Basis for Purgatory

I have described myself as a ‘Catholic under construction’ in my profile, I have done so much research and have found myself going from not at all religious to looking into RCIA in about 6 months. Catholicism is a breath of fresh air in my life and just makes so much sense, I’m loving the journey I am on. One area I have yet to understand is purgatory – I understand the concept and the function of it, I just don’t get how we know it exists.

There are hints to it in the bible and I see these, I also understand that not everything is in the bible. Does this mean that we know about purgatory through the traditions and the popes.

Or am I completely over thinking this, and it’s just kind of common sense that some sins although forgiven need to be completely purged from our sole before entering heaven, so it’s just a part of going to heaven.

I guess my little brain wants something it can point to and say “that’s how we know purgatory exists because of x, y and z”.

Any help or pointers would be great

Something I found helpful (minus his little Romish dig) when I was a “Catholic under construction” (great description, BTW) was this written by C. S. Lewis: angelfire.com/pa3/OldWorldBasic/purgatorycslewis.htm. You may find it enlightening, too. :slight_smile:

Purgatory is part of Christian tradition, whether we call it purgatory or not. Ancient Christians and those whose heritage comes from them, such as the Eastern Orthodox (in addition to Catholics), pray for the dead. That’s well over half of the Christian population. That’s also well over half of Christian history. So purgatory, or a state of final purification before one fully enters communion with God in Heaven, has really only come under question in the last 500 years or so, from a minority of Christians in history.

History aside, purgatory is reasonable. Most people on Earth are attached to earthly things in some form and degree. We all desire earthly goods. We want love, sex, pleasure, power, wealth – all which are not inherently bad; but our obsession and distortions puts our priorities out of place. If we were to die with certain vices, addictions, and concerns that are obstacles to true happiness and union with God, then we must be purified.

Just as the Bible and Christian tradition have images to speak of Heaven and hell, so there are images sometimes associated with purgatory, such as a purifying fire. Naturally, until the final judgment, the dead will not have their bodies so any purifying must be a spiritual purification. What this means we do not fully know. One theory some suggest is that ghosts are really souls still in need of purification, letting us on Earth know that we should pray for them.

Those are just some initial thoughts. There is plenty of biblical and historical defense available on other websites or here at Catholic Answers. Such for purgatory. Also become acquainted with the Catholic teaching on salvation, justification, and sanctification. Purgatory is a natural consequence of the Catholic (and Orthodox) understanding of salvation, which is a process of becoming holy and partaking more and more of the “divine nature” as Peter says in his letter.

Related topics are redemptive suffering and the communion of saints.

1 Cor 3:1 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how he builds upon it.
11 For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw –
13 each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.
14 If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.
15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

From a protestant perspective (mainly modern) to be fair the above scripture they do agree that it is a fire in which you are purified by God, However apparently this is instantaneous, and instead of purification it effects what type of rewards you will receive God (which really stems from and is part of the health and wealth doctrine). However not all protestants agree with modern interpretation.

Peace and God Bless
Nicene

The concept of purgatory can certainly be found in the Bible and the early Church. It is a complex doctrine that can be interpreted in different ways though. Most Catholics are Latin so the western view of purgatory is often held. But I prefer the eastern view of purgatory held by our Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox brethren. It’s closely connected with Theosis, and Eastern Catholics even prefer to call purgatory the “final Theosis.” Purgatory, in eastern Christianity is not a state of suffering, but a journey towards God. It’s a process.

Thank you all for your replies and the efforts you have gone to, I really appreciate it.

Michael

More good reading:
catholic.com/blog/tim-staples/is-purgatory-in-the-bible

Forgiveness described by David in the Psalms:

Psalm 32
1 Blessed is the one
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord does not count against them

and in whose spirit is no deceit.

Psalm 51
For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.

Psalm 103
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities
.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Why could David become whiter than snow and have all his iniquity removed in the Old Law, but after Jesus’ sacrifice, all iniquity can not be removed after confessing to God?

Prophecy from Isaiah about Jesus:

Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,”
says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool."

Forgiveness described in the New Testament:

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin** for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Is it possible that purgatory exists for certain circumstances? I don’t know. The story of the “Rich man and Lazarus” in Luke 16:19-31 shows that upon death Lazarus was taken immediately by angels to Abraham’s side. There was no transient state of purgatory or anything.

I do think it is important that we can have confidence that sins that are sincerely forgiven will not be counted against us. While there may be immediate temporal effects, God will not keep a tally of this for later.**

:thumbsup: Good article. It points out that “elements” of purgatory were already present among the Jews prior to Jesus’ birth.The Old Testament people of God would not have called it “Purgatory,” but they did clearly believe that the sins of the dead could be atoned for by the living as I will now prove. This is a constitutive element of what Catholics call “Purgatory.”

II Maccabees 12:39-46 …

David’s sins were forgiven, but there were still consequences that were inflicted by God even after He granted forgiveness.2 Sam.12:13 et. seq. David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die. 12:14 Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the LORD, the child that is born to you shall die.” …

Prophecy from Isaiah about Jesus:

Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,”
says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool."

The** sins **are gone after forgiveness (totally wiped away). However, the sinfulness that led to committing that sin may still be within – eg. unruly passions, tendency to self indulgence, etc. These must be purged.

Forgiveness described in the New Testament:

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin** for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.** “and purify us from all unrighteousness”. Yes.
Jesus does not say the “purification from all unrighteousness” takes place and is completed immediately upon confessing. It will take place, but probably most of us will have to undergo some of that purification after death since very few die in such a state of perfection that there is no unrighteousness remaining in our thinking and desires.

Here’s a blog article of mine that may help you out some.
Biblical and Jewish Traditional Beliefs About Purgatory

Purgatory is for persons who are unwilling to worship the one true God, instead go wayward because they thought God is not real.

Wrong, on so many levels.

Peace and God bless
Nicene

That is absolutely incorrect. You obviously do not understand what Purgatory is.

catholiceducation.org/en/religion-and-philosophy/apologetics/purgatory-holy-fire.html

Purgatory: Holy Fire
SCOTT HAHN
Scott Hahn discusses the Catholic doctrine of purgatory and how it is necessary in understanding the application of Christ’s redemptive work in salvation.

You are correct in saying it’s just part of going to heaven.

People take showers before they go to Church on Sunday to honor the Lord. Not sure why they don’t think they need one when it’s actually time to come face to face with Him. :shrug: We are a sinful people and most of us leave this planet with some sort of attachment to sin. There are those like Mother Teresa who won’t need any or much purgation and God bless them, but most of us just aren’t that holy.

Anyway, the Church says it’s part of the process and I believe the scriptures point to it as well, just not spelled out. And the Jews have always prayed for the dead.

I think it’s incredibly awesome that God allows us to participate in this process through prayer. I had a idea of the communion of saints as a protestant, now I have a complete understanding and i absolutely love it. God is good all the time.

Purgatory allows you to understand the supreme international integrity of the church history. Since this apostolic integrity allows you to understand that suffering is a precursor before going to heaven. The punishment deserving of its worth is credible.

Jimmy Akin of Catholic Anwers: jimmyakin.com/2012/06/to-be-absent-from-the-body-is-to-be-present-with-the-lord.html

catholic.com/tracts/the-roots-of-purgatory
catholic.com/tracts/purgatory

This must be a record. How many “explaining Purgatory” threads are we going to see this summer? :smiley:

Use the search tool as well. Lots of great info to be had. :thumbsup:

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