Has Christ already purged us of our sins?

A protestant friend asked this:

Hebrews 1:3 says “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;” That being so then in an never ending quest for the truth my question is if Christ by himself purged (past tense) our sins then for what do we need to go to Purgatory to be purged of if not our sins that Christ already purged us of?


Dear Geof,

Jesus indeed has purged us of our sins in that He made reparation for the whole human race in the face of Adam and Eve’s sin which was an affront to an infinitely good God. By that act of divine reparation, He also forgave our sins. But we are still responsible for our actions.

If I accidentally drop a pitcher of orange juice on my mother’s kitchen floor and apologize for it, my mother will forgive me. I am forgiven. My mishap has been purged. But the floor is still a mess. So I clean up the mess. I purge the floor of the temporal effects of my misbehavior. This is what purgatory does.

For more, see: catholic.com/library/Purgatory.asp and:

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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