Subtitle: We examine the false teaching of Purgatory from two different aspects, from Jesus' statement on the cross, and from various Scripture.
When Jesus Christ hung on the cross, preparing to command His Spirit to leave his mortal body, thus officially establishing His Covenant, He uttered a statement that should refute, once and for all, the Roman Catholic teaching that Purgatory exists. In our article, "What About Purgatory? Part 1, RC111, we examined the reason Catholic theologians insist that a place like Purgatory must exist. Let us examine this reason as the beginning point for this discussion.
" "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. The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification..." (Catechism p.268, para #1030, 1031).
Thus, we see that Roman Catholicism teaches that Jesus' death on the cross assured people of their ultimate, eternal salvation, but it did not perfectly purify their souls so they could immediately go into Heaven. In other words, people still have a burden of sin debt that had to be purified through the fires of punishment in Purgatory. Roman Catholic adherents must have to continue to WORK for their holiness!
Yet, Jesus told us, in no uncertain terms, that this teaching is as false as a $3 bill. Where and when did Jesus tell us that His blood sacrifice paid the full debt incurred from our sin(s)? He told this on the cross, just moments before He commanded His Spirit to leave! In fact, these words were the last recorded words of Jesus before His body died. Since secular law places very heavy emphasis on the Last Word and Testament of a person, we should place very heavy emphasis on Jesus' last Words. Listen to Him tell us that His blood sacrifice paid the FULL DEBT of sin.
"When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost." [John 19:30] Jesus stated, "It is finished", just before He commanded His Spirit to leave His mortal body. This sentence, "It is finished", when we understand it fully, should convince you that Purgatory cannot exist, because this full meaning shows that Jesus' sacrifice paid the entire sin debt!!
When Jesus used the word, " finished", He used a Greek word for finished that is a commercial term that means the "debt is totally paid"!! It is Strong's Concordance word #5055. teleo, tel-eh'-o; from G5056; meaning "to end", i.e. "complete, execute, conclude, discharge a debt:--accomplish, make an end, expire, fill up, finish, go over, pay, perform." [Strong's Concordance, reported in Holman Bible Dictionary].
When a person in the old Roman Empire paid a debt totally, this word ( Tetelestai) was stamped on his statement, telling everyone that this debt had been totally paid! So, when Jesus said "It is finished", He used the commercial word that told everyone, for all time, that He had totally paid the sin debt! This word, " Tetelestai", is indelibly stamped on the account of everyone who accepts the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and becomes born again. Since there is no such thing as a "residue of sin" that needs to be purified, there is absolutely no reason for Purgatory to exist! Jesus' sacrifice paid the sin debt in FULL!
We see this Truth in other places in Scripture.
1) " For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified" (Hebrews 10:14) Notice the word, "perfected" in this Scripture. Jesus' sacrifice was an offering to God that "perfects" the people who accept His sacrifice. This verse alone should convince you that the Roman Catholic teaching, that sin cannot be atoned for except by the "purging fires" of Purgatory, is totally false and without foundation. Once you realize the lie of the sin atonement that cannot be atoned by Jesus' sacrifice, you also will realize the lie of penance and indulgences!
2) "Who is a God like You, Who forgives iniquity ... He retains not His anger forever, because He delights in mercy and loving-kindness ... You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea" [Micah 7:18-19; Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary]
Notice that God promises to cast all our sins into the depths of the sea, where they will never again ever be seen. He does not cast them into shallow waters near the sea shore where they might wash up again, but into the depths of the sea, where they will never again be seen!
"As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. "[Psalms 103:12] This is another precious promise that God will remove all our sin from us, forever. Notice, also, that once a person meets God's condition for forgiveness of sin, God will be as tender toward that person as a human father is tender toward his children. In Roman Catholicism, God is presented as an angry, avenging Deity, from whom all humans must cower, which is why we are supposed to need the intercession of the Virgin Mary! Jesus Christ is also presented as that avenging, Deity.
3) "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." [Isaiah 1:18] How much more wonderful of a promise can we get? When we meet God's conditions for forgiveness of sins [which is now through Jesus Christ], our sin stains will be washed as clean as white wool. Do you see any "residue" of sin that needs the purging of Purgatory fires? I do not, and God does not.
4) "Behold, it was for my peace that I had intense bitterness; but you have loved back my life from the pit of corruption and nothingness, for you have cast all my sins behind Your back." [Isaiah 38:17] How precious this promises truly is, to my heart! When our sins are forgiven through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ, God then casts all my sins behind His back. What a precious truth that, once God forgives sin through Jesus Christ, He then chooses to forget that we ever sinned! This deliberate forgetfulness of God is called, "Justification", because it "Justifies us before God", putting us in right standing before God. It also means that, once God Justifies us, it is "Just as though we had never sinned".
Do you see any sin punishment here that cannot be atoned by any other means than the Purgatory fires? I do not, and you should not, for there is no such place as Purgatory and no such thing as sin punishment that cannot be atoned by Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. There is no "residue" of sin left over from the act of forgiveness that requires us to do penance in this life and Purgatory in the next life.
In the next article, we shall examine the Roman Catholic basis for teaching this false doctrine and then we shall study to see where this doctrine originated, if we cannot find it in Scripture. Friends, we urge you to carefully consider all our evidence that Roman Catholicism is a counterfeit Christianity that does not merit you giving your precious eternal soul for it.
May God Richly Bless You.
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