Is Purgatory Real?

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that Purgatory is a real and necessary place. The problem is that the word “Purgatory” is not in the Bible. And the clincher is that the concept of Purgatory is nowhere to be found in the Bible. So what do they tell us that Purgatory is?

Is Purgatory Necessary to Purify Us?

We are told that before we enter into full communication with God, every trace of sin within us must be eliminated and every imperfection in our soul must be corrected. This concept is totally correct. Sin cannot stand in the presence of God. It must be eliminated from us in order for us to have fellowship with God.

They tell us that to share in divine life we must be totally purified. Again, this is true, we must be totally purified to have fellowship with God.

However, the question remains: How is this done? How can we be purified so that we can have fellowship with God? In other words, how can we be made perfect in the eyes of God? Actually the Bible tells us exactly how to make this happen.

Scripture Tells Us Purgatory is Not Necessary or Even Possible

Remember what Jesus told the man who was hanging on a cross next to him? The man had told Jesus in Luke 23:42 (NIV): “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Notice what Jesus immediately said to him. Luke 23:43 (NIV): “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Here was a criminal, whose sin was so bad that he was crucified for it. And yet, Jesus tells him that “today” you will be with me in Paradise. He did not tell the man that he had to be purified of his sin. Jesus did that for him as he hung on the cross next to Him. The man was instantly purified by Jesus as He hung on His own cross.

Judgment Comes After Death, Not Purification

God tells us very specifically what happens after we die. He tells us in Hebrews 9:2 (NIV): “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” Notice that nothing happens after we die except to face the judgment. There is nothing that happens between the two

Our destiny is sealed the moment that we die. It is while we are here on the earth that we determine what our destiny will be. It is here that we choose to either believe in Jesus or choose to reject Him and His great gift of salvation.

God Provided a Way for Us to Have Eternal Life

Remember what God tells us in John 3:16 (NIV): “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Jesus came into the world so that we could have eternal life.

God tells us in this passage that all we have to do is to believe in Jesus and we instantly receive eternal life. Does this sound like we have to pay a penalty for our sins before we can receive eternal life? No, it simply says that all we have to do is to believe in Jesus and accept what He did for us to receive eternal life.

We Become a New Creation

II Cor. 5:17 makes it very clear. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (NIV)

When we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, we instantly become a new creation, a new being. We are instantly made pure and righteous in the eyes of God.

If this is true (and the Bible is God’s Holy Word), then, in the eyes of God, after we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, there is no sin that we can be punished for. This makes the concept of Purgatory completely unnecessary. Why do we have to go someplace to be purified if Jesus has already made us pure?

We Are Made Sons of God

Listen to John 1:12-13 (NIV): “Yet to all who received him (Jesus), to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”

Again, we are told that when we receive Jesus, we are born again. We become a new creation. Yes, we are natural children of God because He created us. However, when we receive Jesus we instantly become a spiritual child of God. We are accepted as a holy and righteous child of God. That is, we have no sin. So what is there that we have to go to Purgatory for to be punished for?

What If We Sin After Being Born Again?

When we sin against God, we separate ourselves from Him. This is spiritual death. God knows that we cannot perfectly keep His Holy Law, especially while we are living in this sinful world. That is why Jesus came to bring us salvation. God does not want us separated from Him.

This is why God immediately gives us eternal life when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. And unless we reject Jesus and tell Him that we don’t need Him any more, that eternal life is ours forever.

Yes, we do need to ask for forgiveness for any sin that we commit after we receive eternal life. Because if we don’t, those sins will pile up in our life and overwhelm us. When this happens, we will feel that we are doing just fine and we don’t need Jesus any more. That is when we reject Jesus and fall back into a life of sin. When that happens, we do lose our eternal life.

But remember I John 1:9 (NIV): “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” This means that by confessing any sins that we commit after we are saved, we are cleansed of all of them. Those sins are no longer a part of us.

So what we are doing is keeping our life free from sin so that individual sins do not pile up in our lives and make us feel that we do not need Jesus any more.

Purgatory Is Not Necessary

No, Jesus revealed that we do not have to be punished for our sins if Jesus forgives us. We do not have to pay for our sins. Jesus, Himself, paid for our sins by dying on the cross. All we have to do is to accept what He did for us on the cross and we are instantly forgiven and made pure in the eyes of God.

Then when we die and appear before the Judgment Seat of God, all God sees is a righteous and holy person. He sees no sin in us and thus welcomes us immediately into His Heaven.

If you have not yet received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, go to How To Life Forever and follow what is written there.

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