Karl Barth once penned: ‘That man is against God is important and must be taken seriously. But what is far more important and must be taken more seriously is that in Jesus Christ God is for man. And it is only in the light of the second fact that the importance and seriousness of the first can be seen’. – Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics II.2 (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1957), 154.
Yes! In Jesus Christ, God has shown not only that God does not want to be God without humanity, but also that God does not want humanity to be humanity without God. God’s will is that God might not be only for himself, but that God might be for humanity all that God is in his eternity. And in the action of the Holy Spirit, the Triune God is present and active among us to hear and answer prayers, to create and sustain life in every minum of creation, to empower human beings to keep saying ‘No’ to sin and ‘Yes’ to God, and to continuously bring home afresh the good news of the Father’s sanctifying action in Jesus Christ, guaranteeing humanity’s inheritance, and empowering us to live in the reality of being ‘holy and blameless’ before God (Eph 1:4). Because God is Holy Love (one of Forsyth’s great themes), humanity’s failure to participate in God’s holiness, is, at core, a denial of God’s love. It is to receive God’s grace in vain.
Who would have ever thought? God is for us! Hallelujah!
[Image: Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, ‘Jacob Wrestling with the Angel’. Oil on canvas (137 × 116 cm) — ca. 1659/60. Gemäldegalerie der Staatlichen Museen, Berlin]