This is the first part of my review of the seventh chapter of N. T. Wright's, Justification: God's Plan and Paul's Vision, Wright's response to John Piper's book, The Future of Justification. I'm sorry to say that I grow weary, so I will give you some gasps and then collapse on the finish line.
Chapters reviewed thus far:
Chapter 1: What's it all about and why does it matter
Chapter 2: Rules of engagement
Chapter 3: First Century Judaism
Chapter 4: Justification: Definitions and Puzzles
Chapter 5: Exegesis of Galatians
Chapter 6: Interlude: Philippians, Corinthians, Ephesians
And now we begin the 70 some page finale, "Romans." The first of my final gasps is on Wright's treatment of 1:16-17 (pp. 153-58)--"I am not ashamed of the gospel... in it the righteousness of God is revealed."
Basically, Wright supposes that if the Latin had not translated the key word righteousness with iustitia and if that had not gone into the categories of Roman thought... then "nobody would ever have supposed that the 'righteousness' in question in Romans 1.17 was anything other than God's own 'righteousness', unveiled, as in a great apocalypse, before the watching world" (154).
And if this thought had not been detached from its Jewish moorings, "nobody would have supposed that 'God's righteousness' was anything other than his faithfulness to the covenant, to Israel, and beyond that again to the whole of creation" (154).
Then Wright takes this thought and gives us a foreshadowing of the rest of the chapter, which is the playing out of his interpretation of this verse. Apart from the melodrama, I agree that the "righteousness of God" refers to His propensity to be faithful in justice and in relationship with His people and His creation. I think Wright might be okay with that last sentence of mine. But he would load the words with more meaning than I do.
This is my first dying gasp.