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A Response to N. T. WrightBefore I ever cracked open The Future of Justification, I knew that John Piper’s main area of disagreement with N.T. Wright would be on the doctrine of imputation. Chapter 11 lays out Piper’s reasons for retaining belief in the traditional Reformed view of imputation.

Piper begins by returning to the definition of righteousness he provided earlier (one that does not stay on the surface of what righteousness does) (164-165). He then takes on Wright again for his reductionistic definition of righteousness and for the “confusing” way that Wright speaks of justification (165-167).

The rest of the chapter contains brief expositions of the relevant Bible passages that seem to affirm the doctrine of imputation as traditionally defined by Reformed exegesis (167-175). Piper seeks to prove Wright wrong by pasting together the texts that support imputation and providing brief exegetical reasons for seeing imputation as a central motif of the texts.

Despite some minor quibbles here and there (I disagree with Piper’s take on 1 Cor. 1:30), I am largely in agreement with Piper’s understanding of imputation. I take great comfort in the “Wondrous Exchange” that Luther affirmed – wherein sinners take Christ’s righteousness and Christ takes our sin.

And yet, I believe the “Wondrous Exchange” is even more wondrous than Piper affirms in this chapter. We receive so much more than righteousness. Christ has identified with us, represented us, substituted himself for us. He becomes all that we are and we receive all that he has to offer.

written by Trevin Wax  © 2007 Kingdom People blog


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0 thoughts on “Future of Justification 17: Righteousness of Christ”

  1. Luke says:

    Trevin,

    You may be interested in this article by Michael Bird. He mentions Piper often regarding Counted Righteous in Christ:

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3817/is_200406/ai_n9456267

  2. Trevor,

    I believe Piper will also agree with your statement, “And yet, I believe the “Wondrous Exchange” is even more wondrous than Piper affirms in this chapter. We receive so much more than righteousness. Christ has identified with us, represented us, substituted himself for us. He becomes all that we are and we receive all that he has to offer.”

    If you have a chance, do listen to Piper’s series on the Book of Romans (check out his website to hear the series at your convenience), you will see my justification. Please do not misread me. I understand your argument but as I continue reading Piper and listening to his sermons, I strongly agree his understanding of Christ’s righteousness is not that exclusive as it appears to be.

    Blessings,
    Lou
    Lou

  3. Trevor,

    I was wondering if you’ve read Vicker’s dissertation on the doctrine of imputation.

  4. Nick says:

    Personally, I don’t care for the way this approach to imputation can make the discussion sound like it’s some kind of transaction or exchange of goods and services. It just seems excessively mechanistic.

    At the same time, I think that there’s tons of value in the ‘sharing’, ‘participation’, etc being the starting point for discussions when the doctrine of the incarnation meets the doctrine of salvation (ie in deification, theosis, etc).

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Trevin Wax


​Trevin Wax is Bible and Reference Publisher at LifeWay Christian Resources and managing editor of The Gospel Project. You can follow him on Twitter or receive blog posts via email. Click here for Trevin’s full bio.

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