If you’re trying to grasp the contours and contents of Karl Barth’s massive Church Dogmatics, it helps to have an outline! Here’s a helpful PDF version, with subheadings included, from Princeton’s Center for Barth Studies.
Below is a version that I’ve created from my Logos edition of Church Dogmatics. It’s the version found in the Index (CD V/1, 1–13).
VOLUME I INTRODUCTION
§1 THE TASK OF DOGMATICS
As a theological discipline dogmatics is the scientific self-examination of the Christian Church with respect to the content of its distinctive talk about God.
§2 THE TASK OF PROLEGOMENA TO DOGMATICS
Prolegomena to dogmatics is our name for the introductory part of dogmatics in which our concern is to understand its particular way of knowledge.
THE DOCTRINE OF THE WORD OF GOD
Chapter I The Word of God as the Criterion of Dogmatics
§3 CHURCH PROCLAMATION AS THE MATERIAL OF DOGMATICS
Talk about God in the Church seeks to be proclamation to the extent that in the form of preaching and sacrament it is directed to man with the claim and expectation that in accordance with commission it has to speak to him the Word of God to be heard in faith. Inasmuch as it is a human word in spite of this claim and expectation, it is the material of dogmatics, i.e., of the investigation of its responsibility as measured by the Word of God which it seeks to proclaim.
§4 THE WORD OF GOD IN ITS THREEFOLD FORM
The presupposition which makes proclamation proclamation and therewith makes the Church the Church is the Word of God. This attests itself in Holy Scripture in the word of the prophets and apostles to whom it was originally and once and for all spoken by God’s revelation.
§5 THE NATURE OF THE WORD OF GOD
The Word of God in all its three forms is God’s speech to man. For this reason it occurs, applies and works in God’s act on man. But as such it occurs in God’s way which differs from all other occurrence, i.e., in the mystery of God.
§6 THE KNOWABILITY OF THE WORD OF GOD
The reality of the Word of God in all its three forms is grounded only in itself. So, too, the knowledge of it by men can consist only in its acknowledgment, and this acknowledgment can become real only through itself and become intelligible only in terms of itself.
§7 THE WORD OF GOD, DOGMA AND DOGMATICS
Dogmatics is the critical question about dogma, i.e., about the Word of God in Church proclamation, or, concretely, about the agreement of the Church proclamation done and to be done by man with the revelation attested in Holy Scripture. Prolegomena to dogmatics as an understanding of its epistemological path must therefore consist in an exposition of the three forms of the Word of God as revealed, written, and preached.
Chapter II The Revelation of God
PART I THE TRIUNE GOD
§8 GOD IN HIS REVELATION
God’s Word is God Himself in His revelation. For God reveals Himself as the Lord and according to Scripture this signifies for the concept of revelation that God Himself in unimpaired unity yet also in unimpaired distinction is Revealer, Revelation, and Revealedness.
§9 THE TRIUNITY OF GOD
The God who reveals Himself according to Scripture is One in three distinctive modes of being subsisting in their mutual relations: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is thus that He is the Lord, i.e., the Thou who meets man’s I and unites Himself to this I as the indissoluble Subject and thereby and therein reveals Himself to him as his God.
§10 GOD THE FATHER
The one God reveals Himself according to Scripture as the Creator, that is, as the Lord of our existence. As such He is God our Father because He is so antecedently in Himself as the Father of the Son.
§11 GOD THE SON
The one God reveals Himself according to Scripture as the Reconciler, i.e., as the Lord in the midst of our enmity towards Him. As such He is the Son of God who has come to us or the Word of God that has been spoken to us, because He is so antecedently in Himself as the Son or Word of God the Father.
§12 GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT
The one God reveals Himself according to Scripture as the Redeemer, i.e., as the Lord who sets us free. As such He is the Holy Spirit, by receiving whom we become the children of God, because, as the Spirit of the love of God the Father and the Son, He is so antecedently in Himself.
PART II THE INCARNATION OF THE WORD
§13 GOD’S FREEDOM FOR MAN
According to Holy Scripture God’s revelation takes place in the fact that God’s Word became a man and that this man has become God’s Word. The incarnation of the eternal Word, Jesus Christ, is God’s revelation. In the reality of this event God proves that He is free to be our God.
§14 THE TIME OF REVELATION
God’s revelation in the event of the presence of Jesus Christ is God’s time for us. It is fulfilled time in this event itself. But as the Old Testament time of expectation and as the New Testament time of recollection it is also the time of witness to this event.
§15 THE MYSTERY OF REVELATION
The mystery of the revelation of God in Jesus Christ consists in the fact that the eternal Word of God chose, sanctified and assumed human nature and existence into oneness with Himself, in order thus, as very God and very man, to become the Word of reconciliation spoken by God to man. The sign of this mystery revealed in the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the miracle of His birth, that He was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary.
PART III THE OUTPOURING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
§16 THE FREEDOM OF MAN FOR GOD
According to Holy Scripture God’s revelation occurs in our enlightenment by the Holy Spirit of God to a knowledge of His Word. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit is God’s revelation. In the reality of this event consists our freedom to be the children of God and to know and love and praise Him in His revelation.
§17 THE REVELATION OF GOD AS THE ABOLITION OF RELIGION
The revelation of God in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is the judging but also reconciling presence of God in the world of human religion, that is, in the realm of man’s attempts to justify and to sanctify himself before a capricious and arbitrary picture of God. The Church is the locus of true religion, so far as through grace it lives by grace.
§18 THE LIFE OF THE CHILDREN OF GOD
Where it is believed and acknowledged in the Holy Spirit, the revelation of God creates men who do not exist without seeking God in Jesus Christ, and who cannot cease to testify that He has found them.
Chapter III Holy Scripture
§19 THE WORD OF GOD FOR THE CHURCH
The Word of God is God Himself in Holy Scripture. For God once spoke as Lord to Moses and the prophets, to the Evangelists and apostles. And now through their written word He speaks as the same Lord to His Church. Scripture is holy and the Word of God, because by the Holy Spirit it became and will become to the Church a witness to divine revelation.
§20 AUTHORITY IN THE CHURCH
The Church does not claim direct and absolute and material authority for itself but for Holy Scripture as the Word of God. But actual obedience to the authoritative Word of God in Holy Scripture is objectively determined by the fact that those who in the Church mutually confess an acceptance of the witness of Holy Scripture will be ready and willing to listen to one another in expounding and applying it. By the authority of Holy Scripture on which it is founded, authority in the Church is restricted to an indirect and relative and formal authority.
§21 FREEDOM IN THE CHURCH
A member of the Church claims direct, absolute and material freedom not for himself, but only for Holy Scripture as the Word of God. But obedience to the free Word of God in Holy Scripture is subjectively conditioned by the fact that each individual who confesses his acceptance of the testimony of Scripture must be willing and prepared to undertake the responsibility for its interpretation and application. Freedom in the Church is limited as an indirect, relative and formal freedom by the freedom of Holy Scripture in which it is grounded.
Chapter IV The Proclamation of the Church
§22 THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH
The Word of God is God Himself in the proclamation of the Church of Jesus Christ. In so far as God gives the Church the commission to speak about Him, and the Church discharges this commission, it is God Himself who declares His revelation in His witnesses. The proclamation of the Church is pure doctrine when the human word spoken in it in confirmation of the biblical witness to revelation offers and creates obedience to the Word of God. Because this is its essential character, function and duty, the word of the Church preacher is the special and immediate object of dogmatic activity.
§23 DOGMATICS AS A FUNCTION OF THE HEARING CHURCH
Dogmatics invites the teaching Church to listen again to the Word of God in the revelation to which Scripture testifies. It can do this only if for its part it adopts the attitude of the hearing Church and therefore itself listens to the Word of God as the norm to which the hearing Church knows itself to be subject.
§24 DOGMATICS AS A FUNCTION OF THE TEACHING CHURCH
Dogmatics summons the listening Church to address itself anew to the task of teaching the Word of God in the revelation attested in Scripture. It can do this only as it accepts itself the position of the teaching Church and is therefore claimed by the Word of God as the object to which the teaching Church as such has devoted itself.
VOLUME II THE DOCTRINE OF GOD
Chapter V The Knowledge of God
§25 THE FULFILMENT OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD
The knowledge of God occurs in the fulfilment of the revelation of His Word by the Holy Spirit, and therefore in the reality and with the necessity of faith and its obedience. Its content is the existence of Him whom we must fear above all things because we may love Him above all things; who remains a mystery to us because He Himself has made Himself so clear and certain to us.
§26 THE KNOWABILITY OF GOD
The possibility of the knowledge of God springs from God, in that He is Himself the truth and He gives Himself to man in His Word by the Holy Spirit to be known as the truth. It springs from man, in that, in the Son of God by the Holy Spirit, he becomes an object of the divine good-pleasure and therefore participates in the truth of God.
§27 THE LIMITS OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD
God is known only by God. We do not know Him, then, in virtue of the views and concepts with which in faith we attempt to respond to His revelation. But we also do not know Him without making use of His permission and obeying His command to undertake this attempt. The success of this undertaking, and therefore the veracity of our knowledge of God, consists in the fact that our viewing and conceiving is adopted and determined to participation in the truth of God by God Himself in grace.
Chapter VI The Reality of God
§28 THE BEING OF GOD AS THE ONE WHO LOVES IN FREEDOM
God is who He is in the act of His revelation. God seeks and creates fellowship between Himself and us, and therefore He loves us. But He is this loving God without us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in the freedom of the Lord, who has His life in Himself.
§29 THE PERFECTIONS OF GOD
God lives His perfect life in the abundance of many individual and distinct perfections. Each of these is perfect in itself and in combination with all the others. For whether it is a form of love in which God is free, or a form of freedom in which God loves, it is nothing else but God Himself, His one, simple, distinctive being.
§30 THE PERFECTIONS OF THE DIVINE LOVING
The divinity of the love of God consists and confirms itself in the fact that in Himself and in all His works God is gracious, merciful and patient, and at the same time holy, righteous and wise.
§31 THE PERFECTIONS OF THE DIVINE FREEDOM
The divinity of the freedom of God consists and confirms itself in the fact that in Himself and in all His works God is One, constant and eternal, and therewith also omnipresent, omnipotent and glorious.
Chapter VII The Election of God
§32 THE PROBLEM OF A CORRECT DOCTRINE OF THE ELECTION OF GRACE
The doctrine of election is the sum of the Gospel because of all the words that can be said and heard it is the best: that God elects man; that God is for man too the One who loves in freedom. It is grounded in the knowledge of Jesus Christ because He is both the electing God and elected man in One. It is part of the doctrine of God because originally God’s election of man is a predestination not merely of man but of Himself. Its function is to bear basic testimony to eternal, free and unchanging grace as the beginning of all the ways and works of God.
§33 THE ELECTION OF JESUS CHRIST
The election of grace is the eternal beginning of all the ways and works of God in Jesus Christ. In Jesus Christ God in His free grace determines Himself for sinful man and sinful man for Himself. He therefore takes upon Himself the rejection of man with all its consequences, and elects man to participation in His own glory.
§34 THE ELECTION OF THE COMMUNITY
The election of grace, as the election of Jesus Christ, is simultaneously the eternal election of the one community of God by the existence of which Jesus Christ is to be attested to the whole world and the whole world summoned to faith in Jesus Christ. This one community of God in its form as Israel has to serve the representation of the divine judgment, in its form as the Church the representation of the divine mercy. In its form as Israel it is determined for hearing, and in its form as the Church for believing the promise sent forth to man. To the one elected community of God is given in the one case its passing, and in the other case its coming form.
§35 THE ELECTION OF THE INDIVIDUAL
The man who is isolated over against God is as such rejected by God. But to be this man can only be by the godless man’s own choice. The witness of the community of God to every individual man consists in this: that this choice of the godless man is void; that he belongs eternally to Jesus Christ and therefore is not rejected, but elected by God in Jesus Christ; that the rejection which he deserves on account of his perverse choice is borne and cancelled by Jesus Christ; and that he is appointed to eternal life with God on the basis of the righteous, divine decision. The promise of his election determines that as a member of the community he himself shall be a bearer of its witness to the whole world. And the revelation of his rejection can only determine him to believe in Jesus Christ as the One by whom it has been borne and cancelled.
Chapter VIII The Command of God
§36 ETHICS AS A TASK OF THE DOCTRINE OF GOD
As the doctrine of God’s command, ethics interprets the Law as the form of the Gospel, i.e., as the sanctification which comes to man through the electing God. Because Jesus Christ is the Holy God and sanctified man in One, it has its basis in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Because the God who claims man for Himself makes Himself originally responsible for him, it forms part of the doctrine of God. Its function is to bear primary witness to the grace of God in so far as this is the saving engagement and commitment of man.
§37 THE COMMAND AS THE CLAIM OF GOD
As God is gracious to us in Jesus Christ, His command is the claim which, when it is made, has power over us, demanding that in all we do we admit that what God does is right, and requiring that we give our free obedience to this demand.
§38 THE COMMAND AS THE DECISION OF GOD
As God is gracious to us in Jesus Christ, His command is the sovereign, definite and good decision concerning the character of our actions—the decision from which we derive, under which we stand and to which we continually move.
§39 THE COMMAND AS THE JUDGMENT OF GOD
As God is gracious to us in Jesus Christ, He judges us. He judges us because it is His will to treat us as His own for the sake of His own Son. He judges us as in His Son’s death He condemns all our actions as transgression, and by His Son’s resurrection pronounces us righteous. He judges us in order that He may make us free for everlasting life under His lordship.
VOLUME III THE DOCTRINE OF CREATION
Chapter IX The Work of Creation
§40 FAITH IN GOD THE CREATOR
The insight that man owes his existence and form, together with all the reality distinct from God, to God’s creation, is achieved only in the reception and answer of the divine self-witness, that is, only in faith in Jesus Christ, i.e., in the knowledge of the unity of Creator and creature actualised in Him, and in the life in the present mediated by Him, under the right and in the experience of the goodness of the Creator towards His creature.
§41 CREATION AND COVENANT
Creation comes first in the series of works of the triune God, and is thus the beginning of all the things distinct from God Himself. Since it contains in itself the beginning of time, its historical reality eludes all historical observation and account, and can be expressed in the biblical creation narratives only in the form of pure saga. But according to this witness the purpose and therefore the meaning of creation is to make possible the history of God’s covenant with man which has its beginning, its centre and its culmination in Jesus Christ. The history of this covenant is as much the goal of creation as creation itself is the beginning of this history.
§42 THE YES OF GOD THE CREATOR
The work of God the Creator consists particularly in the benefit that in the limits of its creatureliness what He has created may be as it is actualised by Him, and be good as it is justified by Him.
Chapter X The Creature
§43 MAN AS A PROBLEM OF DOGMATICS
Because man, living under heaven and on earth, is the creature whose relation to God is revealed to us in the Word of God, he is the central object of the theological doctrine of creation. As the man Jesus is Himself the revealing Word of God, He is the source of our knowledge of the nature of man as created by God.
§44 MAN AS THE CREATURE OF GOD
The being of man is the history which shows how one of God’s creatures, elected and called by God, is caught up in personal responsibility before Him and proves itself capable of fulfilling it.
§45 MAN IN HIS DETERMINATION AS THE COVENANT-PARTNER OF GOD
That real man is determined by God for life with God has its inviolable correspondence in the fact that his creaturely being is a being in encounter—between I and Thou, man and woman. It is human in this encounter, and in this humanity it is a likeness of the being of its Creator and a being in hope in Him.
§46 MAN AS SOUL AND BODY
Through the Spirit of God, man is the subject, form and life of a substantial organism, the soul of his body—wholly and simultaneously both, in ineffaceable difference, inseparable unity, and indestructible order.
§47 MAN IN HIS TIME
Man lives in the allotted span of his present, past and future life. He who was before him and will be after him, and who therefore fixes the boundaries of his being, is the eternal God, his Creator and Covenant-partner. He is the hope in which man may live in his time.
Chapter XI The Creator and His Creature
§48 THE DOCTRINE OF PROVIDENCE, ITS BASIS AND FORM
The doctrine of providence deals with the history of created being as such, in the sense that in every respect and in its whole span this proceeds under the fatherly care of God the Creator, whose will is done and is to be seen in His election of grace, and therefore in the history of the covenant between Himself and man, and therefore in Jesus Christ.
§49 GOD THE FATHER AS LORD OF HIS CREATURE
God fulfils His fatherly lordship over His creature by preserving, accompanying and ruling the whole course of its earthly existence. He does this as His mercy is revealed and active in the creaturely sphere in Jesus Christ, and the lordship of His Son is thus manifested in it.
§50 GOD AND NOTHINGNESS
Under the control of God world-occurrence is threatened and actually corrupted by the nothingness which is inimical to the will of the Creator and therefore to the nature of His good creature. God has judged nothingness by His mercy as revealed and effective in Jesus Christ. Pending the final revelation that it is already refuted and abolished, God determines the sphere, the manner, the measure and the subordinate relationship to His Word and work in which it may still operate.
§51 THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, THE AMBASSADORS OF GOD AND THEIR OPPONENTS
God’s action in Jesus Christ, and therefore His lordship over His creature, is called the “kingdom of heaven” because first and supremely it claims for itself the upper world. From this God selects and sends His messengers, the angels, who precede the revelation and doing of His will on earth as objective and authentic witnesses, who accompany it as faithful servants of God and man, and who victoriously ward off the opposing forms and forces of chaos.
Chapter XII The Command of God the Creator
§52 ETHICS AS A TASK OF THE DOCTRINE OF CREATION
The task of special ethics in the context of the doctrine of creation is to show to what extent the one command of the one God who is gracious to man in Jesus Christ is also the command of his Creator and therefore already the sanctification of the creaturely action and abstention of man.
§53 FREEDOM BEFORE GOD
It is the will of God the Creator that man, as His creature, shall be responsible before Him. In particular, His command says that man is to keep His day holy as a day of worship, freedom and joy, that he is to confess Him in his heart and with his mouth and that he is to come to Him with his requests.
§54 FREEDOM IN FELLOWSHIP
As God the Creator calls man to Himself, He also directs him to his fellowman. The divine command affirms in particular that in the encounter of man and woman, in the relationship between parents and children and outwards from near to distant neighbours, man may affirm, honour and enjoy the other with himself and himself with the other.
§55 FREEDOM FOR LIFE
As God the Creator calls man to Himself and turns him to his fellow-man, He orders him to honour his own life and that of every other man as a loan, and to secure it against all caprice, in order that it may be used in this service and in preparation for this service.
§56 FREEDOM IN LIMITATION
God the Creator wills and claims the man who belongs to Him, is united to his fellow-man and under obligation to affirm his own life and that of others, with the special intention indicated by the limit of time, vocation and honour which He has already set him as his Creator and Lord.
VOLUME IV THE DOCTRINE OF RECONCILIATION
Chapter XIII The Subject-Matter and Problems of the Doctrine of Reconciliation
§57 THE WORK OF GOD THE RECONCILER
The subject-matter, origin and content of the message received and proclaimed by the Christian community is at its heart the free act of the faithfulness of God in which He takes the lost cause of man, who has denied Him as Creator and in so doing ruined himself as creature, and makes it His own in Jesus Christ, carrying it through to its goal and in that way maintaining and manifesting His own glory in the world.
§58 THE DOCTRINE OF RECONCILIATION (SURVEY)
The content of the doctrine of reconciliation is the knowledge of Jesus Christ who is
(1) very God, that is, the God who humbles Himself, and therefore the reconciling God,
(2) very man, that is, man exalted and therefore reconciled by God, and
(3) in the unity of the two the guarantor and witness of our atonement.
This threefold knowledge of Jesus Christ includes the knowledge of the sin of man:
(1) his pride,
(2) his sloth and
(3) his falsehood—the knowledge of the event in which reconciliation is made:
(1) his justification,
(2) his sanctification and
(3) his calling—and the knowledge of the work of the Holy Spirit in
(1) the gathering,
(2) the upbuilding and
(3) the sending of the community, and of the being of Christians
(1) in faith,
(2) in love and
(3) in hope.
Chapter XIV Jesus Christ, the Lord as Servant
§59 THE OBEDIENCE OF THE SON OF GOD
That Jesus Christ is very God is shown in His way into the far country in which He the Lord became a servant. For in the majesty of the true God it happened that the eternal Son of the eternal Father became obedient by offering and humbling Himself to be the brother of man, to take His place with the transgressor, to judge him by judging Himself and dying in his place. But God the Father raised Him from the dead, and in so doing recognised and gave effect to His death and passion as a satisfaction made for us, as our conversion to God, and therefore as our redemption from death to life.
§60 THE PRIDE AND FALL OF MAN
The verdict of God pronounced in the resurrection of Jesus Christ crucified for us discloses who it was that was set aside in His death, the man who willed to be as God, himself lord, the judge of good and evil, his own helper, thus withstanding the lordship of the grace of God and making himself irreparably, radically and totally guilty before Him both individually and totally.
§61 THE JUSTIFICATION OF MAN
The right of God established in the death of Jesus Christ, and proclaimed in His resurrection in defiance of the wrong of man, is as such the basis of the new and corresponding right of man. Promised to man in Jesus Christ, hidden in Him and only to be revealed in Him, it cannot be attained by any thought or effort or achievement on the part of man. But the reality of it calls for faith in every man as a suitable acknowledgment and appropriation and application.
§62 THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE GATHERING OF THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY
The Holy Spirit is the awakening power in which Jesus Christ has formed and continually renews His body, i.e., His own earthly-historical form of existence, the one holy catholic and apostolic Church. This is Christendom, i.e., the gathering of the community of those whom already before all others He has made willing and ready for life under the divine verdict executed in His death and revealed in His resurrection from the dead. It is therefore the provisional representation of the whole world of humanity justified in Him.
§63 THE HOLY SPIRIT AND CHRISTIAN FAITH
The Holy Spirit is the awakening power in which Jesus Christ summons a sinful man to His community and therefore as a Christian to believe in Him: to acknowledge and know and confess Him as the Lord who for him became a servant; to be sorry both on his own behalf and on that of the world in face of the victory over his pride and fall which has taken place in Him; and again on his own behalf and therefore on that of the world to be confident in face of the establishment of his new right and life which has taken place in Him.
Chapter XV Jesus Christ, the Servant as Lord
§64 THE EXALTATION OF THE SON OF MAN
Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Lord who humbled Himself to be a servant, is also the Son of Man exalted as this servant to be the Lord, the new and true and royal man who participates in the being and life and lordship and act of God and honours and attests Him, and as such the Head and Representative and Saviour of all other men, the origin and content and norm of the divine direction given us in the work of the Holy Spirit.
§65 THE SLOTH AND MISERY OF MAN
The direction of God, given in the resurrection of Jesus Christ who was crucified for us, discloses who is overcome in His death. It is the man who would not make use of his freedom, but was content with the low level of a self-enclosed being, thus being irremediably and radically and totally subject to his own stupidity, inhumanity, dissipation and anxiety, and delivered up to his own death.
§66 THE SANCTIFICATION OF MAN
The exaltation of man, which in defiance of his reluctance has been achieved in the death and declared in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, is as such the creation of his new form of existence as the faithful covenant-partner of God. It rests wholly and utterly on his justification before God, and like this it is achieved only in the one Jesus Christ, but effectively and authoritatively for all in Him. It is self-attested, by its operation among them as His direction, in the life of a people of men who in virtue of the call to discipleship which has come to them, of their awakening to conversion, of the praise of their works, of the mark of the cross which is laid upon them, have the freedom even as sinners to render obedience and to establish themselves as the saints of God in a provisional offering of the thankfulness for which the whole world is ordained by the act of the love of God.
§67 THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE UPBUILDING OF THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY
The Holy Spirit is the quickening power with which Jesus the Lord builds up Christianity in the world as His body, i.e., as the earthly-historical form of His own existence, causing it to grow, sustaining and ordering it as the communion of His saints, and thus fitting it to give a provisional representation of the sanctification of all humanity and human life as it has taken place in Him.
§68 THE HOLY SPIRIT AND CHRISTIAN LOVE
The Holy Spirit is the quickening power in which Jesus Christ places a sinful man in His community and thus gives him the freedom, in active self-giving to God and his fellows as God’s witness, to correspond to the love of God in which God has drawn him to Himself and raised him up, overcoming his sloth and misery.
Chapter XVI Jesus Christ, The True Witness
§69 THE GLORY OF THE MEDIATOR
“Jesus Christ as attested to us in Holy Scripture is the one Word of God whom we must hear and whom we must trust and obey in life and in death.”
§70 THE FALSEHOOD AND CONDEMNATION OF MAN
As the effective promise of God encounters man in the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, man proves himself to be a liar in whose thinking, speech and conduct his liberation by and for the free God transforms itself into an attempt to claim God by and for himself as the man who is bound in his self-assertion—a perversion in which he can only destroy himself and finally perish.
§71 THE VOCATION OF MAN
The Word of the living Jesus Christ is the creative call by which He awakens man to an active knowledge of the truth and thus receives him into the new standing of the Christian, namely, into a particular fellowship with Himself, thrusting him as His afflicted but well-equipped witness into the service of His prophetic work.
§72 THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE SENDING OF THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY
The Holy Spirit is the enlightening power of the living Lord Jesus Christ in which He confesses the community called by Him as His body, i.e., as His own earthly-historical form of existence, by entrusting to it the ministry of His prophetic Word and therefore the provisional representation of the calling of all humanity and indeed of all creatures as it has taken place in Him. He does this by sending it among the peoples as His own people, ordained for its part to confess Him before all men, to call them to Him and thus to make known to the whole world that the covenant between God and man concluded in Him is the first and final meaning of its history, and that His future manifestation is already here and now its great, effective and living hope.
§73 THE HOLY SPIRIT AND CHRISTIAN HOPE
The Holy Spirit is the enlightening power in which Jesus Christ, overcoming the falsehood and condemnation of sinful man, causes him as a member of His community to become one who may move towards his final and yet also his immediate future in hope in Him, i.e., in confident, patient and cheerful expectation of His new coming to consummate the revelation of the will of God fulfilled in Him.
THE FOUNDATION OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
A man’s turning to faithfulness to God, and consequently to calling upon Him, is the work of this faithful God which, perfectly accomplished in the history of Jesus Christ, in virtue of the awakening, quickening and illuminating power of this history, becomes a new beginning of life as his baptism with the Holy Spirit.
The first step of this life of faithfulness to God, the Christian life, is a man’s baptism with water, which by his own decision is requested of the community and which is administered by the community, as the binding confession of his obedience, conversion and hope, made in prayer for God’s grace, wherein he honours the freedom of this grace.