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Participation in Christ, part 9 (discipleship: the Christian vocation)

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This post continues a series looking at "Participation in Christ (An Entry into Karl Barth's Church Dogmatics)" by Adam Neder. To read other posts in this series, click on a number: 12, 3, 4, 5, 6, 78, 10.

Last time we looked at Neder's summary of Barth's dynamic Christology, noting that because Jesus is alive, all humanity (in an objective sense) is alive in him. In this post, we'll examine what Barth says about what this reality means (in a subjective sense) for Christians---those who hear and, in obedient faith, say "yes" to Jesus' call to be one of his disciples within the community of the church.

Barth believed that the call of Jesus "creates a confessing community that witnesses to him as Lord" (p75). Thus the church, formed by this call to discipleship, has its "being in action" (p76). Of course, all people, in an objective sense, have their being in Christ. Through the vicarious humanity of Jesus, all people are u…

Participation in Christ, part 8 (Jesus is alive, and we are alive in him!)

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This post continues a series looking at "Participation in Christ (An Entry into Karl Barth's Church Dogmatics)" by Adam Neder. To read other posts in this series, click on a number: 12, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10.

According to Neder, "the dynamic, active, historical, and covenantal character of Barths' Christology... sets it apart from all others and is its most distinguishing feature" (p58). Rather than seeing the union of God and humanity in the person of Jesus as a "static state," Barth sees it as a dynamic, continuing "event" or "act," which defines Jesus' very being. Indeed, Jesus "became" in the continuing act/event of the Incarnation (p60). Barth's point is that Jesus is aliveand through his continuing divine-human life, we are alive in him.

It's important to grab hold of this vital and central truth of Barth's Christology, for it forms the core of his Trinitarian theology and soteriology:
The histo…

Participation in Christ, part 7 (three-fold grace & our response)

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This post continues a series looking at "Participation in Christ (An Entry into Karl Barth's Church Dogmatics)" by Adam Neder. To read other posts in this series, click on a number: 12, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 910.

Neder highlights Barth's conviction that the triune God's work to convert our humanity into the likeness of Jesus has three aspects: justification, sanctification and vocation (calling). Believers respond to this grace of God by sharing in Jesus' own faith, love and hope (1Thes 1:3; 5:8). Through this response, motivated by gratefulness, believers actualize (experience/receive) their new humanity, which though now "hidden in Christ" (Col 3:24) is nevertheless a present reality. Here is how Neder unpacks the details:

1. JUSTIFICATION → faith According to Neder, Barth defines justification as the verdict of God by which he...
...repudiates, displaces, removes, and pardons the being of sinful humanity and in its place establishes a new and truly h…

Participation in Christ, part 6 (reconciliation-salvation)

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This post continues a series looking at "Participation in Christ (An Entry into Karl Barth's Church Dogmatics)" by Adam Neder. To read other posts in this series, click on a number: 12, 3, 4, 5, 78910.

In chapter 4, Neder unpacks Barth's view that reconciliation-salvation is a relationship occurring in and through Jesus Christ by which humanity is drawn into and thus participates in the divine life. Neder provides this representative quote from Barth:
....What unites God and us men is that He [God] does not will to be God without us, that He creates us rather to share with us and therefore with our being and life and act His own incomparable being and life and act, that He does not allow His history to be His and ours, but causes them to take place as a common history" (p44, emphasis added). It is through this "common history," which Barth sees as an ongoing event, that God shares himself with us. Thus reconciliation-salvation must not be viewe…