There are two cards that you can play in life. You can play the mercy card. Or, you can play the merit card.
The merit card goes like this. You try your hardest to live the best life that you can. In the end, you stand before God and He rewards you (or punishes you) in accordance with the way that you went. The mercy card goes like this. You confess before the Lord that you are bankrupt and in need of mercy. You plead that God will be merciful to you, the sinner, through Jesus Christ.
The good news for those who play the mercy card is this: God will justify those who plead for His mercy (Luke 18:9-14). The bad news for those who play the merit card is this: Even the most righteous among us will be ruined as we stand before the holy Lord God, Almighty (Isaiah 6:1-5).
Which card are you going to play?