A Place Called Purgatory

A place called Purgatory…a continuing chance for salvation after death. Convenient for sure, but is it accurate according to God’s word?

I was born and reared in the Catholic faith. For the first twenty years of my life I did not question anything that was taught to me as a Catholic. I believed all of it. I never wondered where the basis came from for many of the doctrines in the church. They were taught to me and I, without question, believed them.

During those years, Bible reading was not encouraged. To me, it was simple…trust them and believe what they tell me. So, I was in my thirties before I picked up a Bible. Then, I read John 3:16, then another scripture, then another. Now, even more questions arose about what they taught me. It seemed everything I thought I knew and believed was threatened. The fact is…it was. So, I began a journey for the truth.

This post is not to debate or state, but rather to gather information. So, what I ask is simple…share your thoughts about a place called Purgatory. I will appreciate what you think or believe.

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Categories: attitude, Bible, Christian, Christianity, encouragement, faith, family, friends, hope, inspiration, Life, Love, Reflections, Religion, Spirituality, thoughts | 13 Comments

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13 thoughts on “A Place Called Purgatory

  1. Steven Sawyer

    Thanks, Butch, for posting. This question has been challenging, I see, from the comments it drew. I’m not sure I can contribute much to this discussion. I was born and raised a Protestant. I know little about the Catholic religion other than it is the poster child for “religion”–organization without power. The Bible taught me I will live here on earth until God calls me home to live with Him forever. When I draw my last breath here on earth, I will live with Him forever in paradise. Absent from the body. Present with the Lord. We get second chances here on earth to believe Him and love Him and claim Jesus as Savior. After that, it’s home with God forever.

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  2. I was raised in the Catholic faith and was a churchgoer for my first 20 yrs of life. I began to have questions about the doctrine. However, I still managed to take away one very central focus of the Church’s teaching whereas regards our accountability for our sins, etc. That is: to obey your conscience and to reconcile what you do to go against your right-from-wrong-knowing-conscience. So this said, I believe purgatory MAY actually be in the here and now of our existence; when you disobey what you know to be right, your conscience is always there, awaiting your acknowledgment and contrition, in a way. You have heard the term “Catholic guilt?” I sincerely believe it is rooted in this state of following your conscience or facing the consequences of guilt, personal loss, and pain of disobedience to your Father, God. It humbles us to answer to our biggest force, thus we become like small children, beseeching forgiveness and salvation for what we are most heartily contrite for transgressing in. That’s what makes me sure that the pain we inflict on others eventually revisits us in our lifetime, thus causing us to feel suffering and sorrow and to truly undertake the consequences of making up for or atoning for the wrongs we have done to others. The real fire is that pain of knowing you hurt someone with what you did. Paying NOW seems appropriate and right. What good is the suffering later when you cannot atone or at least attempt to reconcile or otherwise try to make right what you made wrong? Just my own take.

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  3. LightWriters

    I can find no reference to purgatory in Scriptures. However, heaven is real, and ‘sheol’, which is mentioned in the Old Testament is perhaps a reference to a ‘purgatory’ place referred to by Catholics. There is no question from the Bible teachings that there is a place reserved in Paradise for those who believe in Jesus (the thief on the cross next to Jesus was told, ‘Today, you will be with me in Paradise…’ But where do souls unsaved by grace and faith in Jesus go after death? The Bible speaks clearly that the Lord Jesus went and preached to the ‘spirits’ in prison, those who had not been able to hear the Good News of the Gospel prior to His coming to earth. He preached to these lost souls (somewhere— in ‘sheol’), during the two days He died, just prior to His glorious resurrection. Also, Jesus speaking in Revelation reminds us that eventually both ‘death’ and ‘sheol’ (hell) will be thrown into the Lake of Fire. Perhaps the Catholic reference for purgatory is ‘sheol’.

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  4. I do not now believe in Purgatory, since I converted from Catholicism to Baptist over 25 years ago. However, I am deeply grateful and respectful of the church I was raised in, since without it I would not now be a follower of Christ. On a completely undoctrinal note, I think the idea of Purgatory is very satisfying to us human beings. The parable of the men hired at different times of the day comes to mind. As people, it just feels like a person who tried harder for longer to be a follower of Christ should receive some kind of benefits ahead of someone who tried little for not a long period of time. Purgatory meets this human need.

    Nancy
    http://www.workingmomadventures.com

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  5. I’m afraid I can’t see ‘Purgatory’ as anything other than another manufactured doctrine, and see no support whatsoever in the scriptures quoted above. Salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ – it is that simple.

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  6. Either Christ is sufficient to wholly save once-for-all, having paid in full the penalty for sin – or we go to purgatory to pay off the balance of our sin debt on our own. My Bible says that for the one who has trusted in Christ alone by grace alone through faith alone: to be absent from the body is present with the Lord.

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  7. Both sides offer intelligent and according to who is speaking, biblical basis for the belief for and against purgatory. My side of the aisle will of course declare that the payment Jesus made for our sins was sufficient, and that by faith the recipients of grace no longer have any sins to make restitution for. Good question for conversation.

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  8. Not only is it ACCURATE, it better than most things shows us the depth of God’s Love and Mercy and HOW GOD’s desire to be in a Personal relationship with humanity; GREATLY exceeds even the most ardent believers desire to be in a personal realtionship with man.

    This is denied by non-Catholics on the basis of the term “purgaotory” not being in the bible. I hasten to point out that the terms “catholic” “protestant”, “communion”, “Theology” and even “bible” are not in God’s Holy Writ. Yet they all have a bith-evidence therein.

    It is because of WHY and How God madew hamanity [alone] to be able to freely choose to love or to hate Him, that makes Divine Justice exhibit Mercy on those who die without UNCONFESSED Mortal Sin’s, to be able to eventually attain the Beatific Vision. [1 John 1: 8-10; 1 John 5: 16-17 & and John 20: 19-23]

    Issah 43: verses 7 & 21 “And every one that calleth upon my name, I have created him for my glory, I have formed him, and made him.” & This people have I formed for myself, they shall shew forth my praise”

    Because One MUST be Perfect in order to enter into the Beatific Vision; Purgatory manifest God’s Merciful Love by givng Souls an opportunity, ythey otherwise COULD NOT have.

    Matthew 5:48 “*Be* you therefore *perfect*, *as* also your heavenly Father is perfect’ AND PURGATORY is biblically grounded:

    *Lev.22* *: 21* “And when any one offers a sacrifice of peace offerings to the LORD, to fulfill a vow or as a freewill offering, from the herd or from the flock, to be accepted it must be* perfect*; there shall be no blemish in it.

    *Rev. 21: 27 *“But nothing unclean shall enter it, nor any one who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

    *Mt. 5: **26* truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny.

    *Heb. 2: 10* For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering.”

    God Bless you friend,

    working4christ2

    Patrick

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  9. http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/apologetics/ap0091.html

    Scott Hahn is a great place to start understanding the Catholic Church’s stand on Purgatory. (and any other question or issue you may have) May God bless your journey of Faith:-)
    Bernadette

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  10. I too was raised Catholic, and when I was a child I believed what the Church taught about purgatory, prayed for dead relatives when prompted to in Sunday Mass and took comfort in the idea that we’d have a chance after death to get things right before meeting our Maker.

    However, during my Confirmation studies, I started reading my Bible at the recommendation of our teacher, an Irish nun. That’s when I began to realize the Church taught things that weren’t in the Bible. When I got to Hebrews 9:27 (” Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,” – NIV), that’s when I questioned the idea of Purgatory.

    Because I had prayed to receive Jesus as my Savior years earlier (thanks to the gift of a children’s prayer book given to me by a Baptist aunt and uncle), the Holy Spirit was guiding me into truth even though I wasn’t yet aware of it. I came to the conclusion that either the Bible was wrong or the Church’s teachings were, and because of what Jesus said in Mark 7 about men’s traditions making God’s Word void or of none effect, I wasn’t about to accept that the Bible, God’s Word, was less accurate than man-made doctrines.

    So, the bottom line for me is this: the Bible does not teach that there is a place called Purgatory, only heaven, earth and hell (Sheol, the Abyss), so I don’t believe Purgatory exists.

    God gives us the entire span of our lives to accept Jesus as Lord and receive cleansing from our sin nature and forgiveness of our sins through his atoning sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary. Why then would we need a holding area after death in order to be cleansed of our sins? That’s what the shed blood of Jesus is for, to make us righteous before God.

    Anything else is works-based religion, and the Bible is clear in Ephesians 2:8-10 that we are saved by grace, through faith, which itself is a gift from God, not by works so that no one can boast that they saved themselves. The good works we do are because we’re saved, not in order to save us.

    “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

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  11. I agree that we should be the best we can. However, I can’t find anything in the Bible that says we would ever be able to get to heaven based on what we do here on earth. What I find are numerous statements that seem to say we can never be perfect and, therefore, we have all sinned against God. That Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sin by dying as a sacrifice for us and that we need to accept his gift and follow him. When I follow him, I am so grateful for what he has done for me that I want to live in a way that would honor him by doing good, serving others, etc.

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  12. My pastors have always taught me to read the Bible for myself and to not just take them at their word. Even pastors, preachers, priests can be wrong. God’s word is the only thing we can totally rely upon. I believe that the chance to accept Christ as our personal Lord and Savior is made here on earth. We are given a chance everyday to believe in Him or not. Creation screams of the Savior. The void in our hearts tell us of a Savior. So, no, I don’t think there is a purgatory. I do think we tell as many people as possible so they have a chance to make the decision for themselves here on earth.

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  13. I believe we must be the best we can be here. Everything we do here has consequences here, be it directly to us or to our families and the following generations. And so, no I don’t believe in purgatory. Although, at the age of 12 at school, a nun told my entire class we would go to purgatory and be raged upon by a burning fire for eternity…

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Thank you for your thoughts.

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