Karl Barth: God's mercy exposes real human wretchedness

3828"To pronounce the name of Jesus Christ means to acknowledge that we are cared for, that we are not lost. Jesus Christ is man's salvation in all circumstances and in face of all that darkens his life, including the evil that proceeds from himself. There is nothing which is not already made good in this happening, that God became man for our good. Anything that is left can be no more than the discovery of this fact. We do not exist in any kind of gloomy uncertainty; we exist through the God who was gracious to us before we existed at all. It may be true that we exist in contradiction to this God, that we live in remoteness from Him, indeed in hostility to Him. It is still truer that God has prepared reconciliation for us, before we entered the struggle against Him. And true though it may be that in connexion with our alienation from God man can only be regarded as a lost being, it is still much truer that God has so acted for our good, does and will so act, that there exists salvation for every lost condition. It is this faith that we are called to believe through the Christian Church and in the Holy Spirit. Indeed the fact is that everything that we have to bewail and everything that can be brought against us as a necessary and justifiable complaint, that all sighing and all misery and all despair—and there truly is cause for it all—is distinguished from all more or less chance trouble by the fact that complaint and accusation, which again and again break out from the depths of creation, actually acquire strength from our recognition that we men are the object of the divine compassion. Only from the depths of all that God has done for us can it be made clear that we find ourselves in misery. Who then is aware of man's real wretchedness, save he who is aware of God's mercy?" -Karl Barth, Dogmatics in Outline, Ch.10 Jesus Christ (Harper Torchbooks p.71)