How to Avoid Purgatory

What is purgatory?  Catholics subdivide the VALUE of the sacrifice of Christ, making it only sufficient in and of itself for the ETERNAL punishment for sin (hell). This leaves a part of the "salvation" (meaning payment for the PENALTY for sin) in our hands -- the "temporal" punishment. But if one doesn't become holy enough before death by the right means, the teaching is that temporal punishment is then paid by the person in Purgatory, along with loved ones on earth who pray and give to have masses said for the one in purgatory, so the person may in time be released to heaven. But is this what the Bible REALLY teaches?  Half of those who believe in Christ and the Bible say  "no"!   Why?

 

The Roman Catholic answer is tied to Papal Infallibility...Papal succession from Peter...and thus the issue is settled.  But is it?   Click here: Peter the pope  and also read

 Papalinfallibility.

Now IF purgatory doesn't really exist, then the question is off-base, isn't it?  What is the truth?  Here are some questions that need to be answered about this issue, including #14... How to be sure to avoid purgatory.

UNDERSTANDING THE PURGATORY DOCTRINE

1.  What does "Purgatory" mean? What is to be accomplished in purgatory?

2.  What is the history of the doctrine of purgatory?

3.  What scriptures do Catholics refer to in connection with the teaching of Purgatory?

4.  Why do Protestants disagree with the teaching?

5.  What Bible words from the Greek) help us understand the teaching of Purgatory?

6.  How does LOGIC play into the teaching of Purgatory?

7.  How JUST is Purgatory?

8.  But what about confession of sins?

9.  What about II Macabees 12?

10.  What about the Eucharist as a blood sacrifice applied to you for those in purgatory?

11.  What about the verse that says "Work out your own salvation"?

12.  What about visions some have had of purgatory-like scenes?

13.  What about the early church fathers' statements?

14.  How can one be sure to avoid purgatory?

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1. WHAT DOES PURGATORY MEAN?  The word is not found in the Bible. Catholic writings freely admit this. The only New Testament places whereone a FORM of the word is found, we repeatedly read that CHRIST purged us from our sins. Heb. 1:3, 9:22, and 10:2, and I Peter 1:9. It comes from the Latin word purgare and  means a place of purging, washing, or cleansing. 

2. WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF THE DOCTRINE OF PURGATORY? While it is acknowledged that the idea of an intermediate place for the dead has existed in various cultures and religions since Old Testament times, the IDEA of purgatory was not introduced into the Roman Catholic church until around 593 AD by Pope Gregory.   It did not come as a clear "revelation"...but a sort of "remedy". Two nuns were given an order by the church to change their speech or they would be excommunicated. But before the order reached them, they accidentally died. It was concluded they had gone to an intermediate place where it was now necessary for those still alive to make sacrifice for them. This was done by St. Benedict. As a result the nuns were considered to be restored to communion with God. * When Gregory was questioned about this event he suggested that the church had powers of binding and loosing. The next official position statement relating to purgatory was in 1274. It was proclaimed official dogma in 1439 AD.   So what? This suggests an evolving idea, rather than a firm doctrine. How just would it be for those who lived and DIED early (lets say before 600 AD) and did not understand what was needed to get loved ones out of purgatory, nor gain any benefit themselves from such actions (if it is true)??

 *The Dialogues of Gregory the Great, Book 2 Saint Benedict, Chapter 23.

   The History of Purgatory goes back further than one might think, however....back to pagan ancient Egypt and many other pagan cultures.  For details on this see The Two Babylons, by Alexander Hislop, Chapter Four, Section Five,  (Titled) Purgatory and prayers for the dead.   (available on-line).

3. WHAT SCRIPTURES DO CATHOLICS USE IN CONNECTION WITH THE PURGATORY DOCTRINE?

I have taken time to deal with all the "proof texts" I could find cited on this topic below. 

The primary Catholic "proof text" suggested speaks of "fire" but the only thing "burned" in the context is the WORKS of the person, not the person. I Cor. 3:15 We can learn much by studying this whole chapter IN CONTEXT. The overall topic of the passage is how one BUILDS on the Church's foundation, which is Christ. Verse 12 says we can build with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay or stubble. The passage is talking about how we live for and serve God, not good deeds versus sins. In both verses 8 and 14 the options are REWARDS or no rewards, and no other type of punishment is mentioned. The phrases, "he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire" must be understood in the context... Fire TESTS the WORKS, not the person, and it is MINISTERS OF CHRIST and their contribution to the Church that is being talked about (verses 4-5) The reward concept is reinforced by the fact that the judgment seat of Christ mentioned in Romans 14:10 (which is what is being discussed here) is in the Greek the BEMA seat, which was the place where Olympics contestants who had won went to get their laurel wreath crowns/rewards! It is not a penalty-judgment, it is an award-judgment!

     I Peter 1:7 refers to a fiery trial that OCCURS IN THIS LIFE...and the passage ends with the words, "receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls." Note that it is not suffering, but faith that leads to salvation.

     I Peter 3:18-22 refers to OLD Testament people.  This was not a second chance offer, the word preach there refers to a proclamation.  It was probably a proclamation of victory over sin and Satan.  No indication of anyone escaping from this place of spirit prison is given, and Acts 2:31 indicates that Jesus went to
hell, not purgatory to make his proclamation.

     Matt. 12:32 would involve a logic jump from "No forgiveness in the next life" to "forgiveness in the next life." It does not necessarily follow.  It is speaking about the ONE unpardonable sin. 

      II Tim. 1:18 says nothing other than granting mercy to someone on "that day".  Any other concept has to be read into the text. 

      Luke 16:19-26 speaks of two locations but says one cannot move from one to the other. I would use this as a prooftext REFUTING purgatory!  Luke 23:43 is another cited text that I would add to MY list...as it speaks of a thief going DIRECTLY to paradise!  

      Heb. 12:29 only says our God is a consuming fire.  Fire is a symbol of judgment in the Bible.  God is in essence Spirit. (John 4:24)

          The only other proof text I could find speaks of there being nothing impure in heaven. Rev. 21:27 We agree that there is a need for the cleansing, but we do not believe it takes place beyond this life.

      As you can see from the above list... Roman Catholics are reading the idea into the Bible rather than letting the Bible speak for itself regarding the subject.

4. WHY DO PROTESTANTS DISAGREE WITH THE DOCTRINE OF PURGATORY? Simply because it is a denial of the doctrine of the atonement. The Bible says that when Christ died for our sins it was for all of them, with no division of type between the penalties before or after conversion.. Allow me to revisit the PURPOSE of purgatory - to purge or wash or cleanse us from sins. Heb. 1:3 says Christ by Himself purged us from our sins. I John 1:7 says the blood of Christ cleanseth us (Literally, keeps on cleansing!) from all sin.   The basic underlying principle from Leviticus is that WITHOUT the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness would lead to the conclusion that time in purgatory WON'T BRING FORGIVENESS.  (Lev. 17:11 and Heb. 9:22)

     Catholic doctrine teaches an unbiblical "dividing" of penalty and guilt. It holds that “absolution takes away sin, but it does not remedy all the disorders sin has caused…he (the person) must ‘make satisfaction for’ or ‘expiate’ his sins.  The Bible makes no such distinction.  Rev. 1:5 says Jesus washed us from our sins in His blood. Colossians 1:14 says God has blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, nailing it to the cross. I Cor. 6:11 refers to the carnal people (3:1) in Corinth (!) in these terms: "And such were some of you; but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus...I Cor. 6:11 In every case we see the purpose of purgatory as having already been accomplished by Christ! This is re-echoed by Hebrews chapters 8 through 10 where it is repeatedly stated that Christ was offered for us ONCE FOR ALL TIME!  (Hebrews 9:24-26, 10:10, 12, 14. )  And Heb. 10:17-18 state this: "And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin." We believe the blood of Christ is sufficient to deliver all who believe from purgatory, and no more offering is needed.  

5. WHAT GREEK WORDS HELP US UNDERSTAND MORE ABOUT THE PURGATORY CONCEPT?

   First we need to point out that the word "once" used in Hebrews 10 regarding his sacrifice for sins,  means once for all time.

   Secondly, The catholic catechism mentions this idea of purgatory as a final SATISFACTION of the penalty. But Rom. 3:24-25 states that God set forth Christ to be a  propitiation  (for our sins) through faith in His blood. Propitiation is a Greek word that means full SATISFACTION!   God's justice requirements are satisfied.

   Thirdly, when Christ died, He said, "It is finished"... a Greek term meaning paid in full!

   Also, Romans 8:1-2 says there is now NO CONDEMNATION to us as ones who have believed in Christ, as does John 1:18. and John 5:24 The one who believes is not condemned. The Greek word condemned is translated JUDGED in other passages, so we are being told that faith in Christ's blood delivers us from any negative JUDGMENT such as purgatory.

   Further, most of the Epistles are addressed to the "Saints" in a given area or city. The word saint comes from the same root word as HOLY. He is writing to those whom God sees as HOLY, and that includes ALL who are saved. We know that because there are no secondary chapters in the Epistles addressed to "the rest of you less-than-saints"! (The carnal Christians at Corinth (3:1) are referred to in I Cor 1:2 as "them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints") HOW could Paul refer to these people as SANCTIFIED? The words holy and sanctified also mean set apart. God sets believers apart as His own.

   Justification is also translated as righteousness in the new testament, and has to do with our legal standing...but sanctification is our level of MATURITY or spiritual GROWTH, which would seem to be a process. Yet, In I Thess 5:23 we read this: "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." It would appear that the completion of the sanctification process is in GOD's hands! Yes, we cooperate with it, (if the Spirit is in you, you will want to follow Christ) but Phil. 1:6 says that what God STARTS He FINISHES, so we can be secure in our destiny. The truth is that there is a sense in which God not only justifies us when we believe in His shed blood, but also sanctifies us, and then glorifies us. Romans 8:29-30 speaks of this sort of "escalator" action for all who start the process of steps complete it by God's power!    "...whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son,...moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. If all who are sure they are JUSTIFIED(righteous) are going to be GLORIFIED, do we need to worry about purgatory? Romans 5:1 says we are justified by FAITH. Galatians 3(whole chapter) says the same. Col. 3:4 says that when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. That's what being glorified is about...being with Christ and like Christ. How could such a promise be made if purgatory is in store for many?

6. HOW DOES LOGIC PLAY INTO THE TEACHING OF PURGATORY? It makes very good sense that we do not deserve heaven since God is perfect and expects us to measure up! Romans 3:23 tells us none of us measure up.  Purgatory may seem logical:

                  “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” (Roman Catholic magazine This Rock; October 2000). 

But there is a problem here. God's salvation is CONTRARY TO LOGIC, simply because it is based on faith and His GRACE. Grace means undeserved favor. That's not logical!  If we are saying you get heaven once you've done all (and others have done their part) so that you DESERVE IT, we have denied the very basis of salvation!  Romans 5:20-21 tells us that where sin abounded grace did MUCH MORE abound. Grace isn't logical.  Instead, we get BETTER than we deserve. But Romans 4:16 tells us that it is BECAUSE salvation is based on grace that we can be SURE about it! I Peter 3:18 says that Christ died, the just for the unjust (does this sound logical?) that He might bring us to God. Titus 3:5 says it is not by works of righteousness that we have done but according to God's MERCY that he saves us... mercy is also illogical, but that is the "deal". Do you understand what mercy is?  It is NOT getting the punishment you deserve!!!!   Throughout the Psalms we read "for his mercy endureth forever". Rom. 6:23 makes this deliverance from all punishment a GIFT. Logically, purgatory would be necessary if all God can offer is JUSTICE...but grace and mercy supercede justice....because the shed blood satisfies justice. Logically, if the blood is ENOUGH...It becomes UNJUST to extract a double punishment.

   There are other elements of the purgatory teaching that seem illogical to me. If purgation is the purpose of purgatory, it seems off target: FIRE DOES NOT CLEANSE (shed blood does - Heb.  9:22)  The PRAYERS of others, likewise, will not cleanse sin; the money of others given for masses will not cleanse sin,(Psalm 49:7), and the masses themselves will add nothing to what Christ said was ALREADY DONE ONCE AND FOR ALL TIME according to Hebrews 9 and 10 as was stated above. It appears to me that via purgatory God (if it existed) would be  requiring at least a TRIPLE or QUADRUPLE payment here: first, the real death of Christ...second, the suffering of the person in a fire (that is what is generally believed to be the environment), thirdly the money given for the masses said, fourth, the repeat sacrifice (if that is the truth about the eucharist), fifth, the prayers and sixth the other good works of the living (treasury of merit). It makes no sense to me from the get-go because the old testament indicates that there is nothing we can do, especially in terms of money, to secure the redemption of another person - - Psalm 49:7. Logically, every element that we ADD to the redemption process suggests that the blood of Christ is that much LESS VALUABLE. Thus the whole idea borders on blasphemy. Christians feel they must oppose it out of loyalty to Christ!

   Beyond this, the length of stay in purgatory would relate to how much loved ones did. If alms are required for masses, then you had better hope you have some rich generous children who really love you;otherwise you get more time. How just is that?   Are we not individually accountable for our sins? Why should my kids have to pay for my sins? Further, all those people who did not understand about purgatory (it wasn't taught as dogma until 1274) would have spent far more time than WE would be spending in purgatory because of ignorance of the requirements.  How just is that? And last...the Bible says we have all we need for godly living in the scriptures (I Peter 1:3, II Tim. 3:16-7), yet it appears Christ failed to spell out clearly the requirements for escaping purgatory for centuries. I can't accept that.

7. HOW JUST IS PURGATORY:   If purgation is the purpose of purgatory, it seems off target: "Without  shedding of blood  is no remission" Heb. 9:22   "FIRE DOES NOT CLEANSE. The PRAYERS of others, likewise, will not cleanse sin; the money of others given for masses will not cleanse sin, and the masses themselves will add nothing to what Christ said was ALREADY DONE ONCE AND FOR ALL TIME according to Hebrews 9 and 10 as was stated above.

Further,  every element that we ADD to the redemption process suggests that the blood of Christ is that much LESS VALUABLE. Thus the whole idea borders on blasphemy. Christians feel they must oppose it out of loyalty to Christ!   You could say that all  works involving our blood, sweat and tears are like adding contaminated material to the precious perfect and powerful blood of Jesus.  Isa. 64:6 speak of OUR righteousnesses as  "filthy rags"  

   Beyond this, the length of stay in purgatory would relate to how much loved ones did. If alms are required for masses, then you had better hope you have some rich generous children who really love you;otherwise you get more time. How just  is that?   Are we not individually accountable for our sins? Why should my kids have to pay for my sins? Further, all those people who did not understand about purgatory (it wasn't taught as dogma until 1274) would have spent far more time than WE would be spending in purgatory because of ignorance of the requirements.  How just is that? And last...the Bible says we have all we need for godly living in them (I Peter 1:3, II Tim. 3:16-7), yet it appears Christ failed to spell out clearly the requirements for escaping purgatory for centuries. I can't accept that.

8. BUT WHAT ABOUT CONFESSION....won't unconfessed sins (no penance or restitution) keep one out of heaven? 

I John 1:9 is sandwiched between two verses that speak of people (called Gnostics) who were denying that they had sins and a sin nature.  Such people were not saved (from sin) since they were denying it even existed in them.  So the remedy for THEM was to ADMIT that they were... ongoing sinners.   Now what about when a CHRISTIAN sins?  I John chapter 2 deals with that saying that we have an advocate, that is, a lawyer, to take care of it.  It says nothing of what WE must do to take care of it because the sin has been taken care of by a sacrifice that that passage calls propitiatory, meaning it is   ENOUGH!!  There are no other verses in the New Testament that indicate we must do any  on-going confessing to stay forgiven.

   Either the blood covers ALL that we need covered or it doesn't...that is the choice! I believe the concept that unconfessed, unrepented-of sin keeps us out of God's presence is illogical because ALL of us, perhaps on a daily basis, sin certain types of sins that we never get around to confessing or doing penance for. Evil thoughts, acts of omission, just not loving God with ALL our heart, soul, mind and strength.... no one measures up to God's standard of perfection (Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. Matt. 5:48) And if we miss ONE little thing in our confession... that standard of perfection will get us because James 2:10 says to offend God's laws in one point is to be guilty of all. The confession concept would make it all-important WHEN we die...with the ideal time being the moment we have finished confession and penance. It is ridiculous to think that some WARNING of impending death will enable us to fare better than those who die instantly unexpectedly. Beyond that, The unconfessed sin will NOT keep believers out of heaven because our salvation from all punishment is "By GRACE", and that word means UNDESERVED favor. If God did not grant us the UNDESERVED FAVOR of 100% forgiveness, nobody would make it!  Believe me, it's true! We simply do not see ourselves as God does in terms of our performance.  But through the gift of imputed righteousness, he can SEE US as perfected forever in spite of our daily performances.   (Hebrews 10:14)  That is what He died to accomplish... a clean legal record with God. For a complete study on imputed righteousness, click here: Imputed Righteousness

9. WHAT ABOUT II MACCABEES 12?  Second Maccabees 12:39-46 and Prayers for the Dead. This passage from the Apocrypha says nothing about purgatory. It is merely the interpretation of the writer concerning a bizarre incident. A closer reading of this text indicates four things. First, Second Maccabees makes no direct reference to purgatory. Second, the passage is self-contradictory and inconsistent. It states that these dead “had gone to rest in godliness” (v. 45), but then it tells us that these dead warriors were idolaters, killed by God due to their idolatry. Third, there is nothing in the law of Moses that comes close to advocating prayers for the dead. What we find in Second Maccabees and the rabbinical writings surrounding these events are the syncretistic merging of pagan ideas with Israelite religion. Fourth, the Apocrypha, while useful for background information, is full of historical inaccuracies, myth, superstition, and ideas contrary to the rest of Scripture. The anonymous author of Second Maccabees does not purport to speak for God, but rather merely to condense some five volumes of a man named Jason of Cyrene (2 Macc. 3:23).9 We cannot and should not look to Second Maccabees for Scripture-based doctrines.

10. BUT WHAT ABOUT EUCHARIST as a blood sacrifice for the sins of those in Purgatory?  The simple answer is this. The eucharist is said to APPLY the merits of Christ sacrifice to us (or others). This is not what the Bible teaches. Let's break it down. What merits or benefits do we want applied? We want remission of sins, forgiveness, cleansing, sanctification, justification(righteousness), most of which were mentioned above (#4). In NO case is the "extra step" of eucharist suggested in order to apply these benefits of salvation to us... in each case, we apply them to us by believing. (Acts 13:39, justified, Rom. 4:22-24, righteousness imputed, Heb. 10:10 sanctified, Rom. 3:25-26 remission of sins). 

11. WHAT ABOUT "WORKING OUT OUR OWN SALVATION"? (Phil. 2:12) The next verse says it is God who works IN US to will and to do of His good pleasure. What is WITHIN we need to LET OUT in terms of following God. The word salvation here is not talking about heaven/hell. It does not say "work for" or "work to obtain", NOR DOES ANY OTHER SCRIPTURE SUGGEST SUCH AN IDEA. We just need to let the Spirit's INNER guidance OUT! One does not form a doctrine on the basis of a single questionable scripture, but on the basis of the totality of what the Bible teaches. Catholics have stated that there is more than one type of salvation. We agree. I am saved instantly and permanently,(John 5:24) once and for all time(Heb. 10:10-14), from the eternal PENALTIES of sin; I am in the process of being saved from the POWER of sin in my life (this is called sanctification or spiritual growth) and I will when I die be saved from the PRESENCE of sin. What I am to work out is salvation from the power of sin in my life; I play a part in this; I must resist evil....it is a lifelong process. What about temporal punishments for sin? This is called sowing and reaping, and it is God who determines those types of penalties...for example, drunkenness can ruin your liver, your marriage, your whole life; sex sin can cause disease (among other things), law-breaking may incur legal penalties; eat wrong and eventually you can ruin your health. These are TEMPORAL punishments for our sins. There is nothing in the Bible that suggests any other human has the power to dictate such penalties, other than in extreme cases -- they are simply the NATURAL RESULTS OF SIN. To impose extra penalties is again to try to require a double payment.

12.  WHAT ABOUT VISIONS OF PURGATORY-LIKE SCENES? People have reported seeing such, and even show scorched cloth that appeared with the visions.   It comes down to whether one believes the Word of God, or phenomena that can be produced by Satan?   Jeremiah 14:14 says one can have a false vision!  If we accept all people's visions, we would have to become Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, and Evangelical (non-Catholic) Christians.   We should not underestimate Satan's desire to mislead people!  Matthew 7 says people pretending to belong to Christ will work wonders! 

13.  WHAT ABOUT THE EARLY CHURCH FATHERS' STATEMENTS?  While some seem to indicate the idea of purgatory being true, consider that others did NOT believe in such an idea: 

  1. Aphrahat (270 - 345), "For when men die, the animal spirit is buried with the body, and sense is taken away from it, but the heavenly spirit that they receive goes according to its nature to Christ. And both these the Apostle has made known, for he said:-The body is buried in animal wise, and rises again in spiritual wise. The Spirit goes back again to Christ according to its nature, for the Apostle said again:-When we shall depart from the body we shall be with our Lord. For the Spirit of Christ, which the spiritual receive, goes to our Lord....But our faith thus teaches, that when men fall asleep, they sleep this slumber without knowing good from evil. And the righteous look not forward to their promises, nor do the wicked look forward to their sentence of punishment, until the Judge come and separate those whose place is at His right hand from those whose place is at His left.... (Demonstrations, 6:14, 8:20, 8:22-23, 22:9)
  2. Augustine (354 - 430), "And it is not impossible that something of the same kind may take place even after this life. It is a matter that may be inquired into, and either ascertained or left doubtful, whether some believers shall pass through a kind of purgatorial fire, and in proportion as they have loved with more or less devotion the goods that perish, be less or more quickly delivered from it." (The Enchiridion, 69)
  3. Polycarp (69 - 150), “…This do in the assurance that all these have not run in vain, but in faith and righteousness, and that they are now in their due place in the presence of the Lord, with whom also they suffered. For they loved not this present world, but Him who died for us, and for our sakes was raised again by God from the dead." (The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians, 9)

The bottom line is this:  We do not decide what to believe based on the human early church fathers but based on the Infallible, DIVINE word of God.

 

14.  HOW TO AVOID PURGATORY

In everyday life, I see Catholics on an endlessly long ladder, hoping to be obedient enough, to take the Eucharist faithfully enough, to do penance when needed, to obey the commandments...  to participate in the communion of the saints by their alms, prayers, etc, to get extreme unction when needed if possible...etc.. This is so sad... they have NO security!  In part it depends on one's status at the moment of death... one would hope to die  "in grace".    It seemingly depends SO MUCH on THEM! And just WHEN does one who wants a loved one delivered from purgatory KNOW that they have paid enough and done enough? The church says NOTHING about this.

I did find at taylormarshall.com a list of things to do to get someone out of purgatory and in the footnote below is the list.  Essentially one is to go to a cemetery at a certain time, confession, eucharist or communion, pray for the pope, and keep free of sin.*  (That last one is a killer!)

While I have demonstrated in the questions and answers above why I do not believe purgatory exists, what PURGATORY suggests -- the need for full cleansing from sin -- IS something we need to be SURE about!  So let's deal with that.  

Here is how to excape ALL punishment by having a permanently clean record with God

What did Jesus say? He said on the cross IT IS FINISHED. That is an accounting term meaning paid in full.  God does not demand a double punishment! He also said, "Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest... rest unto your souls." Matt. 10:28   Trust in his GRACE -- his undeserved favor! He really does want to give his followers better than they deserve! The Bible speaks of the coming of Christ as a BLESSED hope...and you need to know that the word HOPE in the Bible has more the idea of a certain promise than a maybe. (Rom. 4:16) Paul said to depart and be with Christ would be BETTER than to remain on earth. How could he be SURE he would by-pass purgatory? How can ANYONE be sure?   Hebrews 1:2 says Jesus by himself purged our sins.   Evidently He didn't need any help!

John 5 24 says it pretty clearly as well:

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath (that is present tense) everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation (or negative judgment); but is passed from death unto life.

YOU NEED NOT FEAR THE JUDGMENT OF PURGATORY  OR HELL if you have believed on Christ! His sacrifice has far more value than you have been told! The Bible speaks in many places of salvation/eternal life as our PRESENT POSSESSION. Eternal life is given to us WHEN WE BELIEVE... and since it is eternal, it is not going to be forfeited on some other basis than that upon which it was received! Jesus' blood is propitiatory (Rom. 3:24)...i.e. it does a TOTAL job of saving us... not a half-way job. This is why the love of Christ is so great... it is a perfect love, and such a perfect love "casts out fear" (I John 4:18)

I don't obey to escape possible future punishment... I obey out of gratefulness for SALVATION from any such negative judgment. Yes, we reap what we sow on earth...(Galatians 6)  and that is why the Bible talks of God in terms of a father who DISCIPLINES us.... in this life....but how He does that is between you and Him!

A penance IMPOSED on you is not what God wants... He wants a heart that is spontaneously (genuinely) repentant when we sin, because it grieves the God we love so much.  Please be assured that nowhere in the Bible does it say that unconfessed sin forfeits salvation. It says we are liars if we say we have no sin, and it says "If any man sin we have an advocate (lawyer) with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."...who is the propitiation (satisfaction) for our sins. (I John 2:1-3) YOU do not have to fight the sin issue any more to be holy enough; LET YOUR LAWYER DO IT!  It isn't your performance as a believer that will be looked at on the judgment day but Christ's performance to secure your LEGAL STANDING WITH GOD. Romans 4 calls this imputed righteousness (justification). God imputes that to us on the basis of FAITH; thus it is separate from your performance. Hebrews 10:14 indicates that because of this transfer God sees us as PERFECT FOREVER! And that means he is no longer remembering our sins (Heb. 10:17)   The reason we need this imputed righteousness is so God can allow His HOLY Spirit to indwell us and so we can stand before Him as qualified to enter heaven... by grace, while He still maintains His justice. Imputed righteousness is Christ's righteousness being transferred onto our record as a one time permanent action. That permanency is seen in the actual Greek VERB TENSES in Eph. 2:8-9, which literally says, "For by grace you have been and now permanently stand as saved, through faith, and that, not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast."  He that believeth in him is not condemned (negatively judged)...John 3:18  Purgatory (if it existed) would be a negative judgment... Christ took ALL that for you!  He asks you to believe it!  Will you?

If you have further questions about losing out on grace or on your relationship with Christ, check out this article.  Lose_Salvation?

Related article:  Papal_Infallibility.htm

To talk to the author of this article, e-mail Sainttalk@cableone.net  (We would love to hear your comments/questions!)

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* taylormarshall.com states:

13. Visit to a Cemetery (Coemeterii visitatio)

An indulgence, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, is granted to the faithful, who devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, even if only mentally, for the departed.

The indulgence is plenary each day from the 1st to the 8th of November; on other days of the year it is partial.

In order for the indulgence to be plenary, the following conditions must also be met alone with the visit and prayers at the cemetery:

  1. Sacramental confession within “about twenty days”[1] of the actual day of the Plenary Indulgence.
  2. Eucharistic Communion on the day of the Plenary Indulgence.
  3. Prayer for the intentions of the Pope on the day of the Plenary Indulgence.
  4. It is further required that all attachment to sin, even venial sin, be absent.[2]