“‘BEFORE HIM’ [in Eph. 1:4] denotes the immediate presence of God to man and the closest proximity of man to God. The image suggests the position and relationship enjoyed by the cream of society at a royal court, by children to their father, by a bride to a bridegroom…”
(Markus Barth, Ephesians, [The Anchor Bible], p. 80).
“‘Justified by faith’ means, accordingly, tried by the faithful God, sentenced conformably to the appearance, death, and rising of the obedient and loving Son, acquitted and set free in a manner identical with new creation and recognizably only with rejoicing and thanksgiving. God’s faith, the faith of Jesus Christ, and man’s answer in faith are – each in its own way – the means by which the righteousness and life are given to the community of sinful Jews and Gentiles. It is true: man is justified sola fide, by faith alone But this saving faith is much more than a mere existential posture and response of man. Faith is first of all the characteristic and gift of God and his Son. Built on the faithfulness of the Judge and the Advocate, the human trust and faithfulness toward God stand on firm ground. There is no other requisite or means of justification beyond this.”
Markus Barth, “The Faith of the Messiah.” Heythrop Journal. 10:4 (1969) 363-370.
“A careful analysis of Galatians 2:15-21 indicates that no one can claim God’s justice for himself – God’s impartial judgment through the death of Jesus Christ involves Jews and Gentiles. Justification is a social event. It ties man to man together. Justification by works would segregate men because each person selects his own arbitrary criterion of good works. Justification by grace, however, brings people together in reconciliation, even those of alien background, like the Jews and Gentiles.”
(Journal of Ecumenical Studies 5 (1968): p. 241)