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Both those before and after the life and death of Jesus are saved not by their merits, but by faith in Jesus' mercy and grace. As the Confessions teach that "Faith does not justify or save because it is a good work in itself, but only because it accepts the promised mercy" (Apology IV.56 Tappert). The Apology continues confessing saying "The frequent references to mercy and faith in the Psalms and the prophets belong here; for example, "If Thou,; O Lord, shouldst mark iniquities, LOrd, who shall stand?" (Psalm 130:3). Here the Psalmist confesses his sins, but he does not lay claim to any merit of his own. He adds, "There is forgiveness with thee (Verse 4). Here he comforts himself with his trust in God's mercy. He quotes the promise: "My soul waits for His word, my soul hopes in the Lord," that is, because thou has promised the forgiveness of sins I am sustained by Thy promise. Therefore the patriarchs, too, were justified not by the law but by the promise and faith" (Apology IV.58-59 Tappert).
From Adam to the very last man and woman on earth, no one is justified or saved by their merit and goodness, but by the death and resurrection of Jesus The Christ. Fallen man cannot approach the holiness of The Father with his own accomplishments and temporal good works. He cannot present himself before The Father as his own counsel and make a defense for himself by telling God to look at his progress or his achievements and accept him into the eternal realm. No! Man's only hope for life eternal and salvation is in the promise of Jesus that His death is for the salvation of all sinners. HIs death and resurrection is for those who cannot save themselves. So, the only thing we can do before Our Father in heaven is confess our iniquities and repent of our sins. All we can do is cry out for Jesus to be our propitiator and have mercy on us by covering us in His righteousness.
All fallen man can do is rely on the mercy of Jesus and trust in His promise that says, "The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and give His life as a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28). All we can do is rely on the promise that Jesus works out all our salvation as the lamb destined to be slain for the life of the world as it says, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who bears the sin of the world" (John 1:29). Faith takes hold of Jesus as our savior and doesn't let go of that assurance. We never trust in our merit, or present our works before God The Father. No! Rather we present Jesus' merit and point to His work on the cross for our justification, meaning that we are declared righteous and forgiven all our sin because of Jesus death and resurrection. May peace continue to dwell with us as we receive the same promise as the saints before us, that Jesus is the Propitiator for our sins, He is our righteousness, He is our Savior who will never leave us nor forsake us, Amen.