Purgatory, A False Hope

“Behold The Lamb Of God, Which Takes Away The Sin Of The World” (John 1:29)

Purgatory (Latin, “purgare”, to make clean, to purify) in accordance with Catholic teaching is a place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God’s grace, are, not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions. (The Catholic Encyclopedia)

My article this week will be somewhat different from previous articles in that I will be dealing with a false doctrine that has been taught by the church for many years. It gives people false hope regarding a place where, through personal suffering or punishment, they can be made ready for Heaven. I personally, come from a Roman Catholic background having been raised in it, and having served as an altar boy in my youth. The problem with this doctrine is that it did not come from the Bible. There is no mention of it there and, in fact, it is in direct opposition to all the Bible teaches.

The Lord gave us His Word (the Bible) so that we would know the right path to walk. The Bible is all about the redemption of man and points the way for man to restore his relationship with God after man’s fall in the Garden. The Bible clearly tells us that we cannot save ourselves and that we need a savior. That savior was Jesus Christ who came and paid the price for our sins on the cross. Our part is to repent of our sins and place our faith in His sacrificial work on the cross. We are saved by what He did, not by anything we do. We can never become acceptable to the Lord through “penance” now, or “temporal punishment” in some holding place after we die. This doctrine teaches that the Lord’s sacrifice on the cross was not enough to pay the sin debt. Jesus made it clear just before He died on the cross when He said “It is finished.” He paid the sin debt in full for all those that would repent of their sin and place their faith in His atoning work on the cross.

We are to live good lives before the Lord, but our good lives will not make us acceptable to the Lord. The Bible says “There is none righteous, no, not one.” Over and over, the Bible points to our need for a savior – one who saves us from our lost and hopeless condition. As has been started, we come by faith in our savior’s sacrificial work on the cross and we are forgiven and pardoned of our sins. We walk out this life by faith in Christ and Him crucified which allows the Holy Spirit to help us.

“For therein [through the cross] is the righteousness of God [right with God] revealed from faith to faith [faith from God to man]: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17).

To say that we must be “made pure” or “clean” by some sort of temporal punishment is an affront to the cross and the Lord’s wonderful redemption plan. The Lord of Glory became Man and suffered and died on a cruel cross that we might be forgiven, be adopted into the family of God, have fellowship with Him, and look forward to spending eternity with the Lord.

“I do not frustrate the grace of God: for If righteousness comes by the Law [anything religious we could do] then Christ died in vain (no reason for Him to Come)” (Galatians 2:21).

This was not an easy article to write. Coming from a Roman Catholic background, At one time I placed a heavy weight on what the church taught. However, our salvation and where we spend eternity is most important and if our understanding of what the Lord says about them is wrong, we will live on false hope for the future and end up in a place we would not want to go. Everything must line up with the Bible. In the following verses, two of the Apostles attest to what I have written here:

The Apostle Paul wrote:

“That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus [Christ and Him crucified for our sin], and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved [ready for Heaven]” (Romans 10:9).

“We are confident, I say, and willing to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord [immediately upon death]” ( 2 Corinthians 5:8).

The Apostle John wrote:

“These things have I written unto you who believe on the Name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the Name of the Son of God [we walk out this life by faith in Christ]” (1 John 5:13).

There is no mention in these verses of a place, or condition, that some who are “not entirely free from venial faults” must go through upon their death and before they are received into Heaven. You would think that if such a place existed, they might mention it to warn believers. They didn’t mention it because there is no such place. It is mentioned nowhere in the Bible. Whether it was well-intentioned or not; this church doctrine is false.

Jesus made it very clear regarding this issue. One of the thieves being crucified alongside Jesus, who admitted to being guilty of the crime he was accused of, and moments earlier had joined with those mocking the Lord, now comes by way of repentance and faith in Who the Lord is. A most amazing conversion and display of the power of the Blood of Jesus to forgive all sin.

“And he (the thief) said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto you, today shall you be with me in Paradise.

My advice today is the advice given to me years ago; Look into these things yourself. Do not accept anything without proving it out in the Word of God. Read the Bible for in it are the very words of life. We get caught up in our very busy lives, but our eternal wellbeing is at stake here and we must assure ourselves that what we believe for the future is accurate. We cannot trust it to others. May the Lord richly bless you as you seek Him and He leads you in His Way.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

See “The ABC’s Of Salvation” and “The Sinner’s Prayer” pages.

Find podcasts of this article, and all the articles on this website on the “Here I Am Lord” podcast on Anchor, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Breaker, Pocket Casts, and RadioPublic. Also, Here I Am, Lord is on Telegram.

Here I Am, Lord – Tom Quinn Ministries – tqministries.com

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