Where does a person go when he/she dies? It is the belief of the Roman Catholic Church that some people will go to a temporary place called purgatory before entering Heaven.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, purgatory is defined in the following way:
Purgatory (Lat., “purgare”, to make clean, to purify) in accordance with Catholic teaching is a place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God’s grace , are, not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions.
So the question is: does purgatory exist and what does the Bible really say about where we will go when we die?
According to the scriptures, there are only 2 places that a person can either go when he/she dies. A person can either go to Heaven or that person can either go to a place called hell.
The scriptures do not mention any place that is called purgatory nor does the Bible describe any place that serves as a temporal punishment when a person has died.
Matthew 25:46 says: “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
2 Corinthians 5:8 says: “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord”
In this world, we only have one life on this earth in which we can either make a choice for Heaven or we can make a choice for hell.
Our choice for Heaven or hell depends upon whether we genuinely accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour (John 3:16 and 1 John 5:12).
According to the scriptures we cannot enter Heaven unless we are born again and received Jesus Christ as Lord (John 1:12 and John 3:3-6).
The concept of purgatory contradicts scripture and it misleads people in the following ways:
1. Purgatory Belief Opposes the Purpose of Christ’s Death on The Cross
Jesus Christ shed His blood on the Cross so that we may be redeemed. It is through His blood that the debt of sin was fully paid by Jesus Christ. Therefore there is no need for any further purification in purgatory because the blood of Christ is enough to purify us from sin.
Ephesians 1:7 says: In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.
1 Peter 1:18-19 says: For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors,
but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
2. Purgatory Belief Falsely Supports Salvation by Works Instead of Salvation by Grace
The idea of purgatory suggests that when people die they are, not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions.
The purgatory belief suggests that man needs to pay for his own salvation or that man needs to earn his own way into Heaven. This contradicts the scriptures and the true graceful nature of God.
We cannot earn our salvation by our own works. We cannot pay for our sins because we do not have the capacity to do so. It is the very reason why Jesus came to pay for our sins. He did so because mankind could not pay the debt of sin to a just and holy God.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, a result of works, so that no one may boast.
3. Purgatory Belief Opposes Your New Identity in Christ Jesus
2 Corinthians 5:17 says: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:21 says: For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
Every born again Christian is a new spiritual creation in Christ. The moment a person becomes a Christian, that person becomes “the righteousness of God”. This means that when God looks at a Christian, He sees the righteousness of Christ and the Person of Christ inside the Christian.
Therefore we enter Heaven not on the basis of our own personal effort or works, but we enter Heaven because of Christ in us and because of what He accomplished on our behalf on the Cross.
The belief in purgatory ignores the Christian’s new identity in Christ and the fact that the Christian believer is a new creation whose sins are fully and totally paid for by Christ.
4. Purgatory Belief Deceives People to Believe They Have a Second Chance After Death
Every single person on this planet has been given a chance by God to repent and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. As long as we live and have breath on this earth, we still have the opportunity to become born again Christians. However, after we die, we either go to Heaven or are sent to hell.
2 Peter 3:9 says: The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
Hebrews 9:27 says: “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment”
Catholics have used 1 Corinthians 3:15 to justify the existence of purgatory. 1 Corinthians 3:15 says: If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
In context, this scripture does not define the existence of a place called purgatory. A few verses upwards in 1 Corinthians 3:11, Paul says no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
If Jesus Christ is the foundation of anyone who is a believer in Christ, then one must recognize that redemption and purification is only possible by the blood of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:7) and not by entering purgatory.
Therefore if Jesus is our foundation then we will also acknowledge that salvation is not by works but it is only possible because of the sacrifice Jesus Christ made on the Cross in payment for our sins.
It’s therefore important to understand that purgatory does not exist but only Heaven or hell will await those who die.
TODAY – receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
DO YOU WANT TO BE A CHRISTIAN or A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST???
1. ACKNOWLEDGE: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
This means that we have all broken God’s laws and God’s 10 Commandments like those mentioned in Exodus 20:1-17. For example, if you have told a lie; if you have stolen something; if you have lusted after somebody or if you have coveted. This means you are guilty of breaking at least one or more of God’s 10 Commandments. Breaking God’s commandments makes us sinners. The fact that we are sinners who have broken God’s law means that we are accountable to God who is the Lawgiver. Romans 6:23 says that “the wages of sin is death BUT the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”
You must acknowledge that you are a sinner who has broken God’s commandments and that you therefore need Jesus in your life.
2. REPENT: “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3), “Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19)
Repenting means: to change your mind; a sincere turning away, in heart, mind and action;
Therefore God wants you to repent of sinful values and of sinful living. God wants you to decide to
follow Him and to make Jesus the Lord of your life.
3. CONFESSION: “If we confess our sins. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9)
God is a forgiving God. God will forgive any sin that you have done because Jesus died for ALL your sins and to set you free from the bondage of all types of sin in your life.
4. BELIEVE: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
You must believe that ONLY Jesus can save you and restore your relationship with God. You must believe that Jesus is the ONLY way by which you can have everlasting life and escape from eternal separation from God. You must believe that Jesus died on the cross for you and resurrected from the grave.
“He came to His own, and His own did not receive him, But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:11-12)
By faith, You must receive Jesus as Your Lord & Savior and therefore; you become a child of God; you become born again; you become a Christian; you restore your broken relationship with God
Why Not Make Your Eternal Decision NOW?
We become born again Christians by GRACE through FAITH or TOTAL TRUST in Jesus Christ as our Lord & Savior (Galatians 3:26) & (Ephesians 2:8,9). Salvation is a FREE gift received through FAITH in Christ.
PLEASE NOTE: You can choose to pray in your own words. This prayer is a sample prayer and it is only an EXPRESSION of your faith, belief & trust in Jesus. Salvation is by GRACE through FAITH or BELIEVING in Christ Jesus as your Lord & Saviour.
“Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your love. I thank You that You died on the cross for me and resurrected so that I may have life through You.
I confess Lord that I have sinned against You and today I ask You to forgive me of all of my sins, past present and future.
Today I repent and have decided to follow you. Thank you for forgiving all my sins.
From this moment, come into my life Lord Jesus & take full control of my life. I want to follow You Jesus and I want to follow Your ways. Save me and from today, make me the person You want me to be.
I receive You Lord Jesus right now by faith. I trust You as my Lord and Savior – Amen”
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