Eternity, Judgment, Heaven and Hell

Purgatory

That word does not occur in the scriptures, but suggests the idea of a place of purgation or purification. Webster defines it as follows:

  "An intermediate state after death for expiatory purification. The Roman Catholic Church teaches, as defined in the councils of Florence and Trent, that purgatory is a place or state of punishment wherein the souls of those who die in God’s grace may expiate venial sins, or satisfy divine justice for temporal punishment still due remitted mortal sins."

  That is confirmed by James Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore, in his Question Box (1929 Edition), pages 393-94, in the following paragraph:

  "The Catholic Church has defined the existence of Purgatory in the Decree of Union drawn up at the Council of Florence in 1439, and again in the Council of Trent (Sess. xxv.) which says: ‘The Catholic Church instructed by the Holy Ghost, has from Sacred Scriptures and the ancient traditions of the Fathers, taught in Sacred Councils, and very recently in the Ecumenical Synod (Sess. Vi.,can.30; Sess. xxii., chs.2,3), that there is a Purgatory, and that the souls therein detained are helped by suffrages of the faithful, but principally by the office of the alter."

  "The same Council taught (Sess. xiv., can. 12), in accordance with the Scriptures (Num. xx. 12; 2 Kings xii, 13, 14) that God does not always remit all the temporal punishment due to forgiven sin. The Scriptures teach that nothing defiled can enter heaven (Wisd. Vii. 25; Isa. xxv. 8; Hab. I. 13; Apoc. xxi. 7), and that Christians often die with venial sins upon their souls. All, therefore, who die in venial sins, or with temporal punishment of their sins still unpaid must atone for them in Purgatory."

  OBSERVATION: But such does not accord with the statements of scripture that (a) "the blood of Jesus his son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7) and that (b) we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, "that each one may receive [for] the things done in the body, according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad" (2 Corinthians 5:10).