For your name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my guilt, for it is great. (Psalm 25:11)
In knowing what is right, God does not consult any authority higher than himself. His own worth is the ultimate value in the universe. Therefore, for God to do what is right means acting in a way that accords with this ultimate value.
The righteousness of God is the infinite zeal and joy and pleasure that he has in what is supremely valuable, namely, his own perfection and worth. And if he were ever to act contrary to this eternal passion for his own perfections, he would be unrighteous — he would be an idolater.
How shall such a righteous God ever set his affection on sinners like us who have scorned his perfections? But the wonder of the gospel is that in his divine righteousness lies also the very foundation of our salvation.
The infinite regard that the Father has for the Son makes it possible for me, a wicked sinner, to be loved and accepted in the Son, because in his death he vindicated the worth and glory of his Father.
Because of Christ, we can pray with new understanding the prayer of the psalmist, “For your name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my guilt, for it is great” (Psalm 25:11). The new understanding is that, because of Christ, instead of only praying, “For your name’s sake, pardon my guilt,” we now pray, “For Jesus’s name’s sake, O God, pardon my guilt.”
First John 2:12 says, “I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake,” referring to Jesus. Jesus has now atoned for sin and vindicated the Father’s honor so that our “sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.”
God is righteous. He does not sweep sin under the rug. If a sinner goes free, someone dies to vindicate the infinite worth of God’s glory that the sinner defamed. That is what Christ did. Therefore, “For your name’s sake, O Lord” and “For Jesus’s name’s sake” are the same. And that is why we pray with confidence for forgiveness.