The future of justification

The future of justification

A response to N. T. Wright

John Piper examines Paul's teaching on justification in response to the New Perspective.

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Tom Wright's rearticulation of the New Testament theology of the gospel and justification by faith has exerted significant influence amongst scholars and the wider Christian public. John Piper offers a fruitful engagement with, and critique of, Wright's position.

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  • Introduction
  • On Controversy
  • 1. Caution: Not All Biblical-Theological Methods and Categories Are Illuminating
  • 2. The Relationship between Covenant and Law-Court Imagery for Justification
  • 3. The Law-Court Dynamics of Justification and the Meaning of God's Righteousness
  • 4. The Law-Court Dynamics of Justification and the Necessity of Real Moral Righteousness
  • 5. Justification and the Gospel: When Is the Lordship of Jesus Good News?
  • 6. Justification and the Gospel: Does Justification Determine Our Standing with God?
  • 7. The Place of Our Works in Justification
  • 8. Does Wright Say with Different Words What the Reformed Tradition Means by "Imputed Righteousness"?
  • 9. Paul's Structural Continuity with Second-Temple Judaism?
  • 10. The Implications for Justification of the Single Self-Righteous Root of "Ethnic Badges" and "Self-Help Moralism"
  • 11. "That in Him We Might Become the Righteousness of God"
  • Conclusion
  • A Note on the Purpose of the Appendices
  • Appendicies
  • 1. What Does It Mean That Israel Did Not "Attain the Law" Because She Pursued It "Not by Faith But as though It Were by Works"?
  • Thoughts on Romans 9:30–10:4
  • 2. Thoughts on Law and Faith in Galatians 3
  • 3. Thoughts on Galatians 5:6 and the Relationship between Faith and Love
  • 4. Using the Law Lawfully: Thoughts on 1 Timothy 1:5–11 207
  • 5. Does the Doctrine of the Imputation of Christ's Righteousness Imply That the Cross Is Insufficient for Our Right Standing with God?
  • 6. Twelve Theses on What It Means to Fulfill the Law: With Special Reference to Romans 8:4


Author John Piper
ISBN 9781844742509
Format Paperback
First published January 2012
Dimensions 138mm x 216mm x 17mm
Print size 10pt
Language English
Pages 240
Publisher IVP

D A Carson

Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois

The so-called 'New Perspective on Paul' has stirred up enormous controversy ... Certain parts of John Piper's book have quietly broken new ground ... The issues are not secondary, and, pastor that he is, John Piper will not allow believers to put their trust in anyone or anything other than the crucified and resurrected Savior.

Peter T O'Brien

Senior Research Fellow, Moore Theological College, Sydney, Australia

John Piper's challenging yet courteous book takes issue with Bishop Tom Wright's major theses regarding Paul's teaching on justification ... This is a serious critique of one of the foremost representatives of the New Perspective on Paul and deserves to be read by all who want to understand more fully and rejoice in God's righteousness in Christ and his justifying the ungodly.

Independent reviews

The future of justification

Tim Challies,, November 6th 2007

What I appreciate most about Piper’s book most how biblically based it is. When Wright declares “What I’m saying is in the Bible,” Piper both graciously and devastatingly meets him in theological disputation on Wright’s own terms – biblical exegesis. While Piper does briefly appeal to theological work accomplished by others, including the founding Anglican theologians who wrote the Thirty-Nine Articles, Luther’s colleague Philipp Melanchthon, the framers of the Helvetic confessions, the Westminster divines, and Westminster’s Richard Gaffin (not to mention CREC pastor Douglas Wilson and Piper’s own theological assistants at Desiring God), Piper establishes his arguments primarily on extensive scriptural exegesis rather than standing on the shoulders of a tradition that Wright routinely criticizes.... continue reading

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The future of justification | John Piper | £11.99 £9.59