The Thief on the Cross Did NOT Go to Purgatory!


Sarah: Regarding the idea of the “reparation for the temporal consequences of sin” please see Isaiah 53. I would suggest you read the whole chapter, but I will emphasize verse 5 “By his wounds we are healed”. The term “healed” cured: freed from illness or injury.

BFHU: But, Sarah, the reality is that we are NOT truly healed because we still sin. If everything was healed, cured, completed in the life of a Christian as soon as they believe in Christ and repent of sin, then why are there so many verses in the NT that urge us to increase in holiness?

Hebrews 12:14 Pursue peace with all men, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

Matthew 12:36 But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.

Matthew 5:48 Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

2 Corinthians 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.

Philippians 3:12-15 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

I could go on. In all of God’s activity in Scripture He does His part but He always requires Man to do the part God gives to him.

  • God gave Adam and Eve all they needed but they were required to NOT eat from one tree.
  • God promised to rescue Noah and family but Noah had to build an ark.
  • God promised to free the Israelites from slavery but they had to observe the Passover.
  • God promised to give the Israelites the Promised Land but they had to go into battle.

If we must pursue that holiness without which no one will see God, something IS STILL NEEDED–complete holiness, perfection, purification. We both know about sanctification but most Protestants are taught it is optional for salvation and for entering into the presence of God. Catholics, take these verses, along with hundreds of other verses, to be holy as He is holy, literally. So, we are supposed to strive for holiness in this life, and what is not accomplished for our purification in this life, will be completed in Purgatory. The rejection of the need for purification can be supported only if we concentrate on certain verses. But, it doesn’t hold up if one tries to reconcile it with all of scripture.

SARAH: Another verse; Luke 23:43TODAY YOU WILL BE WITH ME IN PARADISE” Jesus does not go on to say after a couple hundred years of purification. JESUS states, “today”. Is Jesus capable of lying? misquoting the truth? Or is the son of God simply mistaken?

BFHU:I understand why you ask these questions. You are convinced that your interpretation of these verses leaves no other possibility than to believe that Jesus was a liar or at least not omniscient if Catholic theology is accepted. But, there are some other possibilities, after all. First of all, Jesus did not go to Heaven that very Friday as we find out when Jesus tells Mary Magdalene, on Sunday, that He has not ascended to the Father yet. Therefore, Jesus and the thief did not go directly to Heaven on Friday. The possibility is that the Greek should be read: “I tell you today, you will be with Me in Paradise” rather than “I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise”. There are no commas in the Greek. Both are legitimate interpretations but the second one doesn’t line up with scripture.

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