Paul has been reminding the Romans that you don't have to be a Jew to be a Christian. Now, he reminds them that you don't have to be a Christian to be included in God's family.
"Of course, God has not rejected the Jews. Look at me, for example," he says.
God's mercy depends on God.
Every once in a while I read again from Krister Stendahl's Final Account, Paul's Letter to the Romans. Here's what I read today:
Not until after Constantine did Christians get the itch to conquer the world for Christ. They thought of themselves as a peculiar people, as a light and as salt, witnessing and letting the chips fall wherever they may....
There are two ways of thinking about God. One way is to imagine a God who asks, first thing every morning, "What are the statistics on the saved?" Another is to have a God who asks, first thing, "Has there been any progress for the kingdom?" These are two distinct theologies. Paul's theology was the latter. He saw the mystery of God's workings not as a kind of universalism, but as the faithfulness of a new witnessing people, a witness now based on Jesus Christ and knowing no particular race or sex.