If Abraham’s faith was a concrete, real-life faith that God could and would enliven his and Sarah’s bodies so they could have children, so NT faith is a concrete, real-life faith that God raised Jesus from the dead. Now Paul moves from the abstract to how it applies. He turns to the “we” and to “us” at Romans 4:23-25. How concrete is your faith? It’s easier to talk about in the abstract, because once we make it real it gets real and our trust is activated. Do you see a Christian faith that is a resurrection-power justification? Does it create a new community or simply resolve an individual’s guilt before God?
Wright argues that Paul’s covenantal reading of the Bible drives him to see not only “Abraham” but also “us” in the justifying faith of Abraham which has now been fulfilled in Jesus Christ — in his death and resurrection.
Which means this: Christian faith is resurrection-shaped faith.
Which means this: Christian faith is not just cross-shaped but both cross- and resurrection-shaped.
Which means, for Wright, that Christian faith is God-directed not primarily Jesus-directed.
The gospel, the one taught by Paul, is a gospel that cannot stop with the cross but must include the resurrection. Any gospel that stops with the cross ends with a crucifix; a gospel that moves into the resurrection is an empty cross.
Jesus died, as Wright puts it, and “he was so identified ‘with us’ that he suffered the fate we deserved” (503). He was raised in order to justify us; that is, God raised Jesus and demonstrated that he was “in the right” and that all those “in him” are the ones “in the right.”
A justification that draws its power not only from the cross but also from the resurrection is a justification that enables you and me in the nitty-gritty of life to transcend the norm. Tying justification to resurrection means it is more than just substitutionary death but also new creation — which means 2 Cor 5:17 is a justification idea. This, friends, is a big idea and one we need to think about more often.