Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. – Psalm 51:1
Notice that the psalmist doesn’t appeal to his own good deeds or goodness to ask God for mercy. He is well aware that he is sinful through and through, that he was born in sin, that his goodness could never repay for his lawbreaking. He thus couldn’t appeal to his own goodness.
Instead, he appeals to the only thing that he can appeal to: God’s steadfast love and abundant mercy. If God were to have mercy, it would not have been on account of the psalmist’s merit, but solely because of His great love.
The same is true for all of us today. Many think that they are good enough to earn God’s mercy. And hypothetically, a perfect person could earn God’s favor and not even need any mercy. But there is not one person who has lived up to such a standard—none, that is, but Christ.
No one deserves mercy; all deserve wrath. But Jesus lived a perfect life and died a sacrificial death, so that He could pass on the favor that only He deserves to sinners such as we. For all who believe in Him, He took our sinfulness and gave us His righteousness, and we now have received mercy and grace. In the most beautiful way, God had mercy on us, according to His steadfast love, according to His abundant mercy, demonstrating it on the cross of Christ. He is the basis for His own mercy. Thank you, Lord!