of ‘wherefore’ in Phil. 2:9]; for the particle dio notes order; but, whether the order of causality or antecedency, or both, may be consistent with the analogy of faith.”



Junius, Francis

Section 11  of #29, ‘Of the Humiliation & Exaltation of Jesus Christ’ in Select Shorter Theological Works, ed. Kuyper (Amsterdam, 1882), p. 200

Ch. 9, cols. 629-631 of Animadversions on the Second Controversy of Robert Bellarmine, of Christ the Head of the Whole Church, in Theological Works, vol. 2 (Geneva, 1607)

Voet places Junius in the middle.

Leidecker Of the True Reformed Religion, Book 1, pp. 180-182

Altingius – Theological Problems, Part 1, problem 43, p. 88 ff.

Not properly merited, but improperly said to be merited.  So Vitringa.



Patrick Gillespie on Cov. of Redemption

Rutherford, covenant of life opened,

Dickson Therapeutica Sacra

Other Scottish Commentaries on the Epistles

Add Ravensperger work to systematic theologies


Yes & No  Both/And

See also William Taylor in Non-Committal above.


Ross, Alexander – Footnote on p. 158  on ch. 19.6 of Johannes Wolleb, The Abridgment of Christian Divinity, ed. Alexander Ross, 3rd ed. (London, 1660), pp. 158-159

Poole, Matthew – pp. 186-187 of ‘Of the Merit of Good Works’  in Dialogue Between a Popish Priest and an English Protestant (Philadelphia, 1843)

Poole argues that Christ purchased his glorification in respect of his human nature, though He inherited it with respect to his divine nature.  He also says that Christ’s divine person gave a dignity to his human actions which made them proportionable to the glory He received (whereas this is not the case with us).





Chamier, Daniel

Book 5, chs. 12 & 13, ‘Of the Merits of Christ’ & ‘Whether Christ May Have Merited to Himself?’  in A Body of Theology, or Theological Common Places (Geneva, 1653), pp. 220-222

Ch. 8, ‘Whether Christ may have Merited to Himself?’  in Book 7, ‘Of the Office of the Mediator: of Mediation According to the Natures’  in Panstratiae Catholicae, vol. 2, Of God & the Worship of God (Geneva, 1626), pp. 256-260

Danaeus, Lambert – in response to Bellarmine, Theological Disputations on Theological Controversies, Controversy 2, book 5, ch. 10




On Lutheranism

Herman Bavinck

Reformed Dogmatics, vol. 3.433

“…the Lutherans could not speak of any reward and exaltation for Christ.  For according to them, the human nature of Christ shared in the divine attributes of omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence already from the moment of the incarnation.  It therefore first received these attributes not as a reward for the mediatorial work done in the state of humiliation but already before hand, in virtue or its union with the divine nature, and also kept them throughout, be it that in his humiliation Christ did not make use of them, at least no public use.  The exaltation was not a true and real exaltation, but only a matter of using, or publicly using, that which He already possessed from the beginning.  It was not the outcome of an antecedent human development but merely a glorious manifestation of what He already was and possessed in secret.ª

ª J. Gerhard, Loci theologici, ed. E. Preuss, 9 vols. (Berlin: G. Schlawitz, 1863-75), IV, 329; J. Quenstedt, Theologia, III, 324; D. Hollaz, Examen, 748; J.F. Buddeus, Inst. theol., 787.”



On Quenstedt

As quoted in Robert Franks, A History of the Doctrine of the Work of Christ (Wipf & Stock, 2001), Part 3, ch. 6p. 425

“The eighth question is, whether Christ by his obedience merited anything for Himself.  Here Quenstedt attacks Lombard, Thomas, Socinus, and others, That Christ merited only for us follows not only from the dignity of his Person, but from the communicatio idiomatum, whereby his human nature (except so far as our redemption required) lacked nothing.  Besides, if He merited worship for Himself, how then could He have been worshipped in his earthly life?  Moreover, as his merit and satisfaction are really one, if He merited for Himself, then He also satisfied for Himself.  As to the name above every name, He had it already by right.  Quenstedt repeats against the Romanists the argument of Calvin, that they confound the relation of antecedent and consequent with that of cause and effect.  To the Socinian argument, that if Christ did not merit for Himself He could not merit for us, he replies that He could do this, just because He was not mere man, but God.”

Schmid, Heinrich – Section C, ‘The States of Christ’, pp. 386-387  of Part 3, Ch. 2 of The Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, Verified from the Original Sources, 4th ed., rev. (Philadelphia: Lutheran Publication Society, 1899)

Schmid quotes David Hollaz (1648-1713) for ‘No’ on Phil. 2:9 and then summarizes the numerous, detailed arguments of John Gerhard (1582-1637) for the same position.



Walchius, Christian William Francis – Section 17, pp. 85-86  of A Commentary on the Active Obedience of Christ  (Gottingen, 1755)

Walchius answers ‘No’, as most Lutherans.



Early Church


As quoted by William Taylor, Sermon 15, ‘Christ’s Exaltation’  in Puritan Sermons, vol. 5, p. 237

“The humiliation of Christ is the meritorious cause of exaltation; and his exaltation is the reward of his humiliation.”





Anselm – Book 2, Ch. 19  of Cur Deus Homo [Why God Became Man]  (London & Sydney: Griffith, Farran, 189?), pp. 104-107

Anselm (c.1033-1109) was an Italian Benedictine monk, abbot, philosopher and theologian who held the office of Archbishop of Canterbury.

“Anselm said that by his non-obligatory and totally voluntary death, Christ indeed merited a reward but that, since He Himself already possessed all things, He had relinquished it to his own.” – Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, 3.432



Hugo St. Victor – Question 6 on Philippians, col. 578   in Migne, PL 175

Hugo (c. 1096-1141) was a Saxon canon regular and a leading theologian and writer on mystical theology.

“It is asked whether Christ merited anything?  Solution:  For us He merited, not for Himself.” – col. 578

Dubious Writings sometimes attributed to Hugo St. Victor – pp. 887-888  in Allegories on the New Testament  in Migne, PL 175

“It is able to be conceded that Christ merited immortality, that is, He exhibited such obedience as deserved such remuneration.  It is asked whether Christ merited for us in all of his works equally?…”

Scotus, John Duns

Scotus Academicus, or the Universal Dogmatic Theology of the Subtle Doctor, vol. 7, Of the Incarnation of the Divine Word  (Rome, 1901)

1st Tract, 1st Disputation, 3rd Article, ‘Of the Causes of the Incarnation’

Section 2, ‘Of the Moral & Meritorious Cause of the Incarnation’, Question 1, pp. 242-250

p. 481
p. 591
p. 621
p. 630
p. 642
p. 652-659

Wycliff, John – ch. 14, p. 305  of A Tract on the Church (London, 1886)

Wycliff (c. 1320’s–1384) was an English scholastic philosopher, theologian, Biblical translator, reformer, priest, and a seminary professor at the University of Oxford. He became an influential dissident within the Roman Catholic priesthood during the 14th century and is considered an important predecessor to Protestantism.




See Bavinck for a summary


Aquinas, Summa, 3, quest. 19, article 3; quest. 48, article 1; question 49, article 6

Bonaventure, Breviloquium, 4.7

Lombard, Peter – Book 3, Distinction 18, ‘If Christ Merited to Himself & to Us, & what to Himself & What to Us?’, cols. 792-795  of The Sentences in Four Books  in Migne, 192

Lombard (c.1100-1160) was a scholastic theologian, Bishop of Paris, and author of Four Books of Sentences, which became the standard textbook of theology, for which he earned the accolade ‘Master of the Sentences’.

Bellarmine, Controversies, vol. 1, book 5, of Christ the Mediator, chs. 9-10, cols. 583-586

Opposes Calvin on this.




Faustus Socinus

As quoted in J.V. Fesko, ‘Socinus & the Racovian Catechism on Justification’  being ch. 13 in Michael Parsons, Aspects of Reforming: Theology & Practice in Sixteenth Century Europe  (Paternoster, 2013)

“Calvin rules out this interpretation with sufficient clarity when he denies that Christ gained merit for Himself, and censured the Scholastics who taught that He did.  Calvin’s censure would have been completely unwarranted if Christ could have merited reward for Himself in any way at all.  He felt that it was enough to show that Christ could not merit reward for Himself as God for God, or as man for man.  Calvin just takes it for granted that one nature could not merit reward for the other.  And rightfully so.”




Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?

Lk. 24:26

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.”

Heb. 2:9

“I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.  And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”

Jn. 17:4-5




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