I love how Paul consistently refers back to stories to help explain what he is teaching.
11:2 "Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, 3 “Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life”? 4 But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 Even so then, at this ...present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work."
During the time of Elijah Israel was a mess. They were very religious but it was more Baal worship than anything else. More and more I am understanding the appeal of idol worship. It better suits our warped picture of God and our selfish natures.
We see God too often as angry and/or demanding. Hard to love a god like that. Since this view of God excludes the possibility of love it becomes a relationship of forced dependence. God has things we want and need so we are forced to appease Him in order to get them. It's sick and creates religions that are warped and unhealthy.
While all this is happening God simply wants us to know Him as He is and shower us with His grace.
Think how messed up things were when God chose the descendants of Abraham to reveal His true character of love and mercy and forgiveness to the world yet they became more messed up than the nations around them. The picture of God they painted was more distorted and confusing and unappealing than the gods the other nations had already invented.
Here we are 2000 years after the cross and I have to wonder what kind of confusing picture we're painting for the world. Clearly the wrong one when men and women raised in Christian homes and countries are leaving for Islam and eastern mysticism and new age philosophies and/or atheism.
To know Him is to love Him so clearly we are not making Him known. How do you see Him? Works in order to get from Him what you want or grace from a Father who simply wants you Home in His arms?