It says in the Bible that there only 2 roads. Either you are saved and are on the narrow path going to heaven, or you are on the road heading to hell. So why do Catholics believe in purgatory?
Matthew 7:13-14 says, “13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Notice that it does not say that “few find it, at first; and then many, eventually.” It says, “wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.” These verses do not teach a “temporary” destruction, but a “permanent” destruction. There are two roads from which to choose in life. That choice is an eternal one, and must be made while a person is still alive.
The Catholic doctrine of purgatory is not based upon the Bible, but upon the teachings of the Apocrypha. The Apocrypha is defined as, “writings or statements of dubious authenticity; books included in the Septuagint and Vulgate but excluded from the Jewish and Protestant canons of the Old Testament”(Webster’s 11th Collegiate Dictionary). So the Apocrypha is made up of religious writings that are not Scripture, but are included in the Catholic bible. As is noted in Webster’s Dictionary, the Jews and the Christians have rejected those books and have not included them in the canon of Scripture.
The Catholics define purgatory: “(Latin, “purgare”, to make clean, to purify) …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.”(http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12575a.htm)
Here we find that they are not teaching what the Bible clearly teaches, that the Lord Jesus Christ, and His shed blood, is the total satisfaction for our sin. 1 John 2:1-2 says, “1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the PROPITIATION FOR OUR SINS: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
The above verses tell us that the Lord Jesus Christ is the propitiation or satisfaction for our sins, meeting the requirements of the Almighty and absolutely holy God. 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 says, “20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For HE HATH MADE HIM TO BE SIN FOR US, who knew no sin; THAT WE MIGHT BE MADE THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN HIM.” Those verses are clear that we are made the righteousness of God (declared to be holy) through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ becoming sin for us.
1 Peter 2:21-24 says, “21 For even hereunto were ye called: because CHRIST ALSO SUFFERED FOR US, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 WHO DID NO SIN, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24 WHO HIS OWN SELF BARE OUR SINS IN HIS OWN BODY ON THE TREE, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”
Catholic doctrine teaches to the contrary of those clear verses, and says Jesus and His sacrifice are not enough to meet the full demand of sin’s punishment, and that purgatory is necessary for a person to complete that on his own: “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.”(http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12575a.htm). Do you see how that Catholic doctrine clearly teaches that man is responsible to complete the payment for his own sins? That is a works salvation (which is a false salvation). Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that NOT OF YOURSELVES: IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD: 9 NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.” Titus 3:4-6 says, “4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 NOT BY WORKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH WE HAVE DONE, BUT ACCORDING TO HIS MERCY HE SAVED US, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR SAVIOUR.”
The Catholic’s belief in purgatory is necessary because of their belief in prayers for the dead. If it is necessary to pray for the dead, then they must be suffering in some way, and still in eternal danger. If the dead are safely in God’s hands in heaven, then why would you need to pray for them?
They get the teaching of prayers for the dead from the Apocrypha — not from the Bible. One of the Apocryphal books is 2 Maccabees, and it says in 12:43-46, “43. And making a gathering, he sent twelve thousand drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice TO BE OFFERED FOR THE SINS OF THE DEAD, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection. 44. (For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to PRAY FOR THE DEAD), 45. And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them. 46. IT IS THEREFORE A HOLY AND WHOLESOME THOUGHT TO PRAY FOR THE DEAD, THAT THEY MAY BE LOOSED FROM SINS.”(http://www.newadvent.org/bible/2ma012.htm#43).
This very clearly shows that Catholics do not believe that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is enough to satisfy the demands and payment for sin. They believe that man himself must satisfy part of the payment for his sins through suffering after death. That is a works salvation, which makes it a totally false salvation. The Catholic church is thus teaching a false gospel. Galatians 1:6-9 says, “6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” How can so many religious leaders call the Pope a “great man,” when he is leading millions of people astray through a false gospel of works?
The word gospel means, “good news.” But they are going to realize that their gospel is not good news at all, when they die and find out that no amount of good works can save a person. It is either a total trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and his sacrifice on the cross, or it is an eternity in the lake of fire suffering eternal punishment.
Many in the Charismatic Movement are going to find out the same thing — only too late. Matthew 7:22-23 says, “22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Notice that these people do not stand before the Lord pleading the precious blood of Jesus Christ as their only hope of salvation. They stand before Him pleading their OWN WORKS as the basis for entering heaven. “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” They stand there telling God WHAT THEY HAVE DONE FOR HIM.
It is not what we have done for God that saves us — that would clearly be a works salvation (thus, a false salvation). What saves us is what God did for us through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross. Romans 5:6-11 says, “6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS, CHRIST DIED FOR US. 9 Much more then, BEING NOW JUSTIFIED BY HIS BLOOD, WE SHALL BE SAVED FROM WRATH THROUGH HIM. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were RECONCILED TO GOD BY THE DEATH OF HIS SON, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”
One text in the New Testament is used by the Catholic church to try and teach purgatory. The passage is actually talking about the Judgment Seat of Christ — not purgatory. 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 says, “11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” The Catholics write, “While this passage presents considerable difficulty, it is regarded by many of the Fathers and theologians as evidence for the existence of an intermediate state in which the dross of lighter transgressions will be burnt away, and the soul thus purified will be saved.”(http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12575a.htm).
Please notice that the Catholic church admits, “this passage presents considerable difficulty” to them and their false doctrine. The reason is that the passage clearly teaches that it is not the Christian who faces the fire, but his works that face it. “Every man’s WORK shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because IT SHALL BE REVEALED BY FIRE; and THE FIRE SHALL TRY EVERY MAN’S WORK of what sort it is.” This has nothing to do with the Christian suffering, but with the works that he has done upon earth. Those works go through the fire to see what sort of works they were.
Were they done selfishly? It is possible to speak before others about the Lord (which is good), but to do it for the limelight and self-glory (that is bad). 1 Corinthians 13:1 says, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” It is also possible to do great sacrifice — but all for self-glory, and not really for those in need. 1 Corinthians 13:3 says, “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” This is why all of the works of Christians will face the fire.
Some Christians will end up with no rewards in the end. 1 Corinthians 3:15 says, “If any man’s WORK SHALL BE BURNED, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” Notice, once again, that it is not the Christian who is suffering in the flames — IT IS HIS WORKS THAT ARE FACING THE FLAMES. And what if all of his works are burnt up at the Judgment Seat of Christ? Does it say that he shall then suffer in the flames himself? No. He shall suffer the loss of rewards, but he shall be saved.
Remember what the Lord told the dying repentant thief on the cross? Luke 23:39-43 says, “39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. 40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. 42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, TO DAY SHALT THOU BE WITH ME IN PARADISE.”
The dying thief had no way to pay for any of his crimes at that point — he was being put to death for his crimes. But Jesus told him that he would be with Him THAT DAY in PARADISE. Where is paradise? 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 says, “2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one CAUGHT UP TO THE THIRD HEAVEN. 3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) 4 How that he was CAUGHT UP INTO PARADISE, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” This passage tells us that paradise is the third heaven. The dying repentant thief would be in paradise, the third heaven, that very day — not in some purgatory suffering.
There is no such place as purgatory. It is but another doctrine of devils. It gives mankind the false hope that he can still make things right with God after death. But such is not the case. The deceiver is simply at his old work again. Sadly, many will hold onto the thought that they can still redeem themselves by suffering after death, instead of placing their total faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.