We should store up merits to offset times of demerits



Jack Hyles, the late pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana (FBCH), taught that one should store up merits (works) to offset times of demerits (sins). If you have enough in reserve, God will forgive your sin and put you back in business.




We Christians must do good works because Paul says to the Ephesians: “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10); we must do them so that men may see them and glorify our Father in heaven (cf. Matthew 5:16). Of course good works are merits that a Christian stores up before God, this is why the Scripture says that in that day each one of us will receive his own reward according to his good works. However, far be it from us to think that we need to store up merits to offset times of demerits. In other words, far be it from us to think that we need to do good works so that when we sin the Lord will forgive our sins because of our good works we have done, because such a thought would lead us to believe that somehow we can merit the forgiveness of sins through our good works, which is not true because we sons of God receive the forgiveness of our sins by the grace of God through our faith in Christ when we confess them to God. Jesus said that we must say to God, “Forgive us our debts” (Matthew 6:12 – NKJV), and John says: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9) and again: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:1-2). Therefore, no matter how many good works we may have done, if we confess our sins we are sure God will forgive us our sins because He is faithful and just. He will forgive us by His grace, and not because of some merits we have stored up. If forgiveness of sins were by works it would no longer be by grace, and we would attach more importance to our merits and sacrifices than to the sacrifice of Christ and His merits, and in this way we would nullify His sacrifice and the efficacy of His atoning death. Therefore, be careful brothers, for this teaching is a diabolical teaching, it is a teaching similar to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church which affirms that the forgiveness of mortal sins committed after baptism is obtained not only by faith but also by works (actually it is obtained only by works), that’s why after the priest absolves the penitent he tells him to do some good works, because in that way the penitent can merit the forgiveness of his sins, he can be fully forgiven, even though the forgiveness is never complete because there are always some debts of temporal punishment to be discharged in purgatory. Brothers, be zealous for good works, but do not do them in order to offset times of demerits. If you sin, confess your sins to God and forsake them, and the Lord will have mercy on you and will forgive you.