What is purgatory? It is the idea that there is a place you can go to purify yourself of your sins before you can enter heaven.
Is purgatory real? No. Where did the idea of purgatory come from? It originated with Greek and pagan philosophy, in particular Plato, and was introduced into the church through Origen in the 3rd Century, who is considered a heretic by the Roman Catholic Church. In addition, the teaching of purgatory is contradictory to Scripture for it undermines its clear teaching of the sufficiency of Jesus Christ and is not taught in the Old and New Testaments.
When was purgatory introduced to the church? Sometime before the 5th Century, the Roman Catholic Church took advantage of the idea of purgatory and used it in conjunction with selling "indulgences" to help put money into the Catholic Church.
An "indulgence" is the idea that by contributing some money to the Roman Catholic Church, you could "indulge" in a certain sin and not have to worry about the punishment for that sin.
In conjunction with purgatory, parishioners were assuming that something divine was taking place when they gave the church money to have their loved ones released from that imaginary place. By giving their money, they would also have their own time reduced. I didn't know that the pope and priests had the keys to death and hell.
What does the bible say happens when you die? "absent from the body, present with the Lord" 2 Cor. 5:8. Of course, that only applies to those who have put their trust in Jesus. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8: 1
What happens to those who die who don't believe in Jesus? And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. Hebrews 9:27 When you die, judgment is immediate. Either your sins have been washed away by Christ's shed blood or they haven't been. Those who have rejected Christ still have the wrath of God abiding on them and they immediately go to hell not purgatory. 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. John 3:36
When we die, we will not be routed to a waitng room to await entrance to heaven. Either Christ's death paid the full price of our sins or it didn't. We will either go to hell or heaven. There is no in between. The Catholic Church is promoting a lie with its position on purgatory. Who is the father of all lies? Satan.
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. #1030 pg. 268.
The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. 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: 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 or 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"#1031 pgs.268-269
The above statments show that the Roman Catholic Church's official stance on the death of Jesus Christ on the cross to pay for our sins was not sufficient. This is the spirit of anti-christ. Christ died for us because we are not capable of paying for our own sins. If His death does not perfectly satisfy God's wrath against us, then He is a liar and cannot be trusted!
What are the three steps of the Christian walk and do they have anything to do with purgatory?
Step 1 - Justification - Accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior. When you do this, it is "just-as-if-I" never sinned. Justification removes you from the penalty of sin. This is a free ticket to heaven. You don't have to endure a purifying fire beforehand.
Step 2 - Sanctification - Leading a life according to the Spirit as opposed to leading a life according to the world. Sanctification sets you apart from the world. The world should be able to look at your life and see that you "are not of the world". This is a lifelong process. Sanctification removes you from the power of sin. The closer you walk with God, the less tempting sin is. Buying indulgences and paying for loved ones who may be in purgatory has no place in the Christian walk.
Step 3 - Purification - No, you don't go to a room with a cleansing fire to be purified. You are purified when God calls you home to heaven and removes you from the very presence of sin. Purification is the blessed hope that all Christians await. Christians are not afraid of death...they know they are going to heaven. Imagine the fear of death when someone believes they must first go to a place of torment before they get to heaven. How can they be comforted when death approaches? Why would anyone even want to be a part of such a teaching?
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (the spirits and souls of the saved will return with Jesus to get their bodies) Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. WHERFORE COMFORT ONE ANOTHER WITH THESE WORDS
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