"'merit' designates man's right to be rewarded for a work done for God. The conception has its foundation in the Bible, where in both the OT and the NT rewards are promised to the just for their good works. . . . The term appears to have been first employed by Tertullian, who already recognizes diversity of merit followed by diversity of reward. . . . This doctrine was endorsed by Cyprian, Augustine (partly), and the later Fathers, until the theology of merit was fully developed by the Schoolmen. . . .
"The traditional doctrine of merit was repudiated by the Reformers, esp. by M. Luther, who taught the sinfulness of all human works whether done before or after justification. Most subsequent Protestant theology has denied that merit is a valid Christian category. . . ."
"merit" The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Ed. F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingstone. © Oxford University Press 2005. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church: (e-reference edition). Oxford University Press. Seattle Pacific University. 8 May 2012 http://ezproxy.spu.edu/login?url=http://www.oxford-christianchurch.com/entry?entry=t257.e4493