Thursday, October 23, 2008

Karl Barth On Grace

The Incomprehensibility of Grace
Posted on October 9, 2008 by Halden

“Grace is the incomprehensible fact that God is well pleased with a man, and that a man can rejoice in God. Only when grace is recognized to be incomprehensible is it grace. Grace exists, therefore, only where the Resurrection is reflected. Grace is the gift of Christ, who exposes the gulf which separates God and man, and, by exposing it, bridges it. . . . Where the grace of God is, the very existence of the world and the very existence of God become a question and a hope with which and for which men must wrestle. For we are not now concerned with the propaganda of a conviction or with its imposition on others; grace means bearing witness to the faithfulness of God which a man has encountered and recognized, and which requires a corresponding fidelity towards God. The fidelity of a man to the faithfulness of God–the faith, that is, which accepts grace–is itself the demand for obedience and itself demands obedience from others. Hence the demand is a call which enlightens and rouses to action; it carries with it mission, beside which no other mission is possible. For the name of Him in whom the two worlds meet and are separated must be honoured, and for this mission grace provides full authority, since men are shattered by it.”

– Karl Barth, Epistle to the Romans 6th Edition. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1968), 31.

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