1. Who are we? We are the people of God in Christ, indwelt by the Spirit. We are the renewed Israel, the people of the new covenant. We are those who acknowledge Jesus as Lord and believe that God raised him from the dead. And this defines us over against those who worship other gods, and other lords.
2. Where are we? We are in God’s good creation — citizens now not of a particular country so much as of the world that God is going to make, where we shall share the rule of the Lord Jesus. We are living, as it were, in a house that is being rebuilt around us, though there is yet to come a final moment of on a scale hitherto unimaginable. We are part of the Jewish movement designed by God to spread to the ends of the earth. Our location is defined not by Caesar’s empire but by God’s creation and covenant.
3. What’s wrong? Though Jesus’ resurrection has ushered in the new creation, we live between that event and the redemption still awaited by ourselves and the rest of the world; and, since most of the world still does not acknowledge Jesus as Lord, we are persecuted. We ourselves, too, are not yet perfect, but live in the tension between what we are already, in Christ and by the Spirit, and what we shall be when Jesus appears again and when his work in us is complete. Caesar still rules the world, despite Jesus’ enthronement as its rightful Lord.
4. What’s the solution? The work of the Spirit, in the present and the future, will put into practice, for us and for the whole cosmos, what has been accomplished in Christ. God will put the world to rights, achieving at last what Caesar claimed to have done.
5. What time is it? We live in the overlap of the ages: the age to come has already broken in in Jesus, but the present age still continues… [N]obody knows when, Jesus will reappear, when God finally remakes the cosmos. The Roman world is tottering; only God’s kingdom will last.
from “Paul and Caesar: A New Reading of Romans” by N.T. Wright