Faith is not the opposite of works, therefore, it is the opposite of religion. So Barth contrasts faith with "devout contemplation" and "experience" and whatever can be "handed down by tradition" — in a word, he opposes faith to "every positive religious achievement". Indeed, he insists that there is no "way of salvation" (Heilsweg) at all — there is only the darkness and scandal of Jesus' death. And by the faithful action of God, we are made to participate in this death. Our existence is seized and displaced, and we are situated within Jesus' own history. In short: "Grace...means neither that human beings can or should do something, nor that they can or should do nothing. Grace means that God does something." Thus the real contrast, for Barth, is not between faith and works but between the faithful "action of God" on the one hand and "all human doing or not-doing" on the other.—The Faith of Jesus Christ:, pages 295-296
I really like that; it places the emphasis squarely on God's activity in salvation. It also emphasizes the positional status of the believer—dead to sin and alive in Christ. Wonderful summary of the good news!