Election: The Sovereign Claim of God upon Man

“Gott ist frei”, Professor Karl Barth must have uttered or penned these words many times  in his lifetime. God is free. God is free in His election of Himself to elect a covenant partner, i.e., man. But with this election of man comes God’s claim upon him. Man is no longer free. He is bound to God, claimed by His freedom.

God acts in His free grace, but He also wills and expects and demands something from His covenant-partner. To the majesty of that activity which no claim can condition, there corresponds the unconditional nature of the very definite claim which He Himself must advance. Encountering man in His free love, God becomes the companion of man. That is what He determined to do “in Jesus Christ.” That is the foundation-plan and sign of all His works. But in virtue of His absolute ascendancy, in virtue of the fact that in this relationship He must have both the first and the last word concerning His partner, He is of necessity the Judge. We use the expression here in its most comprehensive sense. God is for His covenant-partner both the One by whom he will be judged and also the One according to whom he must judge himself.

Barth, Karl, Geoffrey William Bromiley, and Thomas F. Torrance. Church Dogmatics: The Doctrine of God, Part 2. Vol. 2. London; New York: T&T Clark, 2004. Print.

Faith without works is dead. Good trees will bear good fruit. Those who are new creations in Christ will walk as such (although sometimes it looks like a man falling up an escalator). Barth couldn’t be any clearer on this point.

There is no grace without the lordship and claim of grace. There is no dogmatics which is not also and necessarily ethics.

Barth, Karl, Geoffrey William Bromiley, and Thomas F. Torrance. Church Dogmatics: The Doctrine of God, Part 2. Vol. 2. London; New York: T&T Clark, 2004. Print.

Let us then therefore submit ourselves to this claim of God upon our lives by responding with joy, thankfulness, and love towards God and our fellow man.

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