There is other teaching in the Articles on sin and salvation, but these four Articles give a gloriously clear introduction to the biblical teaching, contrasting it with most of the misunderstandings and heresies of the sixteenth century and today.
Man’s threefold problem
Put simply, man’s problem consists of actual sin, original sin and the power of sin. Many heresies deny one or more of these aspects of the problem and the solution they offer is therefore inadequate. We need, with the Articles, to face up to what Scripture teaches.
Since sin is falling short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23), we are all guilty. Even the ‘good’ person is only good by human standards but it is by God’s standards that we are judged. The idea that doing our best will ensure we are safe at the judgment and the notion that God will weigh our good against our evil in the scales, are wrong and dangerous heresies. They are wrong because the standard required is perfect holiness and they are dangerous because they allow or encourage complacency instead of urging on people the need to be saved. Thus Article 11 denies that our good works or deservings can have any effect at all on our salvation, and Article 18 makes clear that doing our best is not enough (and rightly condemns those who teach that it is). Sin is sin and must be dealt with. We cannot deal with sin by pretending it is not there, or by hiding it away, or by balancing it out with good. It is read and it offends our holy God. To read more, click here.
To read "The Thirty-Nine Articles: A Faith for Today - Articles 1 - 5," click here.
To read "The Thirty-Nine Articles - A Faith for Today: Articles 6 - 8: Scripture and Truth," click here.