On the theme of Keith’s last post, I think it’s worth considering at least one precedent to another of Wright’s controversial (to some American Reformed writers) belief about final justification. Here are some comments by John Diodati on the epistle of James:
We must of necessity distinguish the meaning of this word justifie, which is used by St. Paul, for absolving a man as he is in his natural state, bound to the law, and subject to damnation for his sin, which God doth by a rigid act of justice, that requireth full satisfaction, which seeing he could not get of man Rom. 8.2, he hath received at Christ’s hand (who was the Surety) imputed to man by God’s grace, and apprehended by a lively faith. Whereas St. James takes the same word for the approving of man, in a benigne and fatherly judgment, as he is considered in the quality of God’s child, and living in the covenant of grace, as having the two essentiall parts of that covenant joyned together, faith to receive God’s grace and Christ’s benefit, and works to yield him the duties of service and acknowledgement; and this justification is no longer opposite to the condemnation of a sinner in generall, but to the particular one of an hypocrite, who rending asunder these two inseparable parts, sheweth that he hat neither the one nor the other: see Luke 17.19.
And here is Wright in the same paper (pdf) Keith quoted:
I repeat what I have always said: that the final justification, the final verdict, as opposed to the present justification, which is pronounced over faith alone, will be pronounced over the totality of the life lived. It will be, in other words, in accordance with “works,” with the life seen as a whole—not that any such life will be perfect (Phil 3:13–14) but that it will be going in the right direction, “seeking for glory and honor and immortality” (Rom 2:7). When I have spoken of “basis” in this connection, I have not at all meant by that to suggest that this is an independent basis from the finished work of Christ and the powerful work of the Spirit, but that within that solid and utterly-of-grace structure the particular evidence offered on the last day will be the tenor and direction of the life that has been lived.