1:1-2:10 - ‘By grace you have been saved through faith… for good works’ (2:8-10). God calls us to live a ‘holy’ life. We cannot make ourselves holy. We are spiritually ‘dead’. We need to be ‘made alive’ - by God. Holiness does not come from ourselves. It comes from the Lord. Long before we ever thought of loving Him - He loved us. Our love for Him is so changeable. His love for us is unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable. It is eternal. He loved us ‘before the foundation of the world’. He will love us ‘in the world to come’. This is the love of God, the love which inspires us and enables us to live a ‘holy’ life (2:1; 1:4; 2:7). When we realize the truth concerning ourselves - ‘nothing good dwells within me’ (Romans 7:18) - and God - He is ‘rich in mercy’ (2:4) - , we will ‘praise His glorious grace’ (1:6).
2:11-4:6 - By the grace of God we are called to salvation - ‘saved through faith’ - , sanctification - ‘for good works’ - , and service - ‘according to the gift of God’s grace… by the working of His power’, we are enabled ‘to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ’ (2:8-10; 3:7-8). When we consider all this, we say in our hearts, ‘To God be the glory’! (3:21). We are ‘strengthened with power through His Spirit in our inner being’ so that we might live as those who are saved, sanctified and serving. Even when we are deeply conscious of our own great weakness, we draw encouragement from this: God is ‘able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us’ (3:16,20). We grow in grace as we share in fellowship - ‘eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit’ (4:3).
4:7-5:14 - God wants us to ‘grow up in every way into Christ’ (15). We are to ‘walk in love’ (2), a life which is ‘pleasing to the Lord’ (5:10). It is so easy for us to settle for something less than God’s very best. We settle down into a state of spiritual complacency. What does God have to say about this? - ‘Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God’ (30). He gives us His wake-up call: ‘Awake, O sleeper…’(5:14). God says to us, ‘Awake, awake, put on your strength… Shake yourself from the dust, arise’ (Isaiah 52:1-2). Have you become ‘lukewarm’? - ‘Be zealous and repent’. Christ says, ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him’ (Revelation 3:16,19-20). What will you say to Him? - ‘Come into my heart, Lord Jesus. Come in today. Come in to stay’.
5:15-6:24 - ‘Be very careful how you live’ (5:16). This is for all of us - in every situation of life. How are we to live? We are to ‘be filled with the Spirit’. We are to have ‘reverence for Christ’. We are to live ‘as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart’. We are to ‘be strong in the Lord’. We are to ‘pray at all times in the Spirit’. We are to ‘to love our Lord Jesus Christ with love undying’ (5:18,21;6:6,10,18,24). Careful living emerges from true spirituality. It is not a matter of rules and regulations. It is a matter of love for Jesus. We’re not to be like the Pharisees: ‘On the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy’, ‘These people honour Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me’ (Matthew 23:28; Mark 7:6). Take care - because you love Jesus!