"The more we consider Paul's writing in this context the less we see the acute psychological dilemma characteristic of the Augustinian-Lutheran interpretation as a whole. Krister Stendahl masterfully explores this in his ground-breaking essay "The Apostle Paul and the Introspective Conscience of the West." Paul was certainly aware of his own shortcomings, but, Stendahl asks, "does he ever intimate that he is aware of any sins of his own which would trouble his conscience? It is actually easier to find statements to the contrary. The tone in Acts 23:1, 'Brethren, I have lived before God in all good conscience up to this day' (cf. 24:16), prevails also throughout his letters."8 Far from being "simultaneously a sinner and a saint" (simul iustus et peccator), Paul testifies of his clear conscience: "Indeed, this is our boast, the testimony of our conscience: we have behaved in the world with frankness and godly sincerity" (2 Cor. 1:12a). He was aware that he had not yet "arrived" (Phil. 3:12-14), that he still struggled with the flesh, yet he was confident of the value of his performance (1 Cor. 9:27). He looked forward to a day when "all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil" (2 Cor. 5:10), and he anticipated a favorable verdict (v. 11). He acknowledged that his clear conscience did not necessarily ensure this verdict (1 Cor. 4:4), but he was confident nevertheless. These are hardly the convictions of someone who intends to rest entirely on the merits of an alien righteousness imputed to his or her account.
It may be countered that Paul considered himself the least of the apostles (1 Cor. 15:9a; cp. Eph. 3:8) and in fact chief of sinners (cp. 1 Tim. 1:15). But this is not the paradigmatic expression of humility and contrition, as if every Christian should regard herself more sinful than the next. Paul's chief sin was that he had violently persecuted the church (1 Cor. 15:9b; cp. 1 Tim. 1:13-16). This confession is obviously concrete and historical -- not subjective, existential, and universally comparable to every person's experience. At any rate Paul had put all of that behind him and made up for his sordid past (1 Cor. 15:10); he did not languish in guilt. From what we know of his extant writings, he did not seem to experience the unrelenting introspection which became so characteristic of Western humankind after Augustine. Nor, many historians agree, could he have in his time and culture." - http://www.thepaulpage.com/Summary.html
Praise God that finally someone has found the proper 1st century understanding of St. Paul. The NPP understanding of Romans is probably the reason I could become a Roman Catholic at all. It shows that the Catholic understanding of Salvation is a biblical option and generally discredits the idea of alien imputed righteousness.
With these Protestants jumping ship on Sola Fide in it's traditional understanding, and the emerging church investigating real tradition (icons, patristics, etc), maybe the Reformation could finally end. Well, it will never end of completely of course... the Calvinists would never give up, God himself could tell them they're wrong and they'd probably call him a heretic and tell him to read the institutes again. But to the rest of Protestantism, go out and buy N.T. Wright, Sanders, and Dunn.
Actually I'm far too optimistic, nowadays being Protestant is about 'not worshipping Mary', using the word 'Eucharist', having 'bishops' or having to kneel at church, it's no longer the issue of 'immediate Justification by Faith ALONE imputed' as opposed to 'Justification by Faith and the work of the Holy Spirit infused'. But if Luther could've read N.T. Wright, maybe the church would be one again...