Our Father, our King, erase through Your abundant compassion all records of our guilt
If we have asked Hashem to forgive and wipe away our sins, why do we now beseech Him to erase through His abundant compassion all records of our guilt?
This question can be answered as follows: The commentaries wonder why Yaakov rebuked Reuven for his sin of switching his mother’s bed, if Reuven had already repented. The Ohr Hachaim and Reb Elya Lapian answer that although Reuven had repented from his sin, the impression of his action was still evident, and Yaakov chastised Reuven on his middah of being haste. [This may be comparable to one who received a speeding ticket and is absolved from paying the fine, but earns a point on his record. The point reflects his driving habits, and to feel truly innocent, one would ask to have the points removed from his record.] In this vein we can explain our request here. Although You have forgiven our sins and wiped away and removed our willful sins and errors, we are still concerned with our records of our guilt. Therefore we ask Hashem to erase our records of guilt entirely, so even the impression of sin is obliterated.
Our Father, our King, [remember us for merit] inscribe us in the book of merits
What does it mean to be remembered for merit? The Chofetz Chaim asks regarding the supplication that we recite during the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah, Avinu Malkeinu kasveinu b’seifer zechuyos, Our Father, our King, inscribe us in the book of merits. If we are meritorious, then we do not need to be inscribed in the book of merits. If we are not meritorious, then of what benefit is it to be inscribed in the book of merits? Let us examine the word zechuyos, merits. The Sefarim write that the word zechus is derived from the word zach, pure. We ask Hashem to remember us for merits, and essentially we are requesting that Hashem purify us, because Hashem is the Only One Who can judge us as meritorious. Similarly, during the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah, we ask Hashem to inscribe us in the book of merits, because we were judged on Rosh Hashanah, but we do not know the outcome of the judgment. Therefore we ask Hashem to purify us, and then we can be inscribed for life and merits together with the righteous.