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Wright is Wrong on Justification

August 27, 2017

 

The biblical teaching of justification by faith alone was one of the distinguishing marks of the Protestant Reformation. It is a non-negotiable 'red line' for all who value true theology.

 

As Dr. Thomas L. Schreiner points out in an excellent article, famous commentator N.T. Wright is wrong in his stance on justification. 

 

Wright states in his book, 'Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision,' (p. 232):

 

"It is therefore a straightforward category mistake, however venerable within some Reformed traditions including part of my own, to suppose that Jesus ‘obeyed the law’ and so obtained ‘righteousness’ which could be reckoned to those who believe in him. …It is not the ‘righteousness’ of Jesus Christ which is ‘reckoned’ to the believer. It is his death and resurrection."

 

A full exposure of Wright's error on this critical doctrine may be found here – 'Wright Is Wrong on Imputation.'

 

The closing paragraph of this article deserves to be replicated here:

 

"Wright insists that no judge in the courtroom can give his righteousness to the defendant. The mistake Wright makes here is astonishing, for he should know that the meaning and the significance of the law court in Scripture cannot be exhausted by its cultural background.

 

In other words, it is true that in human courtrooms the judge does not and cannot give his righteousness to the defendant. But we see the distinctiveness of the biblical text and the wonder and the glory of the gospel precisely here. God is not restricted by the rules of human courtrooms. This is a most unusual courtroom indeed, for the judge delivers up His own Son to pay the penalty. That doesn’t happen in human courtrooms! And the judge gives us His own righteousness (see Philippians 3:9 and 2 Corinthians 5:21).

 

The biblical text, then, specifically teaches that God, as the divine judge, gives us His righteousness. When we are united to Christ by faith, all that Christ is belongs to us. Hence, we stand in the right before God because we are in Christ. Our righteousness, then, is not in ourselves. We rejoice that we enjoy the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ. Once again, moral character enters the picture, contrary to Wright. We stand in the right before God because our sins have been forgiven and because we enjoy the righteousness of Jesus Christ." 

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