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Are You Good Enough to Go to Heaven?

Articles

Purgatory

Purgatory! Is there such a place, and if so, what is its purpose? Does the Bible tell us about a place such as Purgatory? The best place to start checking out about Purgatory would be the Catholic catechism. The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines Purgatory as a "purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven," which is experienced by those "who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified" (CCC 1030). There are many that never heard about this place, but consider this statement found on the web. "If sin still clings to Christians (Heb 12:1), but there is no sin in heaven (Rev. 21:27), there must be a purification that takes place after one's death and before one enters heaven. Therefore, common sense tells us that our sanctification is usually not complete when we die, though we know we will be perfectly sanctified in heaven. Thus between death and glory must come a purification." (www.Catholic.com )

A few years ago, one of my uncles told me that at least seven areas in Scriptures proved that there is a place called Purgatory, and he invited me over to his house so that he could show me them. Needless to say, I accepted his invitation, mentioning that I knew that the Bible doesn't in any such way teach about Purgatory even once. Oh, there are serious attempts to quote Scriptures that seemingly prove of a Purgatory, but this is done without the Gospel facts by which Scriptures prove that there can be NO such thing as a place called Purgatory. Over and over again we find that Jesus "redeemed us" (1 Peter 1:19,20), "purchased us" (Acts 20:28), and "washed us from our sins in his own blood." (Revelation 1:5) The fact is that when Jesus shouted from the cross, "It is Finished" (John 19:30) He was professing that sins had been wiped away from all believers as Isaiah said, "and with His stripes we are healed!" (Isaiah 53:5) Believers can know that there is no purgatory simply because the Bible tells us that "... he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (2 Cor. 5:21) It's the great exchange by which we can lose our sins and gain His righteousness, and if we have His righteousness, we are cleansed of sin. We need no further purification.

The Bible does say that, "... the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23) If your sins are forgiven, they are also forgotten, so after death we are judged. Certainly any temporal punishment that our sins bring us has already occurred on Earth, as seen by the example of David losing his son after his adulterous fling with Bathsheba. These temporary trials, or punishments are simply for our learning as God does indeed chastise His children, and "afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby." (Hebrews 12:11)

So what are some of the evidence verses in which those that believe in Purgatory use to support and convince others that there is a Purgatory? My uncle showed me 1 Corinthians 3:15, which is one of their favorite verses. It says, "If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." But this is really the Bema-seat Judgment, in which the WORKS go through a examination, not the person. Their motives for why people did things are exposed as good or selfish by Jesus, not the people themselves. That certainly isn't Purgatory. Neither are the rest of the evidence verses, such as 1 Peter 3:10 where Peter tells us that Jesus, "By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison." Certainly that gives us proof of another place besides Heaven or Hell. This place, called "Limbo of the fathers" by some, was temporary, having served its purpose and was emptied AFTER Jesus resurrected. Jesus needed to be the first to resurrect in His glorified body and now there is no need for this place.

What about Judas Maccabees in which their Bible shows him praying for the dead and making atonement for them? (2 Macc. 12:43-45). First, let me mention that these verses are taken from the Apocrypha - not recognized as Scripture. However since it has been brought up by Purgatory proponents, we'll examine it as well. This is simply an historical example of someone doing it, not the establishing of doctrine just as David committing an adulterous affair doesn't provide opportunities for us to do likewise.

We could continue, but I think you see the foolishness of this belief system already. The problem arises out of the fact that those who defend Purgatory simply have the wrong idea of how (or who) gets to Heaven. What seemed to be logical about a place called Purgatory, since no sin enters Heaven, isn't always the way God sees things. And how we feel about something isn't important. What does His Word, the Bible, say? That is what really matters. Thus, we should remember that Jesus took care of the sins at Calvary with His blood, "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission." (Hebrews 9:22) God loves us so much that He gave us His Son to take care of sins, thus there is no possibility for a place called Purgatory, "and with His stripes we are healed!" (Isaiah 53:5) Believers, just as Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:8, know that "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord."