Purgatory, soul-sleep, or what?

This issue torments me. Just when I feel I have it settled in my mind, the doctrinal “yeah buts” start in. Assuming the last words on my lips or mind are not an urgent confession and plea for forgiveness, I will die with unconfessed, unabsolved sin.

As with Luther himself, I am wobbly on this. I am also curious as to what other faiths and traditions teach.


If you die in a state of mortal sin - grave matter, full knowledge, freely chosen - then there is no purgation. Someone in the state of mortal sin has chosen to separate themself from God, and will not be in heaven.

Purgatory is the final purification before heaven. In heaven, there is no concupiscence.

No “yea buts” for me. Moses appears at the Transfiguation. The confessionsare clear that we as Lutherans believe that the saints in Heaven pray for us. We confess the ancient creed, stating we believe in the Communion of Saints. These do not point to soul-sleep. His saints are cleansed at the moment of death to enter His presence.


Purgatory is the mercy of God and exists for our benefit. Unless you completely reject God’s grace his mercy will pull you through. Remember, God desires that none be lost. As a Catholic I believe that I, like Paul, must work out my salvation with fear and trembling. That means that I must always seek to grow closer to Christ while knowing that I have the free will to reject Christ and will be tempted to enter into sin, which is that rejection. But I also have hope, true hope in the resurrection. As long as your heart is set on God and on doing God’s will, knowing that at time’s you will fail, I would not be disturbed that you will loose your salvation on some technicality. God loves you and of that you can be certain. He desires your salvation, not your condemnation. That is why we believe that he has provided a means for our purification, provided that we have not chosen otherwise by living in unrepentant mortal sin.

God bless and have hope in our wonderful God.

The word Purgatory means a place where one is purged. This is where one is purified before being allowed into the presence of God. Wisdom chapter 3 verses 1-6 might be applied to Purgatory by some. They are hopeful verses, not ones of condemnation.

The Church does not pronounce on who is in Hell. But remember that Hell is for those who have completely and unrepentantly turned away from God. Should one die while in a state of mortal sin and actually be repentant, then we must all trust in the mercy of God. God does not abandon those who really seek to do his Will, no matter how hard or far they fall. And we all fall.

I think it would be better for the sincere Christian to look forward to Purgatory than fear it, because, as I understand it, if you make it to Purgatory you are on your way to Heaven. And that’s good news.:slight_smile:

The Biblical Basis for Catholic Beliefs: Purgatory


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