1:1-2:15 - ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’. Paul has something special to say about this statement. This is what he says - ‘Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance’ (1:15). This is Paul’s message, the message of the Gospel: ‘Christ Jesus gave Himself as a ransom for all’ (2:5-6). Paul speaks of ‘the glorious Gospel of the blessed God’ (1:11). He speaks as a man with a testimony: ‘I received mercy... the grace of our Lord overflowed for me’ (1:13-14). God is still looking for people who will say, with Paul, ‘I am not ashamed of the Gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith’, ‘God forbid that I should glory save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Romans 1:16; Galatians 6:14). May God help us, in our generation, to be ‘eager to preach the Gospel’ (Romans 1:15).
3:1-4:16 - Belief and Behaviour - Both are important. We are ‘nourished in the words of the faith’ so that we ‘may know how one ought to behave in the household of God’ (4:6; 3:15). We are not only to believe the right things. We are to behave the right way. To each of us, God says, ‘Watch your life and doctrine closely’ (4:16). What we believe is important. How we live is also important. If our faith is real, it will lead to a change in our way of life. The whole of life is to be ‘consecrated by the Word of God and prayer’ (4:5). Our God is ‘the living God’ (3:15; 4:10). He wants to be real to us in every part of our life. ‘Fill Thou our life, O Lord our God, in every part with praise... Not for the lip of praise alone nor even the praising heart, we ask, but for a life made up of praise in every part’ (Church Hymnary, 457).
5:1-6:21 - There is a great battle going on - between God and Satan. There have been disappointments: ‘Some have already strayed after Satan’. Lives are being ruined. Many ‘have wandered away from the faith’. They have not found happiness. They ‘have pierced their hearts with many griefs’ (5:15; 6:9-10). There is a great deal at stake in this battle. We must ‘give the enemy no opportunity to slander us’. We must take care how we live - ‘so that God’s Name... may not be slandered’ (5:14; 6:1). We are to live a life of ‘godliness’, a life that is based on ‘the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ’. We are to ‘aim at righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness’. Let’s live for ‘the life to come, the life which is permanent’. This is ‘life indeed, the life that is truly life’ (6:3,11,19).