A Teaching on Purgatory - A Slightly Different Presentation from Purgatory I
Since I am usually sharing Catholic teaching with non Catholics. I do not use the traditional verses from the bible that the Catholic Church would use. That being: 2 Maccabees 12:43-46 & 1 Corinthians 3:15. 2 Maccabees 12:43 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. In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view; 44 for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death. 45 But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. 46 Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin.
Which although, this verse clearly refers to the fact that after some one dies in God's Grace, as verse 45 states, 'to rest in godliness', most Evangelicals who accept the Bible alone or Sola Scriptura, will not accept the verse because they consider The Book of Maccabees, Apocryphal. Meaning they question the authenticity of this book as to whether it should be considered part of the Canon of Scripture. That is, whether Maccabees is a true book of the Bible. For more on the 72 Books of the Bible....
The other traditional Catholic verse showing Purgatory is: 1 Corinthians 3:15 "If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire." [RSV] A similar idea holds here. Although all Christians consider St. Paul's Letters to The Corinthians as part of the Bible, they will not accept the Catholic and traditional meaning. Believe me, in sharing with the average Bible Christian they can not see the traditional interpretation of this verse, it is too vague for them. The Traditional meaning is: The idea that Christ will someday judge the work of the Christian to determine its value, and that some Christians will suffer for their bad works done on earth but still be saved by fire. Consequently, since "bad works" are sins, as Catholic [& biblical] theology teaches, then indeed Christians will be judged for their sins and recompensed accordingly. Some will be "destroyed," some will "be saved by fire," and others will receive their heavenly reward immediately. (Sungenis) --- What I like to do instead, is to share 5 verses from the Bible. The first two are on Mortal & Venial Sin. The second two are on the fact that nothing 'unclean' can enter heaven. I do this for two reasons. One, that I prove the existence and need for a place such as Purgatory from the Bible, using verses every Christian will accept. Second, that I disprove their teaching on Sola Fide or Saved by Faith Alone in the process.
1) The Letter of James 1:13-15 James 1:13 No one experiencing temptation should say, "I am being tempted by God"; for God is not subject to temptation to evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 Rather, each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire conceives and brings forth sin, and when sin reaches maturity it gives birth to death.
I repeat: 15 "Then desire conceives and brings forth sin,". So, first we are 'tempted' by our own desire, which is not sin. Then desire when it is 'given into' or 'conceives' brings forth sin. This is the first stage of sin, which we call Venial because it injures our relationship with God. It is an 'injury' in our relationship with God, not a 'complete disruption'. Not that this should be taken lightly, but that you may see there are two 'levels' to sin. This is the first and it is not 'deadly'. "and when sin reaches maturity it gives birth to death." Then if we continue in the sin without repentance, the sin becomes a deadly sin.
The entire reason that the Bible was written was for our Salvation. So, that mankind could speaks of the death of our Soul.
2) 1 John 5:16-17 1 John 5:16 If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly, he should pray to God and he will give him life. This is only for those whose sin is not deadly. There is such a thing as deadly sin, about which I do not say that you should pray. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not deadly.
"but there is sin that is not deadly." There we have proof positive that once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior we can loose that Salvation through our own choice. However, the point that I want to make is that there are both 'deadly' and 'non-deadly' sins.
3) Revelation 21:27 Revelation 21:27 but nothing unclean will enter it, nor any (one) who does abominable things or tells lies. Only those will enter whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.
St. John The Apostle, tells his readers of The New Jerusalem, which is Heaven. He states that; "nothing unclean will enter it". In order for anyone to enter Heaven they must be pure and Holy.
4) Hebrews 12:14 Hebrews 12:14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for that holiness without which no one will see the Lord. Strive for... holiness without which no one will see the Lord. Again we see that in order to get into Heaven one must be Holy.
5) Isaiah 35:8-9 "A highway will be there, called the holy way; No one unclean may pass over it" "It is for those with a journey to make, and on it the redeemed will walk." (I put the previous verses in as an afterthought because there are some who would say that the Old Testament doesn't count because it was a 'different dispensation'. I have said it before and I will say it again that The Catholic Church is a FULL BIBLE CHURCH we do not 'pick and choose' which verses we will accept and which we will reject.) for more on this subject...
Now to the 'bottom line'. If we die in a 'deadly' sin we loose our Salvation. If we die in a sin that is not deadly, then what happens? According to the Bible we can not go to Heaven, because it is clearly stated that nothing 'unclean' can enter it. So, we need to be made 'perfect' or Holy. This may not be a 'place' in our sense of the word, but somehow we must be made perfect. Whether you call this 'Purgatory' or the long tunnel that leads to the light. We must, according, not only to the Bible but, also Catholic Theology, which never differs from the Bible, we must be purged of our sins before we can enter Heaven.