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Are You Good Enough to Go to Heaven?

Thoughts For Young Men

Articles

What about Indulgences

The Catholic Church tells us that, "An indulgence is obtained through the Church who, by virtue of the power of binding and loosing granted her by Christ Jesus, intervenes in favor of individual Christians and opens for them the treasury of the merits of Christ and the saints to obtain from the Father of mercies the remission of the temporal punishment due for their sins." They go on to say, "This technical definition can be phrased more simply as, 'An indulgence is what we receive when the Church lessens the temporal penalties to which we may be subject even though our sins have been forgiven.' "This proved by The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states, "An indulgence is obtained through the Church who, by virtue of the power of binding and loosing granted her by Christ Jesus, intervenes in favor of individual Christians and opens for them the treasury of the merits of Christ and the saints to obtain from the Father of mercies the remission of the temporal punishment due for their sins."

Now I know that many readers probably don't have any idea of what the Catholic Church is saying about indulgences. Let me be brief in explaining why they believe there is a need for this. They believe that because many people die with a few venial sins on their souls, and these are just good people that haven't gotten to a confessional or had the last rites, must be purged of their sins in a place called Purgatory because as they note, Revelation 21:27 tells us, "But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life." (Referring to those in Heaven) And since these have not been to confession, but really haven't done anything that bad to deserve Hell, it is reasonable to believe that Purgatory must exist. Let's look at the so-called reasons that they give for this:

Principle 1: Sin results in guilt and punishment. -  We incur not just guilt, but liability for punishment when we sin: "I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity and Judgment" pertains even to the smallest sins: "For God will bring every deed into judgment."

Principle 2: - punishments are both temporal and eternal. - They claim that the Bible indicates some punishments are eternal, lasting forever, but others are temporal, lasting only a time.

Principle 3: Temporal penalties may remain when a sin is forgiven. They cite "God forgave David, to the point of sparing his life, but David still had to suffer the loss of his son as well as other temporal punishments." as an example of this.

These are three reasons above for believing in indulgences; however, let's look closer to what they aren't telling you. First, and most importantly, the Bible does NOT teach either indulgences or purgatory. The Bible tells us, "For the wages of sin is death," (Romans 6:23) and, "For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all," (James 2:10.) It also says that, "There is none righteous, no, not one," and "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, " (Romans 3:10+23). We all need a cleansing of sins from our soul to get to Heaven. However, there is only one way to attain this.  In God's Word, John 6:28 29 says, "Then they said to Him, 'What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?' Jesus answered and said to them, 'This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.'" What did Jesus come to the earth for? 1 Timothy 1:15 says, "That Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." How? "Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers. but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." (1 Peter 1:18+19). Jesus took our sins so that we might have His righteousness, and by having done that, we are cleansed of our sins when we believe in this. And as Hebrews 1:3 says, "After having purged us of sins...." we can know that, "by His stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5)

Now, compare what the Catholic Church says with the last paragraph. If we trusted in Jesus finished shed blood, our sins have been removed. If not then, you don't have any other options. John 3:36 is clear. "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." Hebrews 9:27 tells us, "And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment." Thus there isn't any need for a purgatory and no purpose for having indulgences. Furthermore, people aren't judged by popular vote, but rather how they lived. Sure there are regrets when one sins, for God disciplines His children, but those are admonishments to us as we live on this planet to get us to turn towards Him.

There are two other errors in which needs to be pointed out from the first paragraph. The thought of some sin being just a little sin is foolishness indeed. James 2:10 simply tells us, "For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all." Now when you add to that what Revelation says about no sin being allowed in Heaven and how the Bible tells us in Romans 6:23 that, "For the wages of sin is death" it becomes pretty clear that form God's view how serious He is about any sin. The other point is where they speak as if God started the Catholic Church as His Church. This is false as well as the church is considered Biblically as consisting of whosoever believes in Christ's finished work for their sin, not some specific denomination.

In closing, I ask you in which way are you trusting?  The Catholic way denies the very work of Christ crucified by placing their hope in humans somehow getting indulgences to remove the very temporal things that our God supposedly wouldn't or couldn't do. On the other hand, you can simply trust in the loving plan that God had to save us. It obviously isn't a hard choice once you realize that on one hand that they are saying that everyone will need temporal punishments that Christ's work didn't take away, but somehow humans have the ability to remove for others. Stick to the way of God and reject such false teachings, just as Scripture tells us to do. Think about it.