(iv.1.58.2 cont.) * Thirdly, Hope: The tertiary form of the being of humanity in Jesus Christ is “the positing and equipping of man as the bearer of the divine promise”, which constitutes Christian hope. And it is Christian hope which is the teleological** determination for humanity and the Christian in Christ. Christian hope is more than Christian vocation (the traditional protestant/Lutheran understanding of the result of justification and sanctification), it is the moment that the person is given the promise of God in Jesus Christ. The person is called along side their justification and sanctification, and thus given true hope, “…this being as such is a being under the promise, that the reality of the salvation given to man is as such the gift of this promise, that the Christian affirmation and appropriation of the divine gift is as such hope based upon and directed to this promise”.

However, this third form is not an end in itself, but only a beginning. In conjunction with faith and love, Christian hope signifies the teleological direction of the person in Christ: it is a looking forward to the activity of God (the promise). Justification (looking back to God’s activity in the divine verdict, faith) and sanctification (seeing God’s activity as present, love) have a teleological determination that is oriented toward the promise, hope (though hope is not an end in itself). “…it is in fact the case that the being of man in Jesus Christ is a being not merely in possession and action but also in expectation”, it is not only that God has made something of the person in Jesus Christ nor that He has caused them to walk before Him, but that He also “wills to make something of him, He has for him a purpose, an end”. [This purpose does not need to be found; it is realized in Christ, because Christ is our teleological ordering.] And it is this purpose and this end that is the promise of God. In to this promise of God, the Christian is “called”. Thus “calling” is part of Christian hope and part of the reconciliation of humanity to God.

But what is the “end” to which Christian hope/calling directs the person? It is toward the “actualization and preservation of the fellowship between God and himself established in the fulfillment of the covenant”. In other words, it is directed toward “eternal life”, to their “actual future with God”. But “with God” does not mean merged into or becoming like God; rather it is being fully human with God. The teleological end must coincide with the activity of God. Since God is the active ruler and humanity are those who were created to worship Him, to serve Him, to adore Him, the teleological end encompasses this as its foundation of the relationship, “To live under Him in His kingdom and to serve Him: it is here that all rest and joy and contemplation and adoration in the eternal life promised to man have their meaning and basis. It is the calling to this which is the telos of justification and sanctification”. The teleological end of humanity in Christ will not obliterate humanity’s creatureliness, but rather perfect it. The promise points to the end which will be the fulfilled relationship between humanity and God, where humanity will be an active subject in that relationship and fellowship with God (as a faithful worshiper (etc.)) of God, “a being in man’s own free responsibility with God for the cause of God”. Christians under the promise of the teleological end in Christ with God are the bearers of true hope: hope not only for their own futures, but the future of the whole world. The fulfillment of this teleological end will always be God’s activity toward us and not of our own. While we move toward this teleological end in the present, it is not by our ability or what we offer to God, but by the direction of the promise and the power of the Holy Spirit. The event of this promise and direction toward the teleological end is a permanent event (as are the divine verdict and direction).

The entirety of the promise (“its effective and authentic proclamation”) is Jesus Christ. Jesus, as eternal man, lives under the divine verdict of God, is placed under the divine direction, and lives into the divine promise. Thus, He, Jesus, is our teleological “pledge” and He is our direction. As Jesus (as fully man) lives in perfect relationship and fellowship with God, humanity has their direction in Jesus and, as such, are human as those who serve God as servants and worshipers and not as rulers. “In Him all this will be his rest and joy in God, his eternal contemplation and adoration of God”. To this future and promise—as well as to the divine verdict and to the divine direction—the person in Christ stands as a testimony to the world. In Christ, the person attests to the world that Jesus Christ is Lord, its Savior, and its future, its goal, its telos. It is on this reality of Jesus Christ as the future and Savior of the world that Christian hope is founded. It is both personal and private: the calling calls the individual, but it is not only the individual’s affair as they are called into community. In fact, one’s hope in Christ for their self directly affects their hope for others in Christ.

In this hope, humanity in Christ, confronted with the divine verdict and placed under the divine direction as an object, are made, by the Holy Spirit, alive and acting subjects [we are made ‘subjects’ having first been receivers and not initiators; we are made into subjects because we have first been encountered and confronted by an other who is over and against us].

“In the person of the Christian the world of men strives after and seizes the goal and future given to it in Jesus Christ….man lives not merely in the factuality of the decision made by God concerning his whole being, but also in the factuality of his own corresponding thoughts and words and works in relation to the service of God, conditioned for and directed towards that service, and in the perspective of that goal.”

Thus, in Christian hope (as well as in faith and love) the Christian is substantially different from the non-Christian for they live by the promise, they are conformed to it, and they belong to the future reality of it. “They will know we are Christians by our love”. Christians stand in the midst of the world of men and point beyond themselves to Jesus and His cross. We love unconditionally because we have been loved unconditionally; we help and reach out because we have been helped and reached out to; we work and act because we are grateful. Everything about the Christian points never to themselves and always to Jesus. We have been justified, we have been loved, and along side this we have hope (for today and for the future); in this way we stand as beacons, perpetually flashing, indicating to and directing others to solid ground.

*This is the last long post. (I promise!) In dealing with the three forms of the being of humanity in Christ, I wanted to keep each form together, which makes each of the three posts long and dense. But this way, you get the whole discussion of the one form here and now.

**Teleological (from the greek telos) pretty much means “end, purpose.” So in this statement of Barth’s, he is saying that the Christians end/purpose (teological ordering) is found in hope (hope that is directed toward Christ).