Karl Barth: Our God, God for Us

The way of the Son of God into the far country is the way of obedience. This is (in re) the first and inner moment of the mystery of the deity of Christ. Now that we have dealt with the second and outer moment, it is to this that we must turn.

We have seen already that if in faith in Jesus Christ we are ready to learn, to be told, what Godhead, or the divine nature, is, we are confronted with the revelation of what is and always will be to all other ways of looking and thinking a mystery, and indeed a mystery which offends. The mystery reveals to us that for God it just as natural to be lowly as it is to be high, to be near as it is to be far, to be little as it is to be great, to be abroad as to be at home. Thus that when in the presence and action of Jesus Christ in the world created by Him and characterized in malam partem by the sin of man He chooses to go into the far country, to conceal His form of lordship in the form of this world and therefore in the form of a servant, He is not untrue to Himself but genuinely true to Himself, to the freedom which is that of His love. He does not have to choose and do this. He is free in relation to it. We are therefore dealing with the genuine article when He does choose and do this. Even in the form of a servant, which is the form of His presence and action in Jesus Christ, we have to do with God Himself in His true deity. The humility in which He dwells and acts in Jesus Christ is not alien to Him, but proper to Him. His humility is a novum mysterium for us in whose favor He executes it when He makes use of His freedom for it, when He shows his love even to His enemies and His life even in death, thus revealing them in a way which is quite contrary to all our false ideas of God. But for Him this utility is no novum mysterium. It is His sovereign grace that He wills to be and is amongst us in humility, our God, God for us. But he shows us this grace, He is amongst us in humility, our God, God for us, as that which He is in Himself, in the most inward depth of His Godhead. He does not become another God. In the condescension in which He gives Himself to us in Jesus Christ He exists and speaks and acts as the One He was from all eternity and will be to all eternity. The truth and actuality of our atonement depends on this being the case. The One who reconciles the world with God is necessarily the one God Himself in His true Godhead. Otherwise, the world would not be reconciled with God. Otherwise it is still the world which is not reconciled with God.

– Karl Barth, CD IV/1, 192-93