Saturday, December 26, 2009

Our plight, a question, an answer

From The Justification of God by John Piper (Piper, John. The Future of Justification A Response to N. T. Wright. New York: Crossway Books, 2007)

Our plight:
Thus the moral righteousness he requires of us is the same—that we unwaveringly love and uphold the glory of God. He does not demand that we glorify him part of the time or that we glorify him with pretty good zeal. His demand is unwavering and complete allegiance of heart, soul, mind, and strength. But we have all failed. That is our unrighteousness. “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men . . . they did not glorify him as God . . . and [they] exchanged the glory of the immortal God” (Rom. 1:18, 21, 23, author’s translation). This is why we are on trial in God’s law-court. We have exchanged the glory of God for images and failed to glorify and thank him but have dishonored God by breaking the law (Rom. 2:23) and caused his name to be blasphemed among the nations (Rom. 2:24). So none of us is righteous, not even one (Rom. 3:10). That is the charge against every member of the human race. (164-5)

The question:
The question, then, that we posed earlier is: When the Judge finds in our favor, does he count us as having the required God-glorifying moral righteousness—an unwavering allegiance in heart and mind and behavior? And does this counting us as righteous happen because we meet this requirement for perfect God-glorifying allegiance in our own heart and mind and behavior, or because God’s righteousness is counted as ours in Christ? (165)

Piper's answer:
Yes, the latter is what I believe happens in justification. God counts us as having his righteousness in Christ because we are united to Christ by faith alone. That is, we are counted as perfectly honoring and displaying the glory of God, which is the essence of God’s righteousness, and which is also a perfect fulfilling of the law. This is what God imputes to us and counts us as having because we are in Christ who perfectly honored God in his sinless life. It is not nonsense. It is true and precious beyond words. (165)

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