Sunday, October 5, 2014

Jesus Christ & Belief in Purgatory

Many people in faith from different Christian based religions outside of Catholicism have a belief in doctrine similar to Catholic Purgatory.  This would thus confuse people, and thus give these people the false beliefs of any spirit lingering around for unfinished business, otherwise known as a “Ghost”. These false doctrines are still in act today and thus they deceive all mankind.  The words of Jesus Christ recorded in Matthew 24:4 clearly gives us answers to false doctrines, “And Jesus answered and sayeth unto to them, Take heed that no man deceive you”.

Therefore this belief that one must be held to redeem oneself in order to be accepted by God is wrong.  So the search for the truth must be undertaken.  This document is not bashing “Catholics” or others for I have met many who do not accept this false belief of Purgatory, but I have also met many who do, especially in this specialized ministry for the Kingdom of God.  The intent of this discussion to sharpen your mind to show you the truth of what the Bible states. For the Bible is the absolute key to our lives today, tomorrow and forever.

Question: "What does the Bible say about Purgatory and is it in line with Jesus Christ?"

Answer:  According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Purgatory is “a place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God's grace, are not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions.” To summarize, in Catholic theology Purgatory is a place that a Christian’s soul goes to after death to be cleansed of the sins that had not been fully satisfied during life.

Is this doctrine of Purgatory in agreement with the Holy Bible or Jesus Christ?  Absolutely not!

Jesus died to pay the penalty for all of our sins (Romans 5:8). Isaiah 53:5 declares, “But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.”  Jesus suffered for our sins so that we could be delivered from suffering.  To say that we must also suffer for our sins is to say that Jesus’ suffering was insufficient.  To say that we must atone for our sins by cleansing in Purgatory is to deny the sufficiency of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus (1 John 2:2).  The idea that we have to suffer for our sins after death is contrary to everything the Bible says about salvation.

The primary Scriptural passage Catholics point to for evidence of Purgatory is 1 Corinthians 3:15, which states, “If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.”  The passage (1 Corinthians 3:12-15) is using an illustration of things going through fire as a description of believers’ works being judged.

If our works are of good quality “gold, silver, costly stones,” they will pass through the fire unharmed, and we will be rewarded for them.  If our works are of poor quality “wood, hay, and straw,” they will be consumed by the fire, and there will be no reward. The passage does not say that believers pass through the fire, but rather that a believer’s works pass through the fire.  1 Corinthians 3:15 refers to the believer “escaping through the flames,” not “being cleansed by the flames.”

Purgatory, like many other Catholic dogmas, is based on a misunderstanding of the nature of Christ’s sacrifice.  Catholics view the Mass / Eucharist as a re-presentation of Christ’s sacrifice because they fail to understand that Jesus’ once-for-all sacrifice was absolutely and perfectly sufficient (Hebrews 7:27).

Catholics view meritorious works as contributing to salvation due to a failure to recognize that Jesus’ sacrificial payment has no need of additional “contribution” (Ephesians 2:8-9).  Similarly, Purgatory is understood by Catholics as a place of cleansing in preparation for heaven because they do not recognize that because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we are already cleansed, declared righteous, forgiven, redeemed, reconciled, and sanctified.

The very idea of Purgatory and other religion doctrines that are often attached to it (prayer for the dead, indulgences, meritorious works on behalf of the dead, etc.) all fail to recognize that Jesus’ death was sufficient to pay the penalty for ALL of our sins.  Jesus, who was God incarnate (John 1:1-14), paid the ultimate price for all our sins.  

Thus when Christ gave up his life upon the cross (with the two other thieves) who were also upon the cross recorded in John 19:30 discusses what were the last words of Jesus Christ, “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”  By the words spoken from Lord Jesus Christ means two things – (1) My Heavenly Father’s will is done as the sacrificed Lamb and (2) His death is sufficient for all – past, present and future.

This leads into why then Christ descended into Hell, known as the “harrowing of Hell”.  This harrowing was a directive by the Father to take those held for GOD deemed worthy to be taken back to Heaven to be made pure.  For those who had died could not enter Heaven, until the Lamb of God was sacrificed to pay the sins of those who preceded in death prior to Jesus being born.

Jesus died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3).  Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 2:2).  To limit Jesus’ sacrifice to atoning for original sin, or sins committed before salvation, is an attack on the Person and Work of Jesus Christ.  If we must in any sense pay for, atone for, or suffer because of our sins – that indicates Jesus’ death was not a perfect, complete, and sufficient sacrifice.  Therefore this makes a mockery out of God.  God is not to be mocked (Galatians 6:7), for God is righteous and true.

For believers, after death is to be "away from the body and at home with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:6-8; Philippians 1:23).  Notice that this does not say "away from the body, in Purgatory with the cleansing fire."  No, because of the perfection, completion, and sufficiency of Jesus' sacrifice, we are immediately in the Lord's presence after death, fully cleansed, free from sin, glorified, perfected, and ultimately sanctified.

Hopefully this document has been able to help you and thus sharpen you to speak.  For iron sharpens iron and we are commanded to go into the world to those who have been deceived.  Many people in the paranormal world hold onto a falseness of assisting those in between worlds, because a priest told them to pray for those in bondage after death. Thus many paranormal teams, spiritual leaders as well as those victims of paranormal activity facilitate this false doctrine of belief and unfortunately this is very wrong.

Rev. Bradley Luoma,  SOSM, Registered Exorcist & Certified Instructor for the A.A.E