1:12-17 The apostle knew that he would justly have perished, if the Lord had been extreme to mark what was amiss; and also if his grace and mercy had not been abundant to him when dead in sin, working faith and love to Christ in his heart. This is a faithful saying; these are true and faithful words, which may be depended on, That the Son of God came into the world, willingly and purposely to save sinners. No man, with Paul's example before him, can question the love and power of Christ to save him, if he really desires to trust in him as the Son of God, who once died on the cross, and now reigns upon the throne of glory, to save all that come to God through him. Let us then admire and praise the grace of God our Saviour; and ascribe to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, three Persons in the unity of the Godhead, the glory of all done in, by, and for us.
16. Howbeit—Greek, "But"; contrasting his own conscious sinfulness with God's gracious visitation of him in mercy.
for this cause—for this very purpose.
that in me—in my case.
first—"foremost." As I was "foremost" (Greek for chief, 1Ti 1:15) in sin, so God has made me the "foremost" sample of mercy.
show—to His own glory (the middle Greek, voice), Eph 2:7.
all long-suffering—Greek, "the whole (of His) long-suffering," namely, in bearing so long with me while I was a persecutor.
a pattern—a sample (1Co 10:6, 11) to assure the greatest sinners of the certainty that they shall not be rejected in coming to Christ, since even Saul found mercy. So David made his own case of pardon, notwithstanding the greatness of his sin, a sample to encourage other sinners to seek pardon (Ps 32:5, 6). The Greek for "pattern" is sometimes used for a "sketch" or outline—the filling up to take place in each man's own case.
believe on him—Belief rests ON Him as the only foundation on which faith relies.
to life everlasting—the ultimate aim which faith always keeps in view (Tit 1:2).