"Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion,
blot out my transgressions."
To what good work can we appeal to? To what righteousness do we have to stand before God justified and able to defend ourselves? Are we not hypocrites and liars? Murderers and thieves? What amount of good works can we say will be enough to atone for one act of selfishness? Has not the damage been done? Who can say to the shattered mirror, "Be repaired!" or "Put yourself back together!", expecting the word would bring restoration and atonement? What amount of good works can fix a broken life damaged by sin? Sin done cannot be undone by any earthly power and the penalty of sin is death.
But Jesus is Lord.
It is his righteousness that we appeal to. By his goodness can we ask for mercy. Because of his unfailing love do we stand to hold victory before the Lord in judgment. Forgiveness is that divine power to save us from death, forgiveness only possible because God is God and Jesus is Lord. Because God is righteous, he will restore that which we have broken. Because God is righteous, he will keep account of sin to act with justice. Because God is righteous, we can trust he is able to save us and he alone and we can trust his judgment is correct. Thank God God is God! He is who He says He is!