Future of Justification 17: Righteousness of Christ
Before 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.