In what is undoubtedly his most oft-quoted statement, Alasdair MacIntyre once said,
“I can only answer the question ‘What am I to do’ if I can answer the prior question, ‘Of what story or stories do I find myself a part?’”
Paul has just spent eleven chapters addressing the prior question of what story or stories his Roman hearers find themselves in.
And it really is a matter of plural stories.
They find themselves a part of a Roman story rooted in imperial myths.
This is a story of conquest and the gods;
of imperial justice and the Pax Romana;
of Caesar and the pater familias.
And they find themselves grafted in to a Jewish story of a crucified Messiah.
This is a story of covenant and the God of Israel;
of righteousness and shalom,
of Jesus and a Father who keeps his promises.