At the end of chapter eleven, the letter to the Romans takes a second turn (the first was at the end of chapter eight).
Paul has focused intently on the notion that salvation, and standing “right” with God, is inherently a matter of faith – now faith in Jesus.
But in a congregation like the Roman one, beset by racial trouble, all of this is making the Jewish Christians look bad. They have, after all, depended heavily on their “Jewishness” for these blessings, not faith. In 9 – 11, Paul takes a side trip to underscore that God has not rejected the Jewish people. He simply requires of them what He has always required of them: faith – a point many of them have forgotten. Additionally, the gentile Christians of the Roman church owe a debt to the Jews. Because of the general Jewish rejection of Jesus, that opened the door for the gentiles to enter the kingdom of God. But even then, God intended that the entry of the gentiles might cause Jewish non-believers to come to faith that all those who are truly Israel (people of faith) might be saved.
Completing the foundational portion of this book with chapter 13, it would be well for us to examine our own lives. Our ability to have a relationship with God is because of the action of God in Jesus. The fact of our relationship is determined by our entrusting our lives to God. Our success in having a relationship with God is assured by the power of the Spirit of God.
It’s all well and good to say this, but how is that relationship seen? In chapters 12 – 15, Paul deals with the evidence of our relationship, rooted solidly in our behavior – and a particular kind of behavior at that.