Below I’ve posted a number of quotes from Dogmatics in Outline by Karl Barth that I wanted to review. The most striking point I’ve gotten from Mr. Barth has definitely to do with the identity Barth makes with omnipotence and grace. He says, “The grace of God and the omnipotence of God are identical. We must never understand the one without the other.”
This places the center of the universe in the person of Christ. His lordship means that the One whom God has chosen is a man who stands for Himself and at the same time is a man who stands for all. And it is for this reason that Barth says we must come to “read the New Testament from the standpoint of this ‘for us’.” All of God’s action from Creation to redemption to consummation are His mighty acts on our behalf; they are his powerful workings for us. Thus, when it comes to man’s debt of sin, it is not that God delivers us from His wrath in spite of His righteousness, rather it is because of God’s righteousness that He steps in for us.
“Righteousness in the Old Testament sense is not the righteousness of the judge who makes the debtor pay, but the action of a judge who in the accused recognises the wretch whom he wishes to help by putting him to rights. That is what rightesouness means. Righteousness means setting right. And that is what God does… God’s mercy and God’s righteousness are not at variance with each other.” And in another chapter he says, “In the Biblical world of thought the judge is not primarily the one who rewards some and punishes the others; he is the man who creates order and restores what has been destoyed.”
We often loose sight of the fierceness of God’s love in all of our theological terminology. And we get small minded and tidy and cranky. Yes, God is holy, yes, God is righteous, and yes, God is just. And it is for those very reasons that He will seek us out, His people. He will overtake us with His kindness, and blow our minds with His brilliance. He is not an unbiased Judge. He is biased, in our favor. And He gives Himself for us.