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Essays for Lent: Purgatory ^ | 2001 | Sebastian R. Fama

Posted on 03/21/2012 9:12:31 PM PDT by Salvation



by Sebastian R. Fama

In 1 John 5:17, we see that there are different degrees of sin: "All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not deadly." The Greek word used for deadly, Thanatos (θάνατος), signifies spiritual death as a consequence of sin what we would call eternal damnation. The book of Revelation tells us that nothing unclean shall enter heaven (21:27). What would happen if we did not repent of a sin that was "not deadly" and we died? We are neither damned nor forgiven yet we must be forgiven to enter heaven.

Temporal punishment, which is one aspect of divine justice, is found in at least two places in the Old Testament. Once, when Moses and Aaron are not allowed to enter the Promised Land because of their sin, (Numbers 20:12) and again when David is found guilty of murder and adultery. Although they all repented and were forgiven, God still punished them (2 Samuel 12:13-14). Purgatory is a place where satisfaction is made for unrepented venial (not deadly) sins and for temporal punishment due for all past sins.

In Matthew 12:32 Jesus says, "And whoever speaks a word against the Son of man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come." Why does Jesus talk about forgiveness after death?

Jesus speaks of purgatory in Matthew 18:23-35. While speaking on forgiveness He says: "The kingdom of heaven may be likened to..." and then He tells a story about a king who forgave a servant's large debt. That same servant refused to forgive a much smaller amount of a fellow servant. The king then threw the first servant into prison "until he should pay back the whole debt." Jesus then says, "So will my Heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart." What prison is there in the kingdom of heaven where you might remain until your debt is satisfied purgatory maybe?

Paul also spoke of purgatory in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15. He says in part, "The work of each will come to light, for the day will disclose it. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire [itself] will test the quality of each one's work. If the work stands that someone built upon the foundation, that person will receive a wage. But if someone’s work is burned up, that one will suffer loss, the person will be saved, but only as through fire."

Those detained in Purgatory can be aided by the prayers of the faithful. Inscriptions in the catacombs bear witness to this ancient Church teaching. One reads, "Intercession has been made for the soul of the dear one departed and God has heard the prayer, and the soul has passed into a place of light and refreshment." Another one reads, "In your prayers remember us who have gone before you."

Support is also found in the writings of Tertullian (200AD), who declares that prayers for the dead are an apostolic ordinance. Clement of Alexandria (150-216 AD) writes about a place after death where "expiation and purification" occur before heaven is attained. Other Church Fathers agree, such as Origen (185-254 AD), Cyprian (200-258 AD), Jerome (342-420 AD), Ambrose (340-397 AD), Augustine (354-430 AD), and many others.

The tradition of the Jews is found in 2 Maccabees 12:42-46: "Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out...He then took up a collection among all his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice…if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death…Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin."

The Jewish historian Josephus, while commenting on the endurance of the Jews under siege in the year 63, writes, "Just as if deep peace enfolded the city, the daily sacrifices, offerings for the dead, and every other act of worship were meticulously carried out to the glory of God" (The Jewish War). If this is wrong, as some contend, and it was practiced in Jesus' day, why didn't He or the Apostles condemn it?

Copyright © 2001 

TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History; Theology
KEYWORDS: catholic; lastfourthings

For Further Study

The Early Church Fathers on Purgatory  (Free)
Books -
Purgatory by Rev. Frederick William Faber and The Biblical Basis of Purgatory by John Salza
CD - God's Perfect Plan- Purgatory And Indulgences Explained by Tim Staples

1 posted on 03/21/2012 9:12:45 PM PDT by Salvation
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To: All
Essays for Lent: Purgatory
Of saints, sinners, and purgatorial souls [Catholic Caucus]

First Things - Purgatory for Everyone
What the Church means by Purgatory
Radio Replies Second Volume - Purgatory
Purgatory Exists. And It Burns
The Month of November: Thoughts on the "Last Things"
To Trace All Souls Day (Protestants vs Catholics)
Radio Replies First Volume - Purgatory
The Doctrine of Purgatory [Ecumenical]
The Heroic Act [Catholic-Orthodox Caucus] (Offering everything for the Souls in Purgatory)

Praying for the Dead [All Souls Day] (Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)
Purgatory: Service Shop for Heaven [Ecumernical]
Beginning Catholic: Catholic Purgatory: What Does It Mean? [Ecumenical]
Explaining Purgatory from a New Testament Perspective [Ecumenical]
A Brief Catechism for Adults - Lesson 12: Purgatory

The Doctrine of Purgatory
The Early Church Fathers on Purgatory - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
Required for entrance to Purgatory? Personal question for Cathloic Freepers.
(Protestant) Minister Who Had Near-Death Episode Believes In Purgatory
Straight Answers: What Is Purgatory Like?
Do Catholics Believe in Purgatory?
Purgatory, Indulgences, and the Work of Jesus Christ (Discussion)
Prayer to Release the Souls of Purgatory
The Forgotten Souls in Purgatory
Praying for the dead [Purgatory]

2 posted on 03/21/2012 9:15:09 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Essays for Lent: Purgatory
Essays for Lent: Confession
Essays for Lent: The Eucharist
Essays for Lent: The Mass
Essays for Lent: Baptism

Essays for Lent: Justification
Essays for Lent: Tradition
Essays for Lent: Scripture Alone
Essays for Lent: The Canon of Scripture
Essays for Lent: Papal Infallibility
Essays for Lent: The Pope
Essays for Lent: The Church
Essays for Lent: The Bible
Essays for Lent: The Trinity
Essays for Lent: Creationism or Evolution?

3 posted on 03/21/2012 9:17:01 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: nickcarraway; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ArrogantBustard; Catholicguy; RobbyS; marshmallow; ...

Catholic Ping!

4 posted on 03/21/2012 9:21:04 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

All sin is deadly and separates us from God. There may be different levels of consequence temporally but all sin eternally condemns us.

Why? You break one part of the law, you have broken all of the law. Thus saith the Lord.

The first sin that cast all of mankind into sin and turned all of creation into a fallen world was because two people disobeyed “Don’t eat this one thing.” Not very demanding or particularly wicked, many of us have disobeyed parents and eaten a sweet or snack when we were told we could not have one. The consequences are not on par with what a murderer receives, yet for our first parents it broke God’s perfect creation and separated them spiritually from God, with no power of their own to make things right.

All sin is telling God, explicitly or indirectly, “NO, I will do what I want, not you, God!” And therefore all sins, no matter how small, while not equal in scope, or intent, or consequences, are deadly because breaking any infinite law of God requires an infinite penalty be paid. All sin is rebellion against God, at its core. Which is why we believe Christ’s atoning sacrifice paid for all our sins completely.

5 posted on 03/21/2012 10:19:43 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: Salvation

Also to point out the Lord says “The wages of sin is death” - spiritual and temporal. Not “The wages of SOME sins is death, the others just require you spending some time in purgatory.”

6 posted on 03/21/2012 10:22:10 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: Salvation
It's nice to be a Catholic and have the assurance of purgatory. Non-Catholics have a plethora of different Scripture interpretation, personal du jour interpretation allowed. Scary.
7 posted on 03/22/2012 5:12:52 AM PDT by cloudmountain
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To: Secret Agent Man

Of course, God Knows the time of our sin, what the sin is going to be, and the consequences of the sin, beforehand. Right?

8 posted on 03/22/2012 5:47:23 AM PDT by stuartcr ("In this election year of 12, how deep into their closets will we delve?")
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To: Salvation

Whatever happened to “It is finished”?

9 posted on 03/22/2012 5:42:33 PM PDT by Fred Hayek (FUBO, the No Talent Pop Star pResident.)
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