WHAT ABOUT PURGATORY?

 

As born again Christians we want to understand some of the beliefs of others and be ready to help them to see Biblical truth.  One of the beliefs of our Roman Catholic friends is in a place called “purgatory”.  Purgatory is supposedly a place people go after they die before they go to Heaven.

 

Here is an explanation of purgatory according to the Roman Catholic Website, Catholic Answers:

“All Christians agree that we won’t be sinning in heaven. Sin and final glorification are utterly incompatible. Therefore, between the sinfulness of this life and the glories of heaven, we must be made pure. Between death and glory there is a purification.

“Thus, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: ‘All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. The Church gives the name purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.’

 

“…Some imagine that the Catholic Church has an elaborate doctrine of purgatory worked out, but there are only three essential components of the doctrine: (1) that a purification after death exists, (2) that it involves some kind of pain, and (3) that the purification can be assisted by the prayers and offerings by the living to God.

 

Other ideas, such that purgatory is a particular "place" in the afterlife or that it takes time to accomplish, are speculations rather than doctrines.” http://www.catholic.com/library/Roots_of_Purgatory.asp

 

So, what about purgatory?  Is there such a place that we need to go after we die before we go to heaven so we can suffer and be purified from some of our sins?

 

Let’s answer the question about purgatory with five other questions:

 

1. HOW FINISHED IS FINISHED?

 

John 19:30 - When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

 

Who is the Lord Jesus Christ?  He is God the Son! Mark 1:1, John 1:1-2

 

Why did Jesus ever leave Heaven to come to earth?

He came to earth because every other individual that has ever lived has a problem called sin. Sin is anything that we do that displeases God. We have all sinned and failed God.  We are all wicked in the eyes of God. Isaiah 64:6  

 

So we are sinners, so what?

God is righteous and God is just, therefore, He requires that evil doers be punished for their sins.   

Ezekiel 18:4, Romans 6:23

   

God loves us. He wants us to be rescued or saved from the punishment of Hell.  That’s why He sent His Son to earth, to do for us what we can not do for ourselves, save ourselves from punishment for our sins. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, 2 Corinthians 5:21

 

So Jesus died on the cross for your sins.  You and I don’t deserve such love, but it has been extended to us from the cross.

   

Just before Jesus died on the cross and after asking for and getting a drink he cried, “IT IS FINISHED!”  All the prophecies that needed to be fulfilled concerning his life and death were completed!

 

But there’s more, the word Greek word Jesus used for “finished” means “paid in full”!  In other words, the debt for our sins on the cross was paid in full!  When a person’s trust is in the Lord Jesus Christ, his sins are paid for in full!  Isaiah 53:5, Hebrews 9:12, 1 Peter 3:18

 

So, was the sacrifice of Christ for your sins sufficient to pay for all of your sins?  Indeed it was!   

To say that a person has to add good works to what Christ has done is an insult to Him!

To say that a person has to suffer in purgatory for some sins that Christ didn’t die for is an insult to Him.

 

How finished is finished?  When Jesus died for your sins, your sins were paid for in full!   

 

2. HOW FORGIVEN IS FORGIVEN?

 

When are a person’s sins actually forgiven?

When is a person assured that He is going to Heaven?

What must a person do to have His sins forgiven?

 

Christ paid for our sins in full. Therefore there is only one requirement for forgiveness and eternal life.  That requirement is faith! John 3:16-18, Ephesians 2:8-9

 

When a person sincerely turns away from trying to earn his way to Heaven and puts his or her full trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, some wonderful things happen.  We become the children of God.  We are indwelt with God’s Holy Spirit.  We are declared righteous so that we can go to Heaven.  Our sins are forgiven! Ephesians 1:7

 

But what about the sins we commit after we have put our faith in Christ?

Did Christ die for them too?  Of course he did!

 

When we sin as Christians, not only does it break God’s heart, but it breaks communication between me and God. Psalm 66:18, Isaiah 59:2, 1 John 1:8-2:2     

 

The blood of Jesus Christ that was already shed is the satisfaction for our sins.  When I confess my sins as a Christian I am totally forgiven!

 

But what about sin that is in my life when I die?

Christ died for all of our sins.

There is nothing for us to pay for!

The work of Christ on the cross was sufficient so that all your sins are forgiven!

There is no need for a place called purgatory!   

   

3. HOW HIDEOUS IS HELL?    

 

Please turn to Luke 16:19-31.

There are two places of suffering mentioned in Scripture. One is referred to as Hell.  It is a place of immediate suffering for those whose sins are not forgiven.  The other is the Lake of Fire, which is the place of final suffering for those who are not in Heaven.

 

The story of Lazarus and the rich man teaches some very important things about this place called Hell.

 

There was a rich man who did very well for himself in this life, but when he died, because of his unbelief, he found himself in hell.

 

There was another man, named Lazarus, who was a beggar. When he died, because of his faith, he went to Heaven.

 

The man in hell cries out to Abraham who is in Heaven.

Notice some important things about hell from this passage.

 

·       Vs. 23 tells us that people in hell are aware of what is going on.

·       Vs. 23 tells us that hell is a place of torment or pain.

·       Vs. 24 tells us that hell is a place of extreme heat caused by flames.

·       Vss. 25-26 tells us that there is no relief in hell.

·       Vss. 27-28 tells us that people in hell are very evangelistic. They don’t want anyone else to come there!

 

As I said a moment ago there is a place called the “Lake of Fire”.  Revelation 20:11-15

 

Why will people go to hell and not Heaven?

Because they did not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior!

Their names are not written in the “Book of Life”.

That is why we should want to share the Gospel now with people who have not trusted Jesus as Savior!

 

4. HOW HERE IS HEAVEN?

 

How close is a true Christian believer to Heaven?

He’s only one breathe away!

His or her last breathe on earth will be his or her first breathe in Heaven!

 

Psalm 116:15 - Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.

 

How could the death of a believer in Christ, who is a saint, be precious in God’s eyes if that person was headed for a place of suffering?

 

2 Corinthians 5:6-8 - Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: [7] (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) [8] We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

 

This passage is very clear.  We are either at home in the body or present with the Lord!

 

5. HOW PERTINENT IS PURGATORY?

 

The Word pertinent means relevant.

How pertinent is purgatory?

It’s not, because it does not exist.

There is no Scripture that clearly attests to it.

There is no reason for it to exist. A person after he dies is either in Heaven or hell.

 

If your faith is sincerely in Christ, so that he has given you new life, you need not fear hell.

If your faith is not in Christ as your only way to Heaven, you are in trouble.  But through faith in Christ, you can get out of trouble this morning.

 

John 3:36 - He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

 

WHAT ABOUT PURGATORY?

1.     HOW FINISHED IS FINISHED?

2.     HOW FORGIVEN IS FORGIVEN?

3.     HOW HIDEOUS IS HELL?

4.     HOW HERE IS HEAVEN?

5.  HOW PERTINENT IS PURGATORY?

 

 

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