According the book The Catholic Church: The True Church of the Bible (published in 1913, and reprinted last in 2019): “It is of faith that there is a place we call purgatory, where petty faults, of the temporal punishment due to sin, are expiated.”
Nope. Christ’s blood shed on the cross “expiated” (atoned for, paid for) for the sins of all. No further sacrifices are necessary. Who says? God does.
- Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. (Hebrews7:27b)
- The blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (1 John 1:7b)
- God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
There are no down payments or partial payments. There is nothing required of people in order to be saved because there is nothing we can or need to do to be saved. Jesus does it all!
Not according to the Council of Trent, an 18-year-long series of meetings held by the largest Christian denomination on earth in order to mitigate and fight back against the efforts of Martin Luther and other Lutherans to proclaim Christ alone:
“If anyone says that after the grace of justification has been received the guilt is so remitted and the debt of eternal punishment so blotted out for any repentant sinner, that no debt of temporal punishment remains to be paid, either in this world or in the other, in purgatory, before access can be opened to the kingdom of heaven, let him be condemned.”
Actually, Jesus did pay the entire price for our sins. He declared this on the cross in Good Friday: “It is finished.” (John 19:30)
Since purgatory (which is, again, fictional) is always unpleasant, a sort of mini-hell for the semi-saved (an impossible state), authors who believe in it have determined a number of ways to avoid it. Some of them are as follows (my comments are in the parentheses):
1. Holy Baptism followed by immediate death; (good luck with the timing)
2. Martyrdom; (not the way most of us want to leave this world)
3. Indulgences; (pay your way out; yes, these are still around, even in 2021)
4. Becoming a nun or a priest (not a career choice that appeals to many; it doesn’t even guarantee a ticket out of purgatory)
How grateful we can be for God’s grace! This weekend, come celebrate the Lutheran Reformation with us or at your nearest confessional Lutheran church. Not only will you be reminded of how to avoid purgatory, you’ll be reminded that it doesn’t even exist!
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8,9)
Saved by grace alone,
Pastor Stephen Luchterhand