Salvation & Purgatory


#1

Greetings! I am new here, this is my first post. I would like to give you all a brief history of what has been going on with me.

I am a cradle Catholic. For the past 8 years I have been like a ping pong ball between the Catholic church and the Baptist church. In 2003 I decided to be baptized in the Baptist church. I thought I was following the Lord. Now I am not so sure. Anyway, since that time at Christmas (12/03 and 12/04) I get this craving and pull back to the Catholic church. In 2003 I gave into the crave temporarily, then returned to the Baptist church. All was fine for all of 2004 until Christmas when I got the crave again. I ignored it this time though, and by January it was still there, only the crave grew stronger and stronger. The only way I can describe it is an addict type crave or urge. This time I am giving in to this and I have the feeling it may be for good. This time I am not going to try to push God into leading me in my time, I will sit back and let him lead me in His time. I began praying the Rosary daily to and have gotten in contact with a Catholic church I used to attend….well now that you have my brief history I will move on with my question.

I explained to a friend of mine that has helped me over the past 2 years. Only, her help has been pro-Baptist anti-Catholic. She has been praying for me to resist these “demons” that are trying to pull me back to the Catholic church. In an email to here I said the following:

“Regarding acceptance of Salvation…I have been thinking about this a great deal lately. I cannot remember word for word what I said in my last email regarding purgatory and how it makes sense to me, the need for it makes sense to me. First I will begin with a question. If we accept Jesus into our hearts as our Lord and Savior, we are saved right? If that is true, why are we judged when we die? There would be no need for judgement if our Salvation was gaurenteed, right? Now, the way I understand the Catholic teaching of purgatory is this…though we are covered by Jesus’ blood, our sins remain on our soul. Nothing unclean can enter heaven. And the Loving Father that God is has created a way for us to be thoroughly cleansed so that we can enter heaven. Just as we are to discipline our children, our Father disciplines us, gives us our just punishment for our sins.”
**

Her response to this was the following:

“we aren’t judged, only our works are judged if we’ve been saved. When we receive Christ’s atonement, we are once and for all saved. When we stand before Him after we die, we stand before him as our Savior, not our judge. John MacArthur was definitely not referring to purgatory. He’s referring to those people who receive salvation, but don’t full live the victorious Christian life. Their works are shallow, thus easily “burned up”. He’s talking about people who are saved, but “just barely” because of the way they lived their lives. This in no way refers to purgatory. There is something called the Great White Throne judgment mentioned in the book of Revelation. This judgment is not for believers, but for the non-believers. When we, as believers die, we are immediately in His presence and all he sees is not our righteousness, but the righteousness that was imparted to us upon our acceptance of Christ. Our robes will be white as snow. We will get our crowns “rewards” based upon what we did for the Kingdom while here on earth.”

So I would like to ask if you would please explain to me what the church teaches (in layman’s terms) on Salvation and how we obtain it and how purgatory comes into play. This way I will better understand the church and also be able to respond to my friend with facts and not just my thoughts.

Thanks so much! I am sorry this is so long and thank you if you made it through this whole post.

~~Fallen Catholic


#2

Fallen -

Though I never even thought of joining another church, years ago I stopped participating in the Catholic Church in which I was raised. I started attending Mass again in preparation for a baptism, and found myself craving the Eucharist, much as you say you ‘crave’ the Church. I encourage you to follow that craving.

With respect to Purgatory, it seems to me that your understanding is at least part of the answer. Jesus said we ‘must be made perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect.’ Some of us are ‘made perfect’ by our sufferings in this life, others by spending time in purification after our death (Purgatory). Clearly, nothing imperfect can enter Heaven, thus we must be cleansed either in life or in death.

For the best answers to your friend, go to the Catholic Answers web site (wws.catholic.com) and click on “Last Things” and on “Salvation.” The information there should provide responses to her objections. I hope this helps, and I will pray for you and her.

Chuck


#3

[quote=FallenCatholic]Thanks so much! I am sorry this is so long and thank you if you made it through this whole post.
[/quote]

FIRST OF ALL … WELCOME TO THE FORUM … We hope you find many answers here and post lots of questions and comments.:slight_smile:

That’s OK, my response will be longer.

I understand your questions and your friends “anti-Catholic” teachings because I use to be like her. After I reasearched the Catholic faith, I discovered this:

The True Church the Christ founded is the Catholic Church (as we know it). All denominations, including the Baptists, can be traces back to someone who has broken away from the Catholic Church. The earliest Baptist church is traced back to 1609 in Amsterdam, with John Smyth as pastor. The Baptist faith originated from within the Separatist movement, a movement which arose in Europe with the goal of breaking away from the Church of England (which previously had broken away from the Catholic Church). Therefore, the teachings of the protestants are actually a watered down version of the truth.

Question, “Why did you have to be re-Baptized in the Baptist Church?” Did they tell you your Catholic Baptism was invalid because because you were not submirged? That is a whole different thread, but needless to say, “It’s a way of control”. By making you believe that your old baptism was invalid and that the only true baptizm was theirs, they convince you that you are no longer ____(fill in your denomination). The Catholics believe, Baptism … once for the remission of sins. I have heard of Baptists who have been Baptized 3 or 4 times.

There is a long-held saying among Baptists: when you get two Baptists together, you get three difference opinions!

NOW WITH THAT SAID: The Baptist favorate saying, “Are you SAVED?” (trick question - if your are not their sect of Baptists, you are not). That answer will be in my next posting.


#4

Here is an excerpt of a teaching I give to Catholics to help them defend their faith:

Are You Saved?

Grace

That is the founding question for most Evangelicals.

Eph 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

Christ could not have made mere “acceptance” of Himself sufficient for salvation since the observance of some of the commandments is required by natural law.

His plan included not only hope or “acceptance” but also the observance of the commandments, faith, baptism, etc. But not only do we have to participate in the sacraments, we have to believe in them.

I can put on a wedding ring and say, “I’m married.” But unless I believe and actively participate in the sacrament, I’m not really married. I can also go through the sacrament, but unless I believe in and work at the marriage, it’s useless and will fail.

Are you saved?

1 Cor 15:2 - Through it (the gospel) you are also being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

Are you saved?

Mt 10:22 - … but whoever endures to the end will be saved.

Mk 13:13 - But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.

Are you saved?

Baptism

I have been baptized in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit in keeping with :

Mt 28:19 - Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit,

Are you saved?

Reconciliation

I have confessed and repented my sins before God in keeping with:

James 5:16 - Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Are you saved?

The Eucharist: The Lord’s Supper

I have eaten the flesh of the Son of man and drank his blood in keeping with:

John 6:53 Jesus therefore said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, ye have not life in yourselves.

Are you saved?

Confirmation

I have been renewed and received the Holy Spirit in keeping with:

Eph 1:13 - In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised holy Spirit

Titus 3:5 - He saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the holy Spirit

Rom 8:9 - Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

Are you saved?

** Works**

My faith is alive becuase I work for the Lord for it is written:

Eph 2:8-9 "For by grace you have been saved through faith … "

James 6:26 “Faith without works is dead.”

Are you saved?

I have held fast to the teachings of the Church in which Christ, himself, initiated.

1 Cor 15:2 - Through the gospel you are also being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

The Catholic response.

“YES I’M SAVED, ARE YOU?”

** Mt. 7:21 - “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of my Father in heaven shall enter the kingdom of heaven.”
**


#5

[quote=dhgray]Here is an excerpt of a teaching I give to Catholics to help them defend their faith:

[/quote]

Dear FallenCatholic,

Dhgray makes an important point about Baptism. If a cradle baptist converts to the Catholic Church, they do not have to be re-baptized if their initial baptism was of the trinitarian formula. But if a cradle Catholic joins a baptist church, they will usually be re-baptized for a myriad of reasons. Either because baptists don’t recognize infant baptism, you weren’t immersed, a sign of acceptance into their baptist fellowship etc, etc, etc! Plain and simple, your Catholic baptism was not valid! What does this speak to your heart?

God Bless you and welcome home! :slight_smile:


#6

Here are some various resources for you that I have found useful:

Salvation
biblechristiansociety.com/2min_apologetics.asp?id=10
catholic.com/library/Are_Catholics_Born_Again.asp
catholic.com/library/Assurance_of_Salvation.asp
catholic.com/library/Grace_What_It_Is.asp
catholic.com/newsletters/kke_041116.asp

Purgatory
catholic.com/library/Purgatory.asp

Which church is the “right Church”?
catholic.com/library/Pillar.asp

Hope these are helpful to you :slight_smile:

dhgray: Fantastic points, I especially like the Catholic response at the end with the quote from Matthew.

Mickey: Isn’t it also fascinating that our Baptism isn’t “valid”, yet they don’t believe any baptism has any salvific value anyway. What exactly are they trying to do by re-baptizing a person if it doesn’t do anything in the first place?


#7

Fallen, welcome to the forums, be sure to search for multiple threads on this topic which will answer far better than I can, also CA tracts on home page. I only suggest that you consider changing your screen name, as if you have been living a Christian life and active in your Church for several years you can hardly be described as fallen. And if, as you say, your search and endeavor to fully understand and accept Catholic teaching is sincere, neither are you an apostate, since you cannot renounce what you do not understand. Plenty of people here to help answer your questions, but when we make you more confused, ask the experts on the AA forum. The tracts on the home page are great, and will give plenty of matter for talks with your friend.


#8

Fallen,the ‘craving’ you are getting is NOT demonic,it is the Holy Spirit and the fact Jesus is present in the Eucharist.Coincidentaly,let your freind know satanist hate the Catholic Church and fear it,and remember that Jesus was accused of consorting or getting power from demons.God Bless


#9

Fallen Catholic,

For your first post, you should be commended. It seems you were honest about what has been bothering you. I will make a few comments with respect to what you wrote.

The word “craving” gives me a problem. I will assume you mean you are being “pulled” toward the Roman Catholic Church because as you said, it makes more sence.

“Judging”. Your friend says Jesus is a Savior and not a judge. That is not true.He is our Savior, but the Nicene Creed says,“And He shall come again into Glory to judge the living and the dead”.

Purgatory. We read ALL have sinned, and Nothing unclean will enter heaven. Lets emphasise this. We do sin. We ask forgiveness. God forgives us. We are then forgiven but the “effects” of sin linger in our souls. (What does that mean? It means that we still have an apitite or propensity to do those things called sin- the sould still has the “effects” of sin. We would not really fit into Heaven having the apitites for sin, therefore God sees to it that these ‘effects’ of sin are removed. Purgatory IS NOT a place where we PAY for our sins, Jesus did that. Purgatory only removes our hunger to sin. Is that clear? I hope so.

The idea that most Protestants have when they say,“Are you saved?” Is not Catholic. We believe “being saved” is a life long event not a one time event.:yup:


#10

Very good observation Rich! :thumbsup:


#11

we aren’t judged, only our works are judged if we’ve been saved. When we receive Christ’s atonement, we are once and for all saved. When we stand before Him after we die, we stand before him as our Savior, not our judge.

I would like to highlight the last statement that your friend said.

First, she admitted that “works” has something to do during judgement day. If “works” is not as important as our “faith”, then why are we going to be judged by our works? Remember it’s “Judgement Day” and we are judged according to our works (refer to Book of Revelation), and not according to our faith. When we stand before the Lord, He is the Judge. Otherwise who is He going to judge if he were not going to be a Judge at the the second coming?

Secondly, when we stand before the Lord, He is a Judge, not a Saviour. He a Saviour here, at this present moment until He comes, and when He comes, He is going to be the Judge. To put it short, God the Son came as a “Savoiur” during His first coming, and He will be a “Judge” during the second coming.

Hope your friend is clarified on that.

I would like to add that all those souls in purgatory are going to heaven.

God bless,

Pio*


#12

Other posters have given you great resources to explain the Church’s teaching on this subject, but to directly address your friend’s objections:

"we aren’t judged, only our works are judged if we’ve been saved. When we receive Christ’s atonement, we are once and for all saved. When we stand before Him after we die, we stand before him as our Savior, not our judge.

This is nonsense. Even if it were true that “only our works are judged” what does this mean? What are the implications or outcome of that judgement? If a saved person is going to be saved no matter what his deeds were, why even have this judgement? If it just means you’ll be saved but at a lesser level of blessedness in heaven, most people will say “So what? At least I’m not in hell!” If she says this means that they were not saved in the first place, that simply begs the question. This is a matter of her not thinking through what she believes.

There is something called the Great White Throne judgment mentioned in the book of Revelation. This judgment is not for believers, but for the non-believers.

She is referring to Revelation 20. Someone who believes in the theology of a secret Rapture may interpret this way as they believe by this time all the saved will be in heaven. Since the whole Rapture theology is an error, so is this interpretation (for more info about that, see carl-olson.com/wcblb_home.html).

Looking at the Scripture in question, it only mentions “all who had died.” It does not differentiate between “saved” and “unsaved.” The Church has always taught there will be two judgments for everyone–the Particular judgment when we die (Hebrews 9:27) and the General Judgement described in Matthew 25.


#13

Dear Fallen, maybe that “friend” wasn’t that much of a friend and not “helping” after all :wink:

[quote=dhgray]Here is an excerpt of a teaching I give to Catholics to help them defend their faith:

[/quote]

dhgray (Davis?), your “Are you Saved?” is a keeper. Do you mind if I use it?

Thanks!


#14

Welcome home :clapping:

I got this from www.staycatholic.com
Purgatory
Numbers 20:12 - Moses and Aaron, though forgiven, are still punished
2 Samuel 12:13-14 - David, though forgiven, is still punished
1 John 5:16-17 - There is sin that is not deadly
Revelation 21:27 - Nothing unclean shall enter heaven
Hebrews 12:23 - All in heaven have been made perfect
Matthew 12:36 - "On judgment day men will account for every careless word they utter"
Matthew 18:23-35 - In the kingdom of heaven you will remain in prison until your debt is paid
1 Corinthians 3:11-15 - Fire will test each ones work. He will be saved but only as through fire
Luke 12:41-48 - There are different degrees of punishment after death
2 Maccabees 12:42-45 - He prayed for the dead that they might be freed from their sin
2 Timothy 1:16-18 - Paul prays for his dead friend Onesiphorus

You said "though we are covered by Jesus’ blood, our sins remain on our soul."

Maybe a better way to word this, is our sins are covered by Jesus’ blood, but there is still a temporal punishment for the sin.

*or *

the sin is gone washed cleaned by the blood of the Lamb, but the temporal punishment still needs to be atoned for

*Keep up the good work. :yup: *


#15

Don’t all the cartoons depicting the Pearly Gates have a line?
Just tell her that’s what purgatory is.


#16

[quote=FallenCatholic]So I would like to ask if you would please explain to me what the church teaches (in layman’s terms) on Salvation and how we obtain it and how purgatory comes into play. This way I will better understand the church and also be able to respond to my friend with facts and not just my thoughts.
[/quote]

Fallen,
I have been Baptist. I have been Calvinist. I am Catholic. It’s explanation of salvation is the only one that does justice to all of the biblical data, as opposed to one verse here and there.

Biblically speaking, salvation is a process. It has a past (Eph. 2:8), on-going (Phil. 2:12), and a future (Rom. 13:11) dimension. Thus, to speak of salvation as a one-time past event is not biblical. Doing justice to this biblical data, the Catholic Church states that salvation is a process, and that our salvation will be completed when we see God face to face. What are the key points of that process?

Repentance - an awareness of and turning from one’s sin.

Faith - clearly anyone who is saved will have had faith in the truth revealed by God. The central truth is the incarnation, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. This is a turning to Christ as our sole hope of salvation from sin.

Baptism - to be baptized is to participate in the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ (Rom. 6:4), that is, to have Christ’s saving merits applied to us (1 Pet. 3:21), that is, to have our sins forgiven (Acts 22:16). Baptism is necessary for salvation (John 3:5). By the way, there is only one baptism (Eph. 4:5), so any attempts at baptism subsequent to your first one were only a bath. (Personally, I have been baptized once, and taken two other baths.)

Once you have been baptized, the past dimension of salvation is now fulfilled (notice our works had nothing to do with it). You are in a state of grace, you participate in the divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4), you have received the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). You have been justified and sanctified (1 Cor. 6:11).

The next part is the present dimension of salvation. We are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12) by doing the good works God has prepared for us to do (Eph 2:10). This is the process of growing in holiness and becoming more like Christ. If we do not persevere in good works, we can lose the state of grace (1 Tim. 1:19; there are plenty of other such verses in the NT, by the way). Thus our good works play an important role in our salvation, by maintaining us in, and helping us to progress in, the state of grace.

“You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone.” (James 2:24)

When we die, we have not yet been made absolutely perfect (no Protestant would deny this; though they would say we have been declared perfect). This is the future part of our salvation (Rom. 13:11), when we are finally and totally sanctified for heaven, because nothing unclean can enter heaven (Rev. 21:27). This sanctification after death is called purgatory (i.e., cleansing). It is the state of being where Christ’s saving merits are applied to us finally and totally. Once made completely clean, we can then enter heaven. Then we are finally and totally saved.

One more aspect of the biblical data that the Church covers, and Protestant communities don’t, is the aspect revealed in scripture about heaven being a reward for our good works. As “merely” fallen human beings, our works could never be rewarded with heaven (Is. 64:6). But once we have been sanctified and justified, once we participate in the divine nature, once the Holy Spirit dwells in us, our works can be good, to the degree that we cooperate with the grace that God freely gives us. Once we are freely placed into a state of grace by Christ through faith and baptism, our works can then be objectively good, and God has promised to reward our good works with heaven (Rom. 2:6-8, Gal. 6:7-10).

This is not works righteousness. It is us using the grace God gives. Without his grace, no one could be saved.

Ask away.


#17

scripturecatholic.com/purgatory.html

This is an great site.


#18

Fallen Catholic, listen to that craving. It is there for a purpose. God has given each of us a hunger that needs to be filled and often times we use earthly desires to try and fill that hunger and really what we need to do is just follow God. As to Salvation I was told that to enter Heaven we have to take on the “mind of Christ” and I really doubt that many of us have that and will even have it at death. So there has to be a period of time that occurs between death and entering Heaven. It doesn’t have to be a “place” but there has to be time spent to change our minds into Christ. Think about silver and how it has to be put into a fire for a brief time to have all of the impurites burned away. That is Purgatory. Each of us has impurities that will need to be burned away.


#19

We sin. We go to confession and ask forgiveness. We recieve forgiveness from the Lord, not the priest. But because we have sinned there is the “effect” of sin in our soul.

Purgatory. We read ALL have sinned, and Nothing unclean will enter heaven. Lets emphasise this. We do sin. We ask forgiveness. *God forgives us. We are then forgiven but the “effects” of sin linger in our souls. (What does that mean? It means that we still have an apitite or propensity to do those things called sin- the soul still has the “effects” of sin. We would not really fit into Heaven having the apitites for sin, therefore God sees to it that these ‘effects’ of sin are removed. Purgatory IS NOT a place where we PAY for our sins, Jesus did that. Purgatory only removes our hunger to sin. Is that clear? I hope so.


#20

So I would like to ask if you would please explain to me what the church teaches (in layman’s terms) on Salvation and how we obtain it and how purgatory comes into play. This way I will better understand the church and also be able to respond to my friend with facts and not just my thoughts.

Thanks so much! I am sorry this is so long and thank you if you made it through this whole post.

~~Fallen Catholic

First thing I wonder is, if she does believe that you are now saved (once saved always saved), then why is she worried about if you go to the Catholic Church. How can “demons” do you any harm if she believes that you are saved and will always be saved.

For more answers on Purgatory and what happens after death, there are some tracts here on this website if you go to Home and then look on the left and you’ll see Last Things. I think this is a link to it.
catholic.com/library/last_things.asp

I hope this helps. I hope that you are able to let go of that friendship IF she is unable to accept you as Catholic. We shouldn’t go to Church for social reasons although it can be a temptation. It seems that you know the need for the spiritual nourishment of the Eucharist. Go to confession, so that you are not in a state or mortal sin when you receive the Eucharist and continue with frequent confession and I am thinking that you will find it easier to deal with the situation with your friend. She may not want to listen right now and that is ok, but I hope you don’t let her hold you back from doing the right thing. In time, maybe she will come to you and ask about the CAtholic Church, but you can’t rush her either, so I wouldn’t spend a lot of time arguing, but I do wonder what she is worried about if she does believe in the idea of once saved always saved.


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