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Purgatory, Advanced

 

 

Although there is quite a bit of information about the origin and purpose of a Purgatory in the Catholic Encyclopedia, there is relatively little corresponding information about an afterlife place of temporary suffering in Rome's Catechism. Here's its statements in total; with paragraph numbers.
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III. THE FINAL PURIFICATION, viz: PURGATORY

CCC.1030 . .All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

CCC.1031 . .The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:

As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.

CCC.1032 . .This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: "Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin."

From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God. The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead:

Let us help and commemorate them. If Job's sons were purified by their father's sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them.
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Essentially; Rome's purgatory, (Latin purgare: to make clean, to purify) is a place, or condition, of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God's grace, are not entirely free from venial faults and/or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions.

From my discussions over the years with numbers of professing Catholics, it is clear to me that there is lacking a consensus among them as to the true purpose of a Purgatory. From that, I feel The Church is justified in discouraging private interpretation of the Scriptures; because if the rank and file cannot even correctly interpret the Catechism, then it is self-evident that they certainly can't be trusted to correctly interpret the Holy Bible either.

Personal suffering for one's sins in a Purgatory isn't only for the purpose of settling one's debts to God's law, but a portion of it is for teaching the offender a lesson, e.g. David (2Sam 11:1-12:14) where he was fully absolved of the heinous sins of premeditated adultery and murder, but still had to go to the wood shed for what he did. Absolution and punishment may seem strange bed fellows; but not so when you regard one as related to criminal justice, and the other as related to discipline; which Webster's defines as: training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character.

[In my opinion, the death of David's child was unfair. What did that little guy do to deserve an early death? Nothing. In my opinion, the child's death was misdirected. It was David who should have died, not an innocent little baby who was years away from the age of reason and accountability. The Lord accused David of doing something that caused His enemies to disrespect God; yet The Lord himself did something that seems to me impossible to justify.]

Incidentally, Moses' Law permits neither pardon nor atonement for David's sins: the violator must die, no exceptions (Num 35:31-34, Ex 21:14, Lev 20:10). The pardon God granted David was actually illegal under the terms and conditions of the old covenant. So then, how did God do it without breaking His own law? Easy. God simply nailed David's sins up on the cross (Rom 3:24-26). Where the first covenant offers no forgiveness whatsoever for certain kinds of crimes against Man and God, the cross offers forgiveness for them all (Acts 13:38-39).

There is a legal complication regarding the cross. Bible law does not have ex post facto jurisdiction (Gal 3:17). So then, how was the cross of any use to David since it came along many years after David's sins? Easy. The cross was pre-designated for the absolution of sins many centuries prior to the old covenant: actually before the world was even created.

Rom 3:25-26 . .God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate His justice, because in His forbearance He had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— He did it to demonstrate His justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

Rom 16:25-26 . .Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith

2Tim 1:8-11 . .God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life— not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus

1Pet 1:18-20 . .For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.

Rev 13:8 . .And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Discipline                         

As the Catechism readily points out in CCC.1031, a Purgatory isn't necessarily for the purpose of criminal justice.

The Bible's hell is different than a Purgatory in that Hell is a penal colony; while a Purgatory would be somewhat akin to a finishing school. If you, as a parent, are punishing your children solely on the basis of criminal justice, then you are missing the point of parenting and have created a living Hell in your own home. No, the purpose of punishing children is not merely to make them pay for what they've done; but mostly to modify their behavior and mold them into better citizens; which is exactly the goal God strives to accomplish in causing His own to suffer.

Rom 5:3-5 . .We rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Heb 12:5-7 . . My child, don't ignore it when the Lord disciplines you, and don't be discouraged when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes those he accepts as his children. As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Whoever heard of a child who was never disciplined?

Jas 1:2-4 . . Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.

Discipline— a.k.a. child training —isn't specifically just to correct disorderly conduct, but also to develop new behaviors. When I was a young man in the US Army, the major portion of the suffering I endured in training wasn't because I was a bad boy, but because it was part and parcel of learning how to soldier. The marching, the drilling, the maneuvers, the weapons, obeying orders, showing up on time, cleaning and maintaining my clothing and equipment, keeping my boots polished: those were things I learned under the supervision of military bullies and adverse conditions.

Making a soldier is much harder to accomplish than making a Boy Scout. If the Army had been sweet and kind to me, I never would have been useful in combat. And when we stood in the door of a Hercules C-130 with our parachutes at 1,200 feet altitude, and the jump master yelled GO! we went on reflex because the Army's abusive training methods conditioned us to go on command; no delay, and no questions asked. Even the sinless Son Of God himself was disciplined through the things he suffered.

Heb 5:8 . .Though he were a son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered

That passage is a big help in interpreting at least a portion of Rome's concept of a Purgatory.

CCC.1030 . . All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

I've no doubt that the word "purification" misleads plenty of Catholics in their interpretation of CCC.1030. But the remainder of the sentence clarifies the intent of its authors, and exactly mirrors Heb 12:4-14, which is, that purgatorial abuse is primarily for the purpose of refinement, so that whosoever dies in God's grace and friendship may "achieve the holiness" necessary to enter the joy of Heaven.

Pro 29:15 . .The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

So then, discipline is a normal, rational, and essential activity in parenting in order to nurture children towards responsible adulthood. When a Purgatory is viewed from that aspect, then a Purgatory makes perfect sense; and it’s easy to understand why the councils of Florence and Trent felt entirely justified in their belief in a sort of afterlife finishing school; which can be defined as a place that prepares young debutantes for inclusion in a higher strata of culture and society than that of the one to which they are accustomed with their peers; which every professing Catholic, from the Pope on down to the lowliest pew warmer, has to expect to undergo for at least a while, depending upon how far removed from the "necessary holiness" they might be upon arrival.

Leo X                      

One of the Church's earliest official proclamations regarding a Purgatory was Pope Leo X's Bull of Exurge Domine. In the year 1520 he stated, along with some other things, that death is the termination not of nature but of sin, and this inability to sin makes [purgatorial souls] secure of final happiness; viz: according to Leo X, the occupants of a Purgatory are unable to sin; subsequently, they are sinless and will not commit new sins while undergoing purgatorial discipline and purification.

It wasn't till Vatican 1, held 1869-1870AD, that a Church Council decreed the infallibility of the Pope when, speaking as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church. Vatican 1's decree was enacted 350 years after Leo X's Bull.

The laws of God enacted ex post facto are not retroactive. This is easily proven by Deut 5:2-4, Rom 4:15, Rom 5:13, and Gal 3:17.

Therefore it would be presumptuous to accept Leo's Bull as ex cathedra; viz: it should not be accepted by conscientious Catholics as the God's truth; especially in light of the historical fact that Leo X's personal life, and also his deplorable dealings in an official capacity, almost single-handedly totally destroyed people's confidence in the papacy. Men like Leo X are not above fabricating "truth" right out of thin air as a means to their own ends.

Sigismondo Tizio, whose devotion to the Holy See is undoubted, wrote truthfully: "In the general opinion it was injurious to the Church that her Head should delight in plays, music, the chase and nonsense, instead of paying serious attention to the needs of his flock and mourning over their misfortunes."

Von Reumont said; "Leo X is in great measure to blame for the fact that faith in the integrity and merit of the papacy, in its moral and regenerating powers, and even in its good intentions, should have sunk so low that men could declare extinct the old true spirit of the Church."

Regarding the concept of a zero-propensity to sin in a Purgatory: none of the Church's Ecumenical Councils— beginning with Nicaea 1 in 325AD till Vatican 2 in 1962-65AD, a total of twenty-one Ecumenical Councils in all —have taken in hand to write Leo's concept into the Catechism; yet it isn't uncommon for professing Catholics to refer to Leo's Bull as the teachings of the Church. I have a hunch there will come a day when the concept of sinless purgatorians will be stricken from Catholicism just as Limbo already has.

However, I'm sure you can see right off just how essential it would be for souls in a Purgatory to be incapable of sinning, because if they weren't, then Rome’s promise in CCC.1030, of an assured eternal salvation for purgatorians, would be a tenuous guarantee indeed since each new sin committed while interred in a Purgatory would add time to the penitent’s original sentence; with the very real possibility of potentially snow-balling to the point where they would never be released.

Sins In The Afterlife                         

If Pope Leo X's Bull of Exurge Domine is correct as regards the absence of sin in Purgatory then I would have to conclude that Purgatory is a very peaceful place seeing as how everyone in residence there would be complying with the Sermon On The Mount and all the beatitudes.

One of the things that I would really appreciate in Leo's Purgatory is civility. I've participated on better than thirty Christian internet forums beginning in 1997, and one of the things I've noticed is that too many people wearing the Christian label have forgotten all about turning the other cheek. Oh m' gosh you wouldn't believe how ugly, spiteful, and vindictive Christians can be when they put their minds to it!

In Leo's Purgatory; there's no cruelty of any kind; for example malicious gossip, demeaning comments, thoughtless remarks, name-calling, toxic rejoinders, discourtesy, chafing, quarrelling, bickering, mockery, relentless ridicule,

. . . fault-finding, nit picking, spite, rivalry, carping, bullying, heckling, intimidation, wiseacre retorts, needling, taunting, biting sarcasm, petty ill will, yelling, ugly insinuations, cold-shouldering, calculated insults, snobbery, elitism, arrogance, subterfuge, antisocial behaviors, sociopaths, crime, war, despotism, oppression, injustice, human rights abuses, character assassination, etc, etc, et al, and ad nauseam.

If Leo is correct. then we can expect that all the Christian virtues, every one of them, are being exemplified 24/7/365 in Purgatory.

Gal 5:22-23 . .The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

However, if Leo's Bull is full of bull, then I think we can reasonably expect Purgatory's social environment to be little different than what we're accustomed.

According to Leo X's Bull of Exerge Domine, the occupants of a Purgatory are unable to sin; subsequently, they are sinless and will not commit new sins while undergoing purgatorial discipline and purification.

It seems to me that in order for Leo X's Bull to be true, it would be necessary for Purgatorial candidates to first undergo the supernatural birth spoken of in John 1:12-13 and John 3:3-8.

1John 3:9 . . No one who is begotten by God commits sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot sin because he is begotten by God.

NOTE: An habitual sinner is a child of the devil, while a child of God, who by definition is in fellowship with God, cannot sin. The "seed" spoken of in that passage can refer to either Christ or the Spirit who shares the nature of God with the Christian. (2011 Catholic Bible)

In other words; the citizens of Leo X's version of Purgatory would not have human nature, instead they would have the divine nature spoken of by the apostle at 2Pet 1:3-4.

Allusions To A Purgatory                          

Webster's defines "posit" as: to assume or affirm the existence of; viz: postulate.

What Rome did in the councils of Florence and Trent, was to first of all posit the existence of a purgatory. This essential fact can be easily discerned in the language of paragraphs 1030, 1031, and 1032 of the Catechism. Rome had to posit because there are no clear-cut, black and white, obvious mentions of a purgatory in the Bible. They then searched high and low to find verses that suggest their posit is true.

That's what's known as the practice of doing violence to the Bible and forcing it to mean things it doesn't say in writing; which is kind like holding a conch's shell to one's ear and claiming to hear the ocean's roar. Is the ocean in the conch shell? No; it just sounds like it's in there. Though the conch shell came from the ocean; it cannot be expected to produce an ocean; for example:

2Pet 3:16 . . Some of brother Paul's comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters around to mean something quite different from what he meant: just as they do the other parts of Scripture— and the result is disaster for them.

You know; I cannot help but wonder how on earth the single largest Christian denomination in the whole world— with some of the world's best and brightest linguists and Bible scholars at its disposal —ever got to the point where its Magisterium became ignorant and unstable. It's boggling.

Anyway, after formulating it's official purgatory doctrine, it then became a Church tradition; which is, of course the best they could label it since purgatory is a formulated doctrine rather than a revealed doctrine.

CCC.1031 . .The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:

To its credit, Rome calls its purgatory doctrine a "tradition" rather than a revelation.

Traditions aren't eo ipso evil. I mean, after all, those passed down by the apostles are legitimate.

2Thss 2:13-15 . . But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.

It's important to note in CCC.1031 that Catholicism's purgatory isn't apostolic, but rather legislated by the Catholic Councils of Trent and Florence. In other words: their purgatory is proprietary. Which gives rise to the question: Is Rome's purgatory real or not? Well, I would have to say it probably isn't because I seriously doubt it's possible for Rome's councils to just up and legislate a purgatory into existence. If the Bible's God hasn't had a purgatory all along then I seriously doubt He would go to the trouble of accommodating Rome by creating one ex post facto purely for the sake of validating Council legislation.

As stated above, there are numerous passages in the Bible suggesting the possibility of a purgatory. However, passages that suggest one thing, can also be made to suggest another. Below are some examples..
 

Allusion (01)

POSIT: In 2Mcc 12:38-46 a Jewish military commander named Judas Maccabeus made an attempt to atone for his dead soldiers' pagan amulets which he believed is a crime against God for Jews to wear. So Judas passed the hat among his surviving men and collected about 2,000 silver drachmas which were sent to Jerusalem intended for a sacrifice to expiate his dead men's sin so that it wouldn't jeopardize their resurrection.

RESPONSE: Although Judas meant well; what he did was itself a violation of the very Law that he sought to appease. There are no sacrifices stipulated in the covenant that Yhvh's people agreed upon with God as per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy for expiating the unforgiven sins that people take with them over to the afterlife.

The very Law he sought to appease makes it a crime to either amend, embellish, add to, revise, edit, upgrade, update, or subtract from the covenant.

Deut 4:2 . .You shall not add anything to what I command you or take anything away from it, but keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I enjoin upon you.

Deut 5:32-33 . . Be careful, therefore, to do as the LORD, your God, has commanded you, not turning aside to the right or to the left, but following exactly the way prescribed for you by the LORD, your God,

Deut 26:16 . . This day the LORD, your God, commands you to observe these statutes and decrees. Be careful, then, to observe them with all your heart and with all your soul.

Therefore, had the priests at Jerusalem accepted Judas Maccabeus' 2,000 silver drachmas for the purpose he intended, they would have been cursed.

Deut 27:26 . . Cursed be he who fails to fulfill any of the provisions of this law!

The phrase "cursed be" is grammatically present tense; so that when Yhvh's people beak any one of the laws stipulated in the covenant, they incur an instant curse upon themselves— no delay, and no waiting period.

Bottom line: What Judas Maccabeus did was just as pagan as the amulets that his men were wearing when they died.

Q: How can you doubt the truth of 2Mcc 12:38-46? It’s in the Holy Bible!

A: Just because somebody's personal beliefs are recorded in the Bible does not make their personal beliefs eo ipso truth. Judas believed it was possible for living Jews to offer sacrifices for the unforgiven sins of deceased Jews. Is it? No; absolutely not! Were it possible, then a procedure for that purpose would be stipulated in the covenant that Yhvh's people agreed upon with God as per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

Atonements for the dead fall into the category of sins of presumption; viz: unauthorized behavior.

If 2Mcc 12:38-46 teaches anything at all it’s that the Israel of Judas Maccabeus’ day was spiritually decadent— just as decadent as it was in the days of the Judges when every man did that which was right in his own eyes rather than Yhvh's eyes; and they were still at it even in Christ's day and age.

Mark 7:6-9 . . And Jesus said to them: Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far away from me. In futility do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men. Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.

Mark 7:13 . . You invalidate the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that.
 

Allusion (02)

POSIT: CCC 1032 . . If Job's sons were purified by their father's sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation?

RESPONSE: According to the language and grammar of the Biblical record; Job offered sacrifices for his children while they were alive. There is no record of him offering sacrifices for them after they passed away.
 

Allusion (03)

POSIT: Zech 13:8-9 . . And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith The Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God.

RESPONSE: Anybody with a 6th grade level of reading comprehension can easily see that the 13th chapter of Zechariah concerns the geographical land of Israel and the Jewish people of Israel; not the whole world; nor will the surviving third be removed from off the land to be transported to an afterlife region for discipline and purification; but will remain alive and stay right where they are.

The fire spoken of in that passage is construed by some to be purgatory, but the theory doesn't wash seeing as how it's commonly understood that purgatory is located in the world of those who've passed on rather than the world of those still alive.


Allusion (04)

POSIT: Luke 12:57-59 . .Why don't you judge for yourselves what is right? As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled to him on the way, or he may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

RESPONSE: Rome asserts that Jesus' statement suggests an afterlife place of temporal punishment where you can pay for sins that were un-absolved in this life when you passed on to the next. Conceptually, lazy Catholics who go long stretches in between confessions would risk this kind of suggested afterlife.

Apparently Rome has taken upon itself to construe Luke 12:57-59 to be a matter of criminal justice rather than the tort matter that it so obviously is.

The adversary in Luke 12:57-59 isn't a criminal prosecutor because the koiné Greek word for "adversary" in that passage is antidikos (an-tid'-ee-kos) which actually means an opponent in a lawsuit and/or small claims court rather than criminal court (e.g. Luke 18:2-5). Peter used antidikos to depict the Devil (1Pet 5:8) but I have never seen that word used even one single time to either identify, label, depict, or describe the Bible's God.

Jesus' caution is just simple, practical advice, and should be kept together with another of his teachings in the Sermon On The Mount about turning the other cheek.

Matt 5:40 . . And if someone wishes to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.

Jesus began his teaching in Luke with the words "Why don't you judge for yourselves what is right?" In other words; if someone threatens to take you to court over a matter, and you know darn good and well he's in the right; don't force him to prove it. Instead, admit to your wrong and settle out of court. According to Jesus, there's no righteous reason why you and the plaintiff can't be your own judge and jury in a tort matter.

Some people would rather go to war in court than admit they're wrong about anything (e.g. Enron executives). According to the lord and master of New Testament Christianity, it’s unrighteous to fight it out in court when you know your own self that you are the one who's in the wrong. (cf. 1Cor 6:1-8)

In Jesus' day, a portion of the tort system was a workhouse colony called debtor's prison. What that amounts to is; if you lost a lawsuit, and couldn't pay, then you were kept in ward until such a time as somebody either stepped up to settle with your creditor, or you earned enough via slave labor.

Jesus advised against fighting it out in court. Obviously it was far better in his day to settle out of court and thus avoid the risk of debtor's prison.

FYI: Conceptually, Rome's interpretation of Luke 12:57-59 applies only to un-absolved venial sins since according to paragraph 1035 of the Catechism, people who leave this life with just one un-absolved mortal sin to their credit, go directly to Hell and eternal suffering— no stopover in a purgatory.
 

Allusion (05)

One of Rome's popular allusions to a purgatory is located in 1Cor 3:5-15.  There are some points in that passage that if overlooked will lead one to believe that there really is such an afterlife place as a purgatory.

1Cor 3:5-15 . .What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe. As the Lord has assigned to each his task: I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But let each man be careful how he builds upon it.

. . . For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be spared, yet so as through fire.

1• The person being evaluated is untouched by the fire. Only his works are subjected to a flaming scrutiny; not himself. That is very important to note.

2• Unacceptable works are burned up rather than burned off. Don't miss that one.

3• We're not talking about John Q and Jane Doe pew warmer here. We're talking about God's fellow workers; i.e. people in ministerial capacities e.g. apostles, missionaries, evangelists, pastors, deacons, Sunday school teachers, church administrators, home Bible study leaders, et al.

4• "any man's work" applies to God's fellow workers.

5• Within the context of the passage, "any man" in no way applies to John Q and Jane Doe pew warmer; they are identified as God's field, His building.

6• Catholics typically understand the phrase "he himself will be spared, but only as through fire" to indicate a purgatory. But according to a very good second opinion, what we're really looking at is the picture of a narrow escape. In other words: it's a depiction of people who waken inside a burning home with barely enough time to get out; taking nothing with them but whatever they wore to bed. Their home is destroyed, and all their valuables and all their mementoes; but at least the occupants themselves are safe, and suffer no harm from the fire; none whatsoever.

7• "each man should be careful how he builds" is a caution and warning that God's fellow workers need to keep in mind that their projects will be thoroughly scrutinized; and those that don't measure up will be summarily scrapped; resulting of course in reduced compensation. How sad it would be to see workers like Mother Teresa who, after devoting decades of their lives to a Christian service capacity, only to be stripped of everything and come away with nothing to show for it; not even so much as a Boy Scout merit badge. That would be a very crushing disappointment; there's no doubt in my own mind that many of God's fellow workers will undergo it.

NOTE: According to 1Cor 4:5 the motives of Christian workers will be evaluated too in order to determine whether they were in it for the Lord, or just in it for themselves.

FYI: The koiné Greek words for "purify" and "purge" are nowhere to be found in 1Cor 3:5-15; and a note in the current official Catholic Bible says: The text of 1Cor 3:15 has sometimes been used to support the notion of a purgatory, though it does not envisage this.

Non Biblical materials (foot notes) in the current official Catholic Bible (a.k.a. the 2011 New American Bible) have a nihil obstat by Reverend Richard L. Schaefer, Censor Deputatus, and an imprimatur by Most Reverend Jerome Hanus, O.S.B. Archbishop of Duguque.

Nihil Obstat is defined as: The certification by an official censor of the Roman Catholic Church that a book has been examined and found to contain nothing opposed to faith and morals

Imprimatur is defined as: Approval of a publication under circumstances of official censorship

I think it's pretty safe to conclude that Catholics who dispute the Church's nihil ostat and/or its imprimatur are declaring by their dispute that they don't trust their own religion's scholars.
 

Allusion (06)

POSIT: As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come. (CCC 1031)

RESPONSE: Rome's "we must believe" and its "we understand" are premised upon this:

Matt 12:31-32 . . I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but blasphemy against The Spirit will not be forgiven. 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.

Rome construes the Lord's statement to indicate that there are certain kinds of sins for which no forgiveness is available in our own day and age; viz; forgiveness for those particular sins is apparently put on hold till the next day and age.

So, what's wrong with that concept? Well, for one, the "age to come" has no reference to the afterlife; no, it's Christ's millennial kingdom (Rev 20:4-6) which is a 1,000 years era on the earth that precedes the final cosmos. (Isa 65:17, Isa 66:22, 2Pet 3:13, Rev 21:1)

Q: What can be safely concluded from Matt 12:31-32?

A: All sins forgivable in this day and age, will also be forgivable in Christ's millennial kingdom; and all sins unforgivable in this day and age will also be unforgivable in Christ's millennial kingdom. The age following his millennial kingdom is of course irrelevant because there will be neither sin nor sinners in the new cosmos. (2Pet 3:13)
 

Allusion (07)

POSIT: All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. (CCC 1030)

RESPONSE: For some odd reason, Rome has totally missed the purpose of confession as per 1John 1:5-10. It's not for getting one's self cleaned up for heaven. No, far from it. The purpose is fellowship-- translated from the Greek word is koinonia (koy-nohn-ee'-ah) --which means basically: partnership and/or participation and social intercourse.

In a nutshell: a profitable association with God in this life depends upon keeping one's sins confessed in a timely manner.

1John 1:3 . .What we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; for our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.

The Bible promises that when sins are confessed, the sins are are not only forgiven, but the confessee undergoes a purification process.

1John 1:9 . . If we acknowledge our sins, He is faithful, and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing.

If Rome insists upon a half-way house in the afterlife for purifying people of their unconfessed lesser faults, then surely they have to accept that it only requires confessing those faults in order obtain purification. In other words: at the very most, there would be a half-way house for confessions in the afterlife rather than a place of fire.

Q: If a half-way house of purifying fire isn't actually necessary; then how is it that Rome is so convinced that there is such a place?

A: Mostly from rationale. According to Rome's reasoning, there has to be a place of purifying fire, so they invented a doctrine to support it. The doctrine is pretty clever too; but in the end it's just sophistry and semantic double-speak.


Allusion (08)

POSIT: Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matt 5:48)

RESPONSE: Rome insists that the Lord's commandment alludes to the necessity of a purgatory. But isn't that reading something into his words instead of listening to what they have to say? Yes, it is.

The perfection Christ spoke of wasn't sinless perfection. The Lord's adverb "therefore" directed the audience's attention back to his previous statements regarding cliques, castes, class distinctions, prejudice, partiality, snobbery, favoritism, and bias.

Matt 5:43-48 . .You have heard that it was said: Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

. . . If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Seeing as how there is no favoritism with God (Rom 2:11) then it only stands to reason that there should be none among His followers.

Jas 2:1 . . My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't practice partiality.

Eph 5:1 . . So be imitators of God, as beloved children


Allusion (09)

POSIT: Heb 12:10 . . For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.

RESPONSE: Though that verse may be taken to allude to a place of afterlife purification; when taken in full context, it's easily seen that the discipline it describes pertains to the present, not later on after people are dead.

Heb 12:11-13 . . Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Therefore, lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.

Heb 12:7-8 . . Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate and not true sons.

It only stands to reason then, that a good kid doesn't need disciplining because he's self-disciplined and there's nothing in either his character or his behavior that needs correcting. The reason I pointed that out is because Leo X's Bull of Exurge Domine attests that purgatorians are not only sinless but also incapable of sin. So then, since there would be nothing in either their character or their behavior that would need correction; then the discipline aspect of a purgatory is both a non sequitur and an oxymoron.

FYI: Overly-sensitive Catholics often view any and all rebuttals of Rome's dogma as "bashing". But countering Rome's errors with scripture is not bashing; no, on the contrary: that's the dignified way to go about it.

Acts 17:10-11 . . As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
 

Allusion (10)

POSIT: For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God.

. . . Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in The Spirit; by whom he also went to preach to the spirits in prison, who had once been disobedient while God patiently waited in the days of Noah during the building of the ark, in which a few persons, eight in all, were saved through water. (1Pet 3:17-21)

RESPONSE: Peter's revelation is a pretty useful proof text for Trinitarians because it identifies Christ as the Holy Spirit prior to the Lord's birth. How so? Because in the days of Noah; Yhvh said: My Spirit will not contend with man forever (Gen 6:3). According to Peter, Christ was My Spirit; but he didn't preach in person; rather, Christ preached by inspiring Noah to preach for him.

2Pet 2:5 . . Noah; a preacher of righteousness

The Spirit of Christ not only inspired Noah; but also the other prophets too.

1Pet 1:10-12 . . Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven.

A common misconception of 1Pet 3:17-21 is that while Jesus' crucified body reposed in death for three days and nights, his spirit went to an undisclosed afterlife location and preached the gospel to fallen angels. Others insist he preached to deceased antediluvians. Well, neither theory will work because according to Rome, neither deceased men, nor fallen angels, are afforded an opportunity to repent on the other side.

CCC 393 . . There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as there is no repentance for men after death.

The sensible interpretation of 1Pet 3:17-21 is that Christ, by means of the Holy Spirit, preached to the antediluvians prior to their drowning in the Flood; during the ark's construction; rather than after the Flood when they were all dead; because "now" is the time to listen; not later.

2Cor 6:1-2 . . Working together, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says: "In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you." Behold, now is a the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

The souls of 1Pet 3:17-21 are in prison. Well . . . conceptually, Rome's purgatory isn't supposed to be a penal colony. It's more like finishing school than lock-up.

The koiné Greek word for "prison" is phulake (foo-lak-ay') which is an ambiguous word that essentially means to place under guard; which would not be necessary for a purgatorial population since according to Pope Leo X's Bull of Exurge Domine, the occupants of a purgatory are unable to sin. Bottom line is: Leo's purgatorians can be trusted to stay put on their own without a system of confinement to make sure they do.
 

Allusion (11)

POSIT: 1Cor 15:29-30 . . Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, then why are people baptized for them?

RESPONSE: Paul didn't say: "what will we do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are we baptized for them?

No; the baptizers identified in that passage as "those" and "people" were not affiliated with the apostles.

NOTE: There's no record of Christ teaching vicarious baptisms; no, quite the opposite. Baptism is something you have to do for yourself, plus; it's joined at the hip with indoctrination.

Matt 28:18-20 . . All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

In other words: Christian baptism is intended for disciples rather than non disciples. So then, even if vicarious baptisms were legit, they would be restricted to deceased believers.

Mark 16:15-16 . . He said to them: Go into all the world and preach the gospel everywhere to everybody. Whoever believes and is baptized will be spared, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

John 3:18 . . He who believes in him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
 

Allusion (12)

POSIT: In the scene depicted at Luke 16:19-31, we see that the deceased rich man is suffering but still feels compassion for his brothers and is anxious to tell them where he is so they don't join him. But there is no suffering in heaven, nor is there compassion in hell because compassion is a grace from God and those in hell are deprived of God's graces for all eternity. So where is the rich man? He is in purgatory.

RESPONSE: That's an odd statement considering that no doubt the majority of Rome's followers are counting on purgatory; even Popes want to go there; and actually expect to. In other words; if purgatory is Catholicism's back-up, then why was the rich man worried that his family would come there? Shouldn't he have been worried that they might not?

The posit quoted above alleges that the rich man must be in a purgatory because people in hell are unable to feel compassion. While it can be safely said that people destined for hell lack the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22) it cannot safely be said that they are totally insensitive. Human nature is capable of a pretty broad range of feelings all by itself sans the grace of God. True, human nature cannot love as God loves, but it can , and it does, love as humans love; and one of human nature's basic instincts is passionate concern for the safety of its own kin.

Does anyone reading this have deceased kin? Do you know for a fact where they are at present? Well, I can tell you one thing for a fact; that if your deceased kin are by chance in the wrong place, then they are enduring terrible anguish not being able to communicate that information to you.
 

Allusion (13)

POSIT: Without holiness no one will see the Lord. (Heb. 12:14). We need a final sanctification to attain true holiness before God, and this process occurs during our lives and, if not completed during our lives, in the transitional state of purgatory.

RESPONSE: That posit contradicts Pope Leo X's Bull of Exurge Domine which states, among other things, that purgatory's inhabitants are unable to sin. Obviously then; there is no need to refine their sanctification since a sinless state of perfection is about as truly holy as one needs to get.

Matt 5:8 . . Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.

But the posit utterly fails to discern the difference between who is identified as God and who is identified as the Lord.

1Cor 8:5-6 . . For though there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords) yet for us there is one God: the Father . . . and one Lord: Jesus Christ

So then, Heb 12:14 is talking about seeing Christ rather than seeing his Father. And since Rev 1:7 predicts that every eye will eventually see him, then the seeing spoken of in Heb 12:14 involves something other than visual; viz: something a bit more intimate.

Matt 11:27 . . No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son; and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.

Q: What's the secret to knowing the Son?

A: In one word: Loyalty.

John 14:21 . . Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.

John 14:23 . .Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.

John 15:14 . .You are my friends if you do what I command you.

According to Leo X's Bull of Exurge Domine; everyone in his version of purgatory is 100% loyal to Christ because they are unable to sin. Were that actually the case, then everyone in his version of purgatory would be seeing the Lord on a regular basis.
 

Allusion (14)

POSIT:  Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.” The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal." Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:39-430

An inconvenient problem associated with the Greek manuscripts is their lack of punctuation. What this means is; any, and all, punctuation you see in English translations was placed in the text arbitrarily. In other words; translators don't really know for sure if and/or where punctuation is supposed to go so they take an educated guess; which means that Luke 23:43 could be translated like this:

He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you today; you will be with me in Paradise."

Seeing as how it's easily proven by Ps 16:8-10, Matt 12:40, John 20:17, and Acts 2:25:31 that Jesus didn't go up to heaven the day of his death, then the placement of punctuation in that version is far more likely to be correct than the usual placement; which of course refutes the Protestant claim that the malefactor went straight to heaven instead of a stop-over in purgatory.

RESPONSE: That punctuation might be okay for Jehovah's Witnesses but it won't fly for John Q and jane Doe Catholic because their Church's Bibles carry seals of approval; e.g. nihil obstat, which is an attestation by Church censors that a particular work contains nothing damaging and/or contrary to faith or morals; and another is called imprimatur, which essentially approves a book for publication.

So then, John Q and Jane Doe are stuck with translations of Luke 23:43 that go like this:

And Jesus said to him, "Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with me in paradise." (CONFRATERNITY)

And Jesus said to him: Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with me in paradise. (DOUAY RHEIMS)

He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." (2011 NEW AMERICAN BIBLE)

Seeing as how it's very easily proven that Jesus went down instead of up on the day of his death, then we have to come up with a definition of paradise that suits the official Catholic versions of Luke 23:43.

Well; as it turns out, paradise is structured somewhat like the Pacific Crest Trail (a.k.a. PCT) which traverses the north/south length of three states-- California, Oregon, and Washington. No matter which of the three states you might encounter trekkers at any given moment-- whether south in Campo San Diego, or crossing the Bridge Of The Gods in Cascade Locks Oregon, or Snoqualmie Pass Washington --they're all on the very same PCT.

Paradise is sort of like that. There's a section underground (Matt 12:40, Luke 16:19-31) another in a celestial region that Paul labeled the third heaven (2Cor 12:2-4) and yet another section located up in God's neck of the woods. (Rev 2:7)
 

Allusion (15)

POSIT: When the Master comes (at the end of time), some will receive light or heavy beatings but will live (Luke 12:47-48). This state is not heaven or hell, because in heaven there are no beatings, and in hell we will no longer live with the Master.

RESPONSE: Rome's way of interpreting that passage is one way, but it's not the only way. However; before suggesting an alternative, it would be prudent to examine the entire parable in context.

Luke 12:42-48 . . Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward whom the master will put in charge of his servants to distribute [the] food allowance at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so. Truly, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property.

. . . But if that servant says to himself; "My master is delayed in coming" and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, to eat and drink and get drunk, then that servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the unfaithful.

. . .That servant who knew his master’s will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly. Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.

That parable doesn't target John Q and Jane Doe rank and file pew warmers, rather, it specifically targets people in charge. The Greek word for "steward" is oikonomos (oy-kon-om'-os) which identifies someone employed to supervise others, i.e. hierarchy.

The fate of stewards found in willful dereliction of duty is not only flogging but also "a place with the unfaithful".

The Greek word for "unfaithful" is apistos (ap'-is-tos) which identifies unbelievers. Their "place" isn't purgatory, rather, their place is described as follows:

Rev 21:8 . . But as for the unfaithful, their lot is in the burning pool of fire and sulfur, which is the second death.
 

Allusion (16)

POSIT: 1Pet 1:3-7 . . Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith, to a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the final time.

. . . In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

RESPONSE: 1Pet 1:3-7 is sometimes understood to be a reiteration of 1Cor 3:5-15, but the tests are not the same.

1Cor 3:5-15 tests the quality of one's works, while 1Pet 1:3-7 tests the quality of one's faith.

The timing is different too. 1Cor 3:5-15's testing takes place in the afterlife, while 1Pet 1:3-7's testing takes place in this life.
 

Allusion (17)

POSIT: "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (Rev 21:3-4)

Note the elimination of tears and pain only occurs at the end of time. But there is no morning or pain in heaven, and God will not wipe away their tears in hell. These are the souls experiencing purgatory.

RESPONSE: The tears, the death, the mourning, the crying, and the pain are related to the great white throne event depicted at Rev 20:11-15, which will be a public spectacle. In other words, people will have to watch as friends, family, associates, and loved ones are literally pale with terror, lips trembling, mouths too dry to speak, shrieking, sobbing, screaming, weeping, yelping, and bellowing like wounded dogs as their eyes dart about in sheer white-knuckled panic; desperately looking for someone, anyone, to help them as powerful celestial beings drag them off to death akin to a foundry worker falling into a vat of molten iron.

Paul said the greatest of all gifts is love (1Cor 13:13). But let me tell you something: Love is inconvenient. Sensitive folk cannot sit through a scene like the one described above and not be moved by it. The effect will be so overwhelming that nothing less than the power of God will suffice to get them over it.


Allusion (18)

POSIT: Heb 12:5-11 teaches that the Father's children have to undergo discipline; for example David in 2Sam 11:1-2Sam 12:14. Though God spared David's life for the mortal sins of premeditated murder and adultery, he was still taught a lesson for what he did. Had David not been disciplined for his sins in this life, he would have been taken to the woodshed for them in purgatory.

RESPONSE: That posit makes perfect sense. It's totally logical; and except for one teensy little hiccup, it would fly. The hiccup? It's an amalgam of humanistic reasoning and inspired scripture. In other words: the posit contains an element of truth, but it's not the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

That kind of reasoning is called sophistry; which Webster's defines as reasoning or arguments that sound correct but are actually false. In point of fact, one of the very reasons that Christ supplies his followers with competent teaching is to steer them clear of clever talkers skilled at making ecclesiastical fiction sound like the God's truth. (Eph 4:11-14)


The Confessees

1John 1:9a . . If we confess our sins, He is reliable, and equitable, and will forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all injustice.

When applying doctrines located in the epistles, it’s always best to first identify the author’s target audience. In this particular instance, the letter was written to an elite category of Christians rather than your usual run-of-the-mill pew warmers. The people whom John addressed were already in possession of eternal life even before his letter arrived.

1John 5:13 . . I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

It’s also always best to determine the purpose of the author’s remarks. In this instance, John is not teaching confession as a means of going to Heaven, but rather, as a means to fellowship with God.

1John 1:2-3 . .what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.

The Greek word for fellowship is koinonia (koy-nohn-ee'-ah); which means basically: partnership and/or participation and social intercourse.

Koinonia is sometimes translated communion

1Cor 10:16 . .The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

2Cor 6:14 . . Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what has righteousness to do with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness?

Webster’s defines communion as: 1) an act or instance of sharing, and 2) intimate fellowship or rapport; viz: communication

When ideologies clash, as with Judaism and Islam, fellowship breaks down, and this is exactly what confession is for: to protect, and to maintain, fellowship between the Father and His own children. God’s adoptees are not going to Hell. No, that is an impossibility.

At the Great White Throne judgment of Rev 20:11-15, the Dead are mentioned four times; while the Living are not mentioned at all. And why is that? Because Christ testified that the Living will never be condemned for their sins.

John 5:24 . . I assure you, those who heed my message, and depend upon God who sent me, have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from Death into Life.

John 10:27-28 . . My sheep heed my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish

So then, quite obviously confession serves no purpose whatsoever for rank and file Christians who lack eternal life. No, 1John 1:9 is specifically a sacred privilege reserved for the Living, rather than for the Dead.

1John 1:9b . . and cleanse us from all injustice.

Cleansing is for the purpose of service. An excellent depiction of that principle is in the Old Testament.

Before Levitical priests began their daily round of service, the very first thing they did upon reporting for duty was to wash up in a special vat of water called the Laver. (Ex 30:18-21)

Now just supposing one of the priests got a little fed up one day with all that scrubbing and refused to do it anymore. What would happen to him? Would he be excommunicated from the priesthood? No; he would keep right on being a priest because his status as a priest is intrinsic to his genetics; viz: Levites are born into it, and there's nothing anybody can do to change that. However, in an un-scrubbed condition, a Levite is forbidden to conduct the duties of a priest under penalty of death until such a time as he washes up like he's supposed to. After that, he may resume his sacred duties.

The New Testament Greek word in 1John 1:9 for cleanse is katharizo (kath-ar-id'-zo); which means: to wash. Confession then, first of all; is for the Living, and secondly; serves the very same purpose that the Laver serves for Levitical priests: it scrubs them not so they can get to Heaven— no, that issue is deprived of practical significance for people already in possession of eternal life since eternal life is a kind of life that cannot die; ergo: it’s impervious to the wages of sin.

Rom 6:23 . . For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Rather, confession is so the Living can enjoy a viable association with their Rescuer, and partnership with Him in an endeavor if they so choose.

Anyway, there is absolutely no need of a Purgatory for the Living since unconfessed sins only impact their fellowship with God in this life; not the next, especially since believers have been eternally acquitted of every one of their sins already, even the ones they never get around to confessing.

Heb 10:11 . . Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by just that one sacrifice alone he has made perfect forever those who have been set apart for God.

You see, in 1John 1:5-9, a believer's sins are family matters; where at one time they were criminal matters. I have fully satisfied the demands of God's law for its pound of flesh by means of Christ's crucifixion (John 3:14-18, Rom 6:3-11). So then, my association with God is no longer based upon sin, but rather, it's based upon my filial relationship to Jesus' Father as a child around the table in His own home.

1John 3:1-2 . . See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called God's kin; and such we are. For this reason the world does not understand us, because it did not understand Him. Beloved, we are children of God now

Where at one time my sins made me a fugitive from justice, now my sins just make me a kid running through the house with dirty feet in the home of a loving, nurturing parent who does not subject its children to burns with lit cigarettes, irons, and stove tops.

1Ths 1:10 . .Wait for His son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescued us from the wrath to come.

1Ths 5:9-10 . . For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him.

Allusion (19)

POSIT: Nothing unclean shall enter Heaven (Rev. 21:27) ergo: there is a need to purify the Lord's people in a purgatory before they can enter paradise.

RESPONSE: That particular barrier to Heaven easily explains why Jesus said that a birth from above is a must rather than an option (John 3:3-8) and also explains why Paul said that human beings, as they come from the factory in the Adamic configuration, will not inherit the kingdom of God. (1Cor 15:50)

The Spirit birth, about which Christ spoke, produces a genre of human being that, from a certain point of view, is somewhat inhuman; viz: not of this earth.

John 3:6 . . Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.

Has God's Spirit ever even once needed purification? No; of course not. Well then, someone born of Him doesn't need purification either because they are a new kind of person incapable of ever committing even one single sin in either thought, word, or deed.

1John 3:9 . .Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

Born-again Christians are complex people: they exist with a sinful, natural aspect born of Adam simultaneously with a sinless, supernatural aspect born of God’s Spirit. The trick then is to separate the natural from the supernatural and allow only the supernatural aspect born of God’s Spirit to pass on into the afterlife and discard the natural aspect born of Adam.

This process about which I’m writing, is a miraculous surgical procedure, called in the Bible, a “circumcision made without hands”

Col 2:10-12. .You have been made complete in him . . and in him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also resurrected with him through faith in the working of God, who resurrected him from the dead.

In a nutshell then: humans born of God’s Spirit, and undergone the circumcision made without hands, have no need of purification when they pass on because the aspect with which they pass on is just as totally innocent as God's firstborn son, i.e. they no longer have human nature; rather, they have the nature of God.

2Pet 1:2-4 . . Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the Divine Nature.

Human nature is humanity's greatest moral weakness. People will never be pure enough to live in close proximity with a holy God while they're stuck with it no matter how many times, nor how often, they'd be cycled through Leo X's afterlife washing machine.

Allusion (20)

POSIT: We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us (Rom. 5:3-5) ergo: suffering in Purgatory produces endurance, character, hope, and God's love.

RESPONSE: People who raise that posit are typically entirely unaware of both the purpose, and the results, of the Spirit birth about which Jesus preached in John 3:3-8.

Allusion (21)

POSIT: Strive . .for holiness without which no one will see the Lord (Heb 12:14).This implies working on holiness not only in this life, but also in the next.

RESPONSE: Same problem: ignorance of both the purpose, and the results, of the Spirit birth about which Jesus preached in John 3:3-8.


 

 

 

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Musicnot.wmf (1656 bytes) Give Thanks (I Just Want To Thank You Lord)