O LORD, we beseech thee favourably to hear the prayers of thy people; that we, who are justly punished for our offences, may be mercifully delivered by thy goodness, for the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.
We previously meditated upon how we ask the Lord to hear our prayers favorably. Moving to the last part of this prayer, one important area we ask for such favor is through confession of our sins. The favorable outcome of repentance is forgiveness and restoration. First in repentance is to acknowledge our responsibility for our sins. It is to acknowledge there are consequences for our sins in our relationships with each other. When we pray, “that we, who are justly punished for our offenses …” we are owning our guilty and that we deserve eternal death for our sins against God and each other. Yet, such a status, one that deserves the just punishments for offences against God and humanity, is forever paid for and covered by Jesus Christ. He forever changes our status from damned to blessed forever. The second part of the phrase is important, for it states that the consequences for our sins are not covered by our work, our merits, or our restitution. No, such forgiveness is as follows from the Collect, “may be mercifully delivered by thy goodness, for the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, world without end. Amen.” We are not delivered from the just punishment for our offences and sins by mercy we earn. We are not delivered from the just punishment for our offences and sins by our goodness or even a goodness we muster up through our own blood, sweat, and tears. If we could be delivered through earning mercy or our goodness, it would be to our glory, not God’s glory. These pipe dreams are impossible for us to accomplish. The more we try to accomplish deliverance on our own terms through merit or deluding ourselves that we are good, the further into sin we will fall without even knowing we are falling. Rather, we are saved from trying to save ourselves by Jesus Christ. He took all our punishments we justly deserved at the Cross. He mercifully delivered us in His goodness, defeating death through His Resurrection. He seals our deliverance from our sins to the glory of His Name for all eternity by mediating and advocating for us through the Ascension, seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. In this first prayer of the Pre-Lent Season, we see our need for Jesus Christ and that He alone covers our need for forgiveness and mercy beyond our deserving, for eternity.