1 Peter 1:7, Purgatory?


#1

In the CCC, 1 Peter 1:7 is used as a scriptural basis for purgatory.

1 Peter 1:5-9 KJV 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

He is clearly speaking of the trying of our faith here on earth, which strengthens our faith and purifies it just as fire/heat purifies a metal like silver or gold.

James 1:3 KJV 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

Any other ideas?


#2

The Catechism (1031) seems to refer to 1 Peter 1:7 because of its mention of the cleansing (purgative) quality of fire in general. It seems to have been chosen simply for the phrase “tested by fire”, which, in context, is applied to gold. It is the other verse cited in the Catechism, 1 Corinthians 3:15, which seems to have a more direct connection to Purgatory and its cleansing fires.


#3

As Todd pointed out, this verse is not a prooftext of Purgatory. Good Lord, if we used single prooftexts to form our doctrines, we’d have 100’s and 1000’s of churches branching off because of these interpretations!!! :wink:

Instead, it’s part of the whole context that forms our theology. The “Tested by Fire” is better explained in Paul’s letter to Corinthians. I’m not sure, but I think they used the same term to describe it. And, of course, you can’t forget Maccabees, which establishes that the ancient Jews prayed for the dead souls.


#4

From ScriptureCatholic.Com, here’s further examples of purification by fire.

Purification After Death By Fire

                 Heb. 12:29 - God is a consuming fire (of love in heaven, of purgation in                          purgatory, or of suffering and damnation in hell).

1 Cor. 3:10-15 - works are judged after death and tested by fire. Some works are lost, but the person is still saved. Paul is referring to the state of purgation called purgatory. The venial sins (bad works) that were committed are burned up after death, but the person is still brought to salvation. This state after death cannot be heaven (no one with venial sins is present) or hell (there is no forgiveness and salvation).

1 Cor. 3:15 – “if any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” The phrase for “suffer loss” in the Greek is “zemiothesetai.” The root word is “zemioo” which also refers to punishment. The construction “zemiothesetai” is used in Ex. 21:22 and Prov. 19:19 which refers to punishment (from the Hebrew “anash” meaning “punish” or “penalty”). Hence, this verse proves that there is an expiation of temporal punishment after our death, but the person is still saved. This cannot mean heaven (there is no punishment in heaven) and this cannot mean hell (the possibility of expiation no longer exists and the person is not saved).

1 Cor. 3:15 – further, Paul writes “he himself will be saved, “but only” (or “yet so”) as through fire.” “He will be saved” in the Greek is “sothesetai” (which means eternal salvation). The phrase “but only” (or “yet so”) in the Greek is “houtos” which means “in the same manner.” This means that man is both eternally rewarded and eternally saved in the same manner by fire.

1 Cor. 3:13 - when Paul writes about God revealing the quality of each man’s work by fire and purifying him, this purification relates to his sins (not just his good works). Protestants, in attempting to disprove the reality of purgatory, argue that Paul was only writing about rewarding good works, and not punishing sins (because punishing and purifying a man from sins would be admitting that there is a purgatory).

1 Cor. 3:17 - but this verse proves that the purgation after death deals with punishing sin. That is, destroying God’s temple is a bad work, which is a mortal sin, which leads to death.

1 Cor. 3:14,15,17 - purgatory thus reveals the state of righteousness (v.14), state of venial sin (v.15) and the state of mortal sin (v.17), all of which are judged after death.

1 Peter 1:6-7 - Peter refers to this purgatorial fire to test the fruits of our faith.

Rev. 3:18-19 - Jesus refers to this fire as what refines into gold those He loves if they repent of their sins. This is in the context of after death because Jesus, speaking from heaven, awards the white garment of salvation after the purgation of fire (both after death).

Dan 12:10 - Daniel refers to this refining by saying many shall purify themselves, make themselves white and be refined.

Wis. 3:5-6 - the dead are disciplined and tested by fire to receive their heavenly reward. This is the fire of purgatory.

Sirach 2:5 - for gold is tested in the fire, and acceptable men in the furnace of humiliation.

Zech. 13:8-9 - God says 2/3 shall perish, and 1/3 shall be left alive, put into the fire, and refined like silver and tested like gold. The ones that perish go to hell, and there is no need for refinement in heaven, so those being refined are in purgatory.

Mal. 3:2-3 - also refers to God’s purification of the righteous at their death.


#5

Revelation 21:27 says that nothing impure shall enter Heaven. Purgatory, then, seems necessary because entire sanctification is not common in this life. Now, once Protestant said to me, “The problem with that is you are denying God’s work of sanctification. We have an agreement that nothing impure enters heaven, however the distinction is that as protestants we believe we are both a) pronounced pure by the Father and b) made actually pure by sanctification. Despite Catholic claims, simple evidence to the contrary shows that sanctification does not happen in full on earth because of the flesh. In essence, purgatory then becomes unjust because it is the punishment of the soul for the sins of the flesh (which will be purified at the General Resurrection).” I replied, “In Revelation 21:27, the word “unclean” comes from the Greek word “koinon” which refers to a spiritual–not merely physical (flesh)–corruption.
You correctly say that we are made actually pure by sanctification. Yet you also say that we are not fully sanctified on earth. Since sanctification is incomplete in this life, it is completed during Purgatory and then we get to Heaven.
When you say “pronounced pure by the Father,” I assume you mean that that God just declares us righteous (imputation). This belittles the Holy Spirit’s role in our lives, who continues the work of Christ through His work of justification and sanctification (infusing His grace into souls and changing the inner person). I am convinced that infusion is the Biblical position.” I said, “In my reply to Gavin on Purgatory, I stated that justification is infused rather than imputed, but didn’t mention any scriptures that support this view. They include Psalm 51:1-2; 51:7-10; Isaiah 1:18; 43:25; 44:22; 64:5; Ezekiel 36:26-27; 37:23; Matthew 5:3,5-6,8,20,28; 6:1; 8:3; 15:18; 23:25-28; Mark 17:15; Luke 1:6; 6:21; 11:39-40; Acts 3:19; 10:35; 22:16; John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 3:9; 6:11; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 4:16; 5:17; 7:1; 13:5; Romans 4:3; 5:17,19; Philippians 2:13; Titus 3:5; Ephesians 4:22-24; Galatians 6:15; Colossians 3:10; 1 John 7,9; 3:7,10; 2 Peter 1:4; and Revelation 19:8.”

Regarding 1 Corinthians 3:10-17 I consulted a kind, faithful Protestant who said that “The first passage is dealing with rewards lost or received by the Christian’s works. The fire is not referring to the person by his or her works being tried or purified in God’s refining fire. If his works are burned up (as wood, hay or stubble), “he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” It is not the loss of salvation but of reward. (This has no reference to a place of purgatory).” At first this seemed true, but then I had second thoughts. The Greek word zemiothesetai (“suffer loss”) used in this context means that when God judges the quality of each man’s work by fire and purifying him, this purification relates to his sins (not just his good works). Protestants denying Purgatory hold to the view that Paul is only writing award God rewarding good works because punishing and purifying a man from sins would be admitting that there is a Purgatory. However, this view is not tenable because 1 Corinthians 3:17 proves that the purgation after death deals with punishing sin. “10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. 16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”

I have a cool book by Richard Bewes called “The Top 100 Questions” which I highly recommend. In the chapter on Purgatory, Bewes states that “Purgatory implies that Christ’s sacrifice is imperfect.” However, Catholics have a good response to that assertion. Dave Armstrong, in More Biblical Evidence for Catholicism, states that “He has completed the work and done everything necessary in Divine Providence to efficiently save everyone who will be saved, but this work is not yet actualized or appropriated in terms of true sanctity in most of us.” Hence, the need for Purgatory as the final stage of sanctification.

** Scriptural citations from the New King James Version (NKJV)


#6

A couple more questions in relation to Revelation 21:27…

Re 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

  1. Who are those people that are written in the Lamb’s book book of life?

I think it is this group…

1Co 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
Ro 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
Ro 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…

  1. The group that does not enter sounds like a group of people that are not Christians. Can a genuine Christian practice abomination and lying???

…In light of 1 John which explains the characteristics of one who has been born of God, I do not find these characteristics. The only place that I find these characteristics are in Paul’s lists…one of which I have cited below.

1Co 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

You also have Rev 21:8…

Re 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

The people that are referred to in the first part of Rev 21:27 are not “saved” people who just aren’t all that great yet (not fully sanctified)…these are the wicked…the abonimable…the unrighteous…the non-elect. How can you explain Purgatory in light of this?

The scripture references that are used for Purgatory are very scetchy.


#7

Although he wasn’t a Christian, I’d list King David as the closest thing in the OT to a Christian. He certainly fell into abomination and lying, yet the Lord forgave him.

He asked the Lord to blot out his sins, not cover them up, but blot them out.

He did this so that he wouldn’t be removed from “the book of life”.

But even after forgiveness, the Lord still punished him for his actions, what I call “Bathsheba Gate”.


#8

Isn’t a popular quote among non-Catholics, “All have sinned”. If you’ve sinned, you certainly need to be washed of that sin and it’s temporal effects before entering heaven. You may not be a fornicator or such, but we still sin from time to time.


#9

Joh 13:10 Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.

Heb 10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

I have the righteousness of Christ. I am, practically speaking, still a sinner because I still have a sinful nature…but I have been justified and am in Christ…there is therefore now no condemnation…I just need foot washings on a regular basis - BUT - I am clean every whit. Here are some once saved always saved scriptures for you…in addition to the ones that I have posted above which indicate a perfect standing with God based on the application of the merits of Christ…

Heb 3:14 For **we *have become ***partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end,

Heb 3:6 but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house–whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.

Perseverance is not only a condition but is also an evidence that one has been saved.

Romans 7 says that we are dead to the law - that sin cannot be imputed to us because we are dead to the law and alive in Christ. Can you be charged for a crime according to state/federal law if you are dead? Certainly not. If I am dead to the law, then I cannot be charged with sin.

David…did not practice these things!!! He slipped. But - a just man falls seven times but he gets back up…

Pr 24:16 For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, But the wicked stumble in time of calamity.

Ps 37:24 When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand.

That is the difference.


#10

Link, very good points.

While I’m pondering on them, though, I’d like to ask you to consider John 20.

***And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.***”

Now, Jesus is obviously doing something profound here. We see this from the fact that He is breathing on them. Why would Jesus give them the power to forgive and remit sins if this wasn’t necessary (due to Jesus’ Sacrifice)?


#11

Link, what’s with the two “if’s”?

We have become partakers, IF…

Christ’s House - whose house we are, IF …

That doesn’t sound like eternal assurance. It sounds like there is a way to lose this. To Catholics we can sin our way out of the partaking, out of His House.


#12

I’m not sure the foot washing means we are clean forever. It just means we do not need to be baptized again. That’s just my opinion there.

For by one offering… Yes, his sacrifice has allowed me to become perfect when I am baptized. And at first glance I can see where you can think I’d be forever perfected when I am saved. But the author of Hebrews seems to be talking about a perfection that Christ will not take away. You see, in the OT the old ceremonies were only for sanctifying of the flesh, and were temporary - repeated every year - in the new regime, the sanctification is of consciences as well, and is by nature permanent, is continual, it lasts on and on. That is, of course, unless we throw it away by sin. The perfection given is justification, which in itself lasts forever, and constitutes a ticket to enter the Father’s house, if only we do not throw away that ticket. We did not have to earn it, but we could forfeit it.


#13

I think you are missing the whole point of chapter 6 of Romans if you think that chapter 7 claims you cannot be charged with sin.

Jesus says we are to be judged by our actions. You have to look at what Paul says in light of that. I really hope and pray, Link, that you do not think you can sin and it does no harm to your relationship with Christ. For if you believe in Once Saved, Alway Saved, I think you are throwing away the “Once and for all” Sacrifice of Christ.

David…did not practice these things!!! He slipped. But - a just man falls seven times but he gets back up…

Pr 24:16 For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, But the wicked stumble in time of calamity.

Ps 37:24 When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand.

That is the difference.

You sort of lost me on that one.


#14

Catholic would agree that those are those written in the Book of Life.

  1. The group that does not enter sounds like a group of people that are not Christians. Can a genuine Christian practice abomination and lying???

Again, agreed.

The people that are referred to in the first part of Rev 21:27 are not “saved” people who just aren’t all that great yet (not fully sanctified)…these are the wicked…the abonimable…the unrighteous…the non-elect. How can you explain Purgatory in light of this?

In context, it is true that the verse is speaking of Christians getting into heaven, and the rest…not. But that’s not what Catholics are using this verse for. That is, of course, true, though. What Catholics are saying about this verse if that we see a principle set forth, namely, that nothing unclean can enter heaven.

You say, elsewhere, that you are a sinner, though “clean every whit”. This is the point of difficulty you are having with purgatory, a common one, as it is one of the fundamental distinctions between Catholics and Protestants. The Catholic would say that, though you are forgiven (by the grace of Christ), and are inhabited by the Holy Spirit, you are nevertheless still not completely clean as your “nature” (as you say) is still sinful. Catholics believe that our natures (our very self, in the deepest core of our being) need to be perfect to enter heaven, not simply covered in Christ’s righteousness, however glorious it may be.

And, of course, Purgatory is where Catholics believe Christ accomplishes that. Unless one is blessed with the spectacular grace of being made perfect while still on earth. Really, it’s the process of sanctification, brought to its final and ultimate completion.


closed #15

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