I am slowly reading through John Piper’s book The Future of Justification: A Response to N.T. Wright (hopefully I’ll actually finish it at some point). Today I came across the portion quoted below, and I can only respond with a hearty (and joyful), “AMEN!”:
(From The Future of Justification, pages 63-64) – It is not very satisfying simply to say that God’s righteousness is his commitment to do what is right, because it leaves the term “right” undefined. We don’t feel like we have gained very much in defining “righteousness” if we use the word “right” to define it. To be sure, it is not an insignificant thing to say to a child, “God is the kind of Person who always knows and loves and does what is right.” That is a wise and true thing to say. But someday that child is going to become a teenager and ask, “How does God decide what is right? Who tells God what is right? Is there a book of laws or rules that God has to obey?” Answering those questions gets at the deeper meaning of righteousness. What is the “right” to which God is unswervingly committed?
The answer is that there is no book of laws or rules that God consults to know what is right. He wrote the book. What we find therefore in the Old Testament and in Paul is that God defines “right” in terms of himself. There is no other standard to consult than his own infinitely worthy being. Thus, what is right, most ultimately, is what upholds the value and honor of God – what esteems and honors God’s glory.