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Purgatory is the (primarily Roman Catholic) belief that all those who die having sinned in small matters, and needing purification for those sins, go through a purification and punishment during judgment. It is based on the idea that no unclean soul can enter into Heaven (cf. Revelation 21:27, Hebrews 12:14), but most people (being sinners) die with unclean souls (which is why Scripture says that we are brought to completion only "until the day of Jesus Christ"; Phil. 1:6 KJV). Most Protestants object to this belief on the basis of it not being explicit in the Bible. Passages which allegedly support it are often interpreted differently. Many claim that it seems based on the idea that one can enter heaven by being a good person (contrast Romans 3:23), showing that this disagreement exemplifies the heart of disagreements between Catholics and Protestants: the issue of our justification. Most Catholics put this belief into practice by prayer for those faithful departed, so that God may have mercy during the judgment (cf. Timothy 1:16-18) and they may enter heaven faster.
Supporting Passages Edit
Ecclesiastes 12:14 KJV - For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
- This passage shows the comprehensive nature of judgment. It seems to imply that, even if we are going to Heaven, some sins will nonetheless need accounting for.
Isaiah 4:3-4 KJV - he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even everyone that is written among the living in Jerusalem: When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment and, by the spirit of burning.
Micah 7:9 KJV - I will bear the indignation of the LORD / because I have sinned against him, / until he plead my cause / and execute judgment for me. / He will bring me forth to the light; / I shall behold his righteousness.
- In this passage, Micah seems to say that, even though he will be saved, he will still be punished during his judgment for his sins.
Malachi 3:2-3 KJV - who may abide the day of his [God's] coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
1st Cor. 3:11-15 KJV - For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 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. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
- This passage shows that those who are saved (who have built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ) will all be saved, but will, on Judgment day, "suffer loss" for deeds they have done which must be burned (i.e. sins) and receive rewards for deeds that follow them into Heaven (i.e. godly service).
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