How Can You Believe in Purgatory?

Q. I believe that you are truly reaching for truth where none lies. Please read the Greek Interlinear translation of Luke 23:42-43 And he said to Jesus “Be reminded of me whenever you may be coming into the kingdom of you’ 43 And He said to him “Amen to you I am saying today with me you shall be in the park (paradise)” Jesus is not a liar and this may simply be some aspect of the bible that we do not understand how, but need to trust that because Jesus said it that it is true.

A. I have a Greek Interlinear. The fact is Jesus and the Thief did NOT go to Heaven on Friday, as many Protestants contend to try to discredit the Catholic Doctrine of Purgatory. However, perhaps they went to the blessed part of Sheol so that Jesus could preach the Gospel to them, on Friday. Or perhaps, it could be read as “Today I tell you, you will be with me in Paradise.” And even if the Thief did go straight to Heaven I have read Catholic Commentary to the effect that his suffering on the cross may have sufficed, to purify his soul.

Q. Hebrews 12:14 asks us to ‘pursue’ peace and holiness.

14. Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord

Are we to aim or pursue after purgatory?

A. No, we are not to pursue Purgatory but pursue holiness in this life in order to avoid Purgatory altogether or lessen our need for purification after this life.

Q. Or does this verse truly mean that we are to live pure and holy lives on earth to the best of our ability?

A. Yes, of course.

Q. Does God not know the hearts of men? Isn’t God able to discern whether we are lover’s of God or the world? We are told by the Bible to strive for holiness. This is an action, something that WE are to DO. Not something that happens to us!

A. Yes God knows us and we are to Do all we can to be holy. But if at the end of our lives we are not bad enough for Hell but not pure enough for Heaven.

CCC 1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.606 The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:607

As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.

Q.Once again you quote an action that we need to do.

2 Cor. 7:1 Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

This is the dedication of ourselves to Christ and living righteously. Hebrews 6:1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from DEAD works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened…..if they FALL AWAY, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put HIM to an open shame.

A. Agreed, it is something WE must DO after we are saved.

Q. You truly must read the whole text not just one line. This verse is referencing how we LOVE others, and how our Heavenly Father expects us to love others as he has loved us.

Matthew 5:48 “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as you Father in heaven is perfect ”

A. That is your interpretation, but I should think PERFECTION in loving others would in fact be sign of purification from all sin.

Q. Matthew 12:36 references the judgment we will all face for our utterances. It has no reference to purification, but to judgment day.

6 But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.

A. I agree. I used this verse to point out the Jesus’ death does NOT remove all judgment of our souls.

Q. Man must do his part which is to accept Christ as our Savior. Our lives should reflect that relationship which means we do our best to be obedient to God. (don’t; fornicate, get drunk, lie, steal, worship idols, envy, be prideful, etc…..).

A. Absolutely.

Q. God does not expect us to be perfect, but we become worthy of his all sufficient grace by the blood of Jesus.

1 John 1:7-9 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son CLEANSES us from ALL sin…..If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 2:1-2 And if anyone sins, we have an ADVOCATE with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

Hebrews 10:26 For is we sin WILLFULLY after we have received the knowledge of truth, there NO LONGER REMAINS A SACRIFICE FOR SINS. (God is pretty clear about this)

Romans 8: 1 There is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

A. I agree of course with Scripture as does the Catholic Church. You are right, God does not expect us to be perfect in order to access His grace and salvation. But we must be perfect in order to enter into His presence in Heaven.

We INTERPRET these scriptures differently. Protestants generally interpret these all literally (except Hebrews 10:26) to prove the absence of Purgatory but they rarely interpret the Hebrews passage literally because that would mean that ANY sin no matter how small, since they believe all sin is equal, would cause a loss of salvation.

So, just as you do not interpret Hebrews 10:26 LITERALLY we interpret the other passages to be referring to the ETERNAL consequences of sin ONLY and not to the temporal consequences of sin.And we base this on Historical Christianity.

This PROVES to be true since repentance and acceptance of the forgiveness of Jesus DOES NOT magically make all the temporal consequences of sin disappear, like an STD or out of wedlock pregnancy etc. We just cannot see the all the spiritual consequences of sin so easily.

Q. Can you honestly tell me that you believe in the depth of your soul that; our Father in Heaven, the most supreme being of all time, stepped off his thrown to become the lowest of men, a baby, lived a sinless life, suffered as we suffer through trials and tribulations, KNOWINGLY accepted his fate to be ridiculed, spit on, mocked, have the flesh torn from his body, carry his own cross while he is half dead, hung to die a thief’s death, mocked while dying for those laughing at him, and willingly giving up his life so that WE may live, conquered death through the resurrection, fellowshipped with his disciples after his death and ascended to sit at the right hand of the Father. Can you honestly tell me that His sacrifice was not enough? Your answer is either yes or no. If your answer still remains yes, my heart aches for you, and I pray that God will have mercy on you for trampling underfoot the sacrifice of Christ, God’s only Son. God’s word never ever in it’s entirety states that Christ’s sacrifice was not sufficient. The Bible in fact states exactly the opposite.

A. Well,…Yes, because that is what the Christian Church has believed since the time of the disciples. And this verse:

Colossians 1:24 Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what islacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, still for the sake of his body, which is the church.

But, of course, God could have decided to save us in the way the Protestant Churches teach. Christ’s death COULD have sufficed completely, in the way Protestants believe and reject the necessity of absolute, real, material, holiness and perfection and purification…GOD COULD HAVE CHOSEN TO DO IT THAT WAY. And we admit that He certainly could have chosen to let us into Heaven putrid with sin but accept Jesus’ covering. But scripture would have been written very differently then, in that case.

It is not that we trample the scrifice underfoot. We simply submit to what the Church has always taught and believed.

I entered the Catholic Church because I could not find a way to believe that Martin Luther, and John Calvin could possibly have more authority and a more accurate understanding of what the apostles taught after 1500 years had passed than the Early Church Fathers.

I said to myself that I would find out what the Chruch believed in the very earliest centuries. If it was Protestant beliefs I found I would stay Protestant but if it was Catholic, if they believed Catholic doctrines, foreign to what Protestants believed , I would have to seriously consider whether the Catholic Church was in fact the Church founded by Jesus Christ HIMSELF.

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3 Responses to How Can You Believe in Purgatory?

  1. What a blessing purgatory is. God in His mercy provided a place where we can “work out” our salvation with “fear and trembling” without the distractions of earthly life. It can be hard to live holy in this corrupt world. How wonderful that God can finish what He started away from here.

    It’s hard in our culture to understand the Middle Eastern wedding feast. When guests arrived they were covered in dirt from the journey. They accepted the invitation and arrived at the appointed place, but were in no condition to celebrate. What did the master of the feast do? He provided a place for arriving guests to bathe. He provided a wedding garment for the guests. And, as we know from the parable Jesus told, anyone found at the feast NOT cleaned up and wearing the wedding garment was kicked out.

    I have been invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb. I have accepted that invitation. This life is my journey to that feast. Will I be dirty when I arrive? Most likely. Thank you Jesus for providing a place for me to get clean and properly dressed for your wedding feast!

  2. happy says:

    What a wonderful way to describe it!

  3. bfhu says:

    That was excellent! Absolutely loved it and I never heard that particular view of the Wedding Feast. Thank you so much for this little gem. I am going to have to post this.

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