Ridderbos and N.T. Wright on Future Justification

Chapters 1-8 (for Everyone)

Wright on future justification: “This declaration [justification] will be made on the last day on the basis of an entire life (Romans 2.1-16); …the means of…present justification is simply faith” (Tom Wright, Paul For Everyone: Romans Part One [Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2004], 169).  See also page 31: “Sometimes Christians have imagined that Paul’s doctrine of ‘justification by faith’ means the abolition of a final judgment according to works, but Paul never says that.  His theology is more robust than many traditions have given him credit for.  He can look the world in the face and speak of the justice of God.”

An Outline of His Theology

And now Herman Ridderbos:  “Yet this does not mean that justification by faith may be said to be the initial judicial act of God, which takes place in the present, and which is then to be followed in the final judgment by a justification on the grounds of works”  (Herman Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of His Theology trans. J. R De Witt [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975], 180).

Shane Lems

sunnyside, wa

4 thoughts on “Ridderbos and N.T. Wright on Future Justification”

  1. Some days I wonder why on earth people actually WANT to be justified by works, when they can be justified by grace. I’m convinced that that’s the reason any of this nonsense gets any traction. People want to believe that they participate in their own salvation. I can’t imagine why. I myself am lazy. I’d much rather Christ earn it for me.


  2. Lazy or not no one can be justified by their own works. But something in us just seems to want to try. Legend has it that Buddha, just before his death, left his disciples with these last words: “Work out your own salvation with all diligence.” Budhimsm has the 8-fold path, Islam has the 5 pillars, AA has 12 steps, What’s his name has 45 days of purpose driving, Bible Belters have “I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t chew, and I don’t go with girls that do.”
    We can’t help it. It’s in our nature to want to keep the Law in order to justify ourselves. It’s the “stoichea tou kosmou” (the manner of the world under the curse) that Paul talks about in Col 2:20. But try as we might to run up that never ending escalator we will always find ourselves back at the bottom. Rom 3:23 says we fall short of the glory of God that Adam should have won for us. But faith (not works) depends on Christ alone for our complete salvation. As Adam’s works condemned us all, Christ’s good works are our only comfort in life and in death (Rom 5:18).


  3. I think that “Tom” is his moniker for his popular level audience . . . “pastor Tom” or “Tom, the guy next door with the nice lawn-mower.” N.T., however, is what he uses for his more scholarly audience.

    The _____ for everyone series is *definitely* aimed at the lay audience, hence the use of “Tom.” Unfortunately this means that the NPP has been lubed up really well in order to slide it down the throats of the person in the pew . . . sigh.


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