But what about purgatory? Some who have been deeply influenced by this teaching of the Catholic church, may be holding on to an image where our soul descends to the lower parts of… (earth?) or Hades… to be in torment until the sin has been destroyed in us. One of the many problems with this theory is it is NOWHERE taught in Scripture. Let me say again, IT IS NOT IN THE BIBLE! God has revealed this NOWHERE. This is the invention of man who still believes that somehow, salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone isn’t redemption enough. Or that we can and must atone for our own sins; merit our own righteousness.
It is a theology that sits well with the flesh since somehow in going to purgatory, we can take credit for accomplishing our own salvation. But it is offensive to everything the Bible teaches about the Gospel. We do not save, purify or in any way cleanse ourselves of sin. Only the blood of Jesus can do that. All we can do is repent… and believe.
Our soul is safe in the hands of our Savior at death. He has promised in His Word that “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” If that is so, it would mean that He would actually have to descend into purgatory WITH us so that His Word would be true! How unthinkable. How impossible. How little we think of our Savior’s sacrifice in enduring all of God’s wrath on the cross and drinking the full cup. How wrong this doctrine is that has tormented so many souls in the hour of their own passing.
We need to hook our hope in Heaven. A heavenly outlook, “setting our minds on things above, not on things of the earth” (Colossians 3:2) has a way of drawing us upward in our living. It gives us freedom to know that our eternal life and destination is secure… a wonderful place… a hopeful and enduring land… and to live boldly here and now so that others may join us around God’s throne.
FOR MEMORIZATION: “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you I will come back and take you to be with me that you be also be where I am.” John 14:3
FOR REFLECTION: How can you “hook your hope in Heaven” more securely today? What do you need to focus on through the day that you might be more “heavenly minded?”