Are we justified by faith or works?

Over at Ref21 Rick Phillips has posted a clear and concise rebuttal of N.T. Wright's contention that our future justification before God will be based upon our works. Many of us have been troubled by the influence of N.T. Wright within evangelicalism. Certainly his work on the historical reality of Christ's resurrection is outstanding (perhaps the best). However his redefining of the doctrine of justification is troubling to say the least.

Pastor Phillips writes:

N. T. Wright's new book does not introduce his teaching of "future justification according to works," as the teaching is usually expressed. Rather, this doctrine that has long been present in his writing is now declared plainly and directly. We can summarize Wright's teaching on future justification in 3 points:

Point #1: Present justification does not precisely equal future justification. Wright points to the final judgment of God as the eschatological terminus of justification, which is only anticipated in present justification. (This itself is not a controversial statement.) The question is the relationship of present justification to future
justification. Are the two essentially the same, as classic Reformed theology puts it, so that final vindication merely republishes present justification through faith alone? Wright argues that while present justification anticipates future justification, the two are not essentially the same, as follows.

Point #2: Whereas present justification is according to faith, future justification is according to works. Wright bases his position in large part on Romans chapter 2. Classic Reformed theology has seen Romans 2 as Paul's condemnation of Jewish attempts at law-righteousness. Contrary to this opinion, Wright and others see here a positive teaching of justification:"it is... the doers of the law who will be justified" (
Rom. 2:13). Wright describes this verse as setting forth the true way of justification, commenting, "Justification, at the last, will be on the basis of performance." [1] Here, Wright says, Paul plainly affirms a final justification according to works. Whereas classic Reformed theology sees justification based on faith alone, to which works are a necessary attestation, Wright reverses this, seeing final justification as based on good works, to which faith was a pledge and anticipation. Justification through faith places us on a path that is marked by good works, which good works serve as the basis for our final justification.

Read the entire post HERE.