PURGATORY: THE "UNFINISHED WORK" OF CHRIST
By Rob Zins
As a little boy, I was always mindful of saying my prayers
before I went to sleep. I can still remember a little invocation
rhyme which must have been the most popular night time prayer
Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord
my soul to keep, if I should die before I
wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen.
Since becoming a Christian, I have come to know that God will
take my soul should I die. I no longer have to pray this prayer.
As a young boy growing up in the Roman Catholic religion, I was
taught to pray for people in Purgatory. Night after night I imagined
an infinite line of suffering people who were all chained together.
They were waiting for someone to pray them out of their sufferings.
I took the responsiblity very seriously. But it seemed the more I
prayed, the longer the line. Until at last, fatigued and tired, I
would fall asleep. Inevitably, I felt guilty for not praying at
least on more person out of suffering. I always promised God to do
better the next night. I never really did much better. I consistantly
fell asleep with many more stranded in Purgatory for yet another day.
Eventually, I simply gave up. I stopped praying for the endless faces
of those in torment.
But the Roman Catholic doctrine of Purgatory was imbedded deep
within me. Finally, the guilt of not praying for "the tormented
souls in Purgatory" became too heavey when added to all the other guilt
associated with the Romanist religion. Eventually, I left the Roman
It wasn't until becoming a Christian that I found out that
Purgatory was a lie. There is no such place as Purgatory. I had
been lied to all those years. All those guilt ridden days and
nights spent as a child were for the sake of a lie.
Today, I am a Christian. The doctrine of Purgatory seems so
long ago. Having been trained in the Scriptures, I marvel at
how i could have been so foolish. But a child is trusting. A
child believes his elders especially about things such as Heaven
and Hell and Purgatory. I am most grateful to God that he has led
me to the truth of His word and freed me from the despair of
Romanism. He has taught me the Bible is trustworthy.
The Bible does not teach Purgatory or any other doctrine of
"self atonement" related to personal "purgation of sins"
It is my hope that Roman Catolics will believe the truth about
the Gospel of Jesus Christ and just say "no" to the horrid inven-
tions of men. Purgatory is one such invention (Col. 2:8).
In Contrast, the "Good News" of the Gospel is that Jesus died
on the cross so that all those who believe in Him do not have to
suffer for sins commited. Not here or in the life hereafter.
The essence of the Gospel is that one perfect offering satisfied
the penalty due to sin. He [Jesus] was crushed for our iniquities,
Purgatory is a terrible lie because it violates the value of
Christ's death. Purgatory shatters the comfort of the precious
grace gift of God. God's forgiving love is endowed without penalty
because He is appeased with the full payment in the death of His
Purgatory threatens the soul with untold aeons of agony. This
nullifies the "Good News" of the gospel and replaces it with a
self affliction as the penalty for sin and thus contributing to
one's own justification before God (Luke 16:15, Gal. 2:16).
The roman Catholic religion teaches the work of Christ is not
enough to end the terror of punishment due sin. Catholics are taught
that God forgives sins but the saints need to add their own agony
for final purification. This suffering is said to be the distress
The Romanist arrives at purgatorial suffering on the basis of
false distinction between "forgiveness" of sins and paying a
"penalty" due personal sin. By contrst, in Christianity, for-
giveness is the removal of all penalty based on the sacrifice of
Jesus Christ. Sad to say, the self sacrificing nature of the
Roman Catholic religion absolutely denies full satisfaction.
Christians believe Christ offers forgiveness and freedom from
paying the penalty of sin once and for all. The two cannot be
Purgatory, like its earthly sisters Penance and Indulgences,
absolutely ruins the significance of the death of Christ. The
damnable doctrine of self purgation of sins is simply one of the
many logical consequences underlying the ugly truth of Rome's
works-righteousness system of salvation. The Biblical witness
tells us that there is "no condemnation for those in Christ
Jesus" Rom. 8:1. Also, those who believe in Christ have eternal
life and need not fear suffering for their own sins. Our peace
with God is based on the fact of Christ's atoning work, Rom. 5:1.
We no longer have to suffer the penalty of sins. We no longer
dread the presence of God. We are not involved in any attempt to
"pay the price" of our sins in our bodies. We believe that anything
added to the death of Christ, for our acceptance before God, is
another gospel and needs to be rejected.
We can only hope and pray that those who see the folly of Rome's
Purgatory will leave it. We hope that forsaking it will be the
first step in arriving at the Christ of Scripture. This mighty
Savior came to die in place of those who could NEVER pay the penalty
due their sin. For by His stripes are we healed.
Hebrews 7:25: " ... He is able to save them to the uttermost..."
Rob Zins, is the Executive Director of Christians Evangelizing
Catholics. He has a Th.M. in Historical Theology. If you have
further questions about the Roman Catholic church, feel free to
write Rob at:
P.O. Box 6409
Rutland, Vermont 05702
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