This past Sunday we sang “All Sufficient Merit” for the first time in our church gathering (here is a link to the song). It is a gospel-filled song and I hope that this Easter season it is an encouragement and reminder to you of the great salvation we have.
Perhaps the first question someone might have about this song is what is meant by merit? Many of us have been ingrained with the idea that grace (a free gift) and merit (something earned) are opposed to each other, and for good reason. Ephesians 2:8-9 says “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Salvation is God’s work of grace and cannot be earned. The merit mentioned in the song, though, is not from man. It is Christ’s perfect life, death, and resurrection- God’s wrath for our sins being poured on him as an acceptable sacrifice. Now Christ’s merit is applied to us through grace by faith in Christ and we are declared not only right with God, but we have received his righteousness as our own!
This justification, being declared right with God, has many glorious implications mentioned by the song:
“The law could never save us”- We could not earn enough merit to make ourselves right with God- it’s not possible! Galatians 2:16 says “we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.”
“It is done, it is finished, no more debt I owe”- Our salvation is accomplished and secured by Christ. We don’t have to keep striving to earn our own acceptance with God- in Christ we already have his favor! And not only that- all our sin debt has been dealt with on the cross. “He canceled the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” -Colossians 2:14.
“All sufficient merit now my own”-Now when God looks at me, he sees Christ’s merit, his righteousness. “For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.” -Romans 5:17-18.
“No more fear of judgment, his righteousness is mine”-Another massive result of having Christ’s righteousness is that we do not have to live in fear of God’s judgment. We receive mercy and hope through Christ’s work. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” -Romans 8:1.
This is just a sample of the truths in this song. Thinking through these things should cause us to come to a few conclusions: I was helpless to make myself right with God. His work was sufficient and perfect and complete. I now have right standing with God and hope for eternity to come.
I hope that these truths spur you on to worship with us. Whether you had a fleshly week, a week when you felt legalism creeping into your thoughts or actions, or simply were numb to the realities of the gospel- this is the hope and truth we need:
It is done, it is finished, no more debt I owe. Paid in full, all sufficient merit now my own.