“…Wright argues that the church has misunderstood the doctrine of justification for centuries. Justification, he argues, does not deal with how one becomes a Christian. instead it is a declaration that one is already a Christian. Also, according to Wright, justification does not involve the imputation of Christ’s righteousness because such an idea is nonsensical. Furthermore, our future justification is based on our whole life, or as Wright says, on the basis of our “works.” This future verdict, based on works, is received in the present by faith. The reason for the controversy should be evident.” [“When Wright Is Wrong,” Keith A. Mathison, in Tabletalk, Ligonier Ministries, January 2008, p. 74-75.]
He goes on to recommend a book by John Piper called The Future of Justification. I am working my way through it now, and I find it helpful. It applies Piper’s argument from Counted Righteous in Christ to the situation.
I am angered by the controversy. It’s a personal issue for me. If my inclusion in Christ’s family depends in any way on my works, I am in very deep, dark, trouble. It’s “Christ Alone,” being saved entirely by what Christ did for me as opposed to what I do for myself, or it is nothing. I am credited with Christ’s righteousness or I have no credit on account. Like the old hymn says, “Nothing in my hand I bring; simply to thy cross I cling.”
[Added 2/27/08: please see John Piper's comments here.)