This is an erroneous doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church, believing that the souls of Christians who have died suffer for a time (in Purgatory) prior to entering heaven – a time of purging or cleansing of one’s imperfections, faults and sins. There is no mention of any such concept in Scripture and contradicts the clear teaching of God's Word which stresses a complete salvation in Christ; understanding it is our responsibility to accept this most generous gift He paid on our behalf and for which any 'payment' by us is ineffective (Isa 64:6; Jn 1:12, 5:24; Rom 8:1; Gal 3:1-14; Eph 2:8,9).

The idea that those who are saved by grace through faith have to suffer for their sins after death violates God's forgiveness; what we confess He forgives and removes as far as the east is from the west, through the "one sacrifice" of the blood of Jesus we are made righteous, just as if we hadn't sinned (Ps 103:12; Rom 5:9,19; Heb 10:14; 1 Jn 1:7,9). Jesus suffered for our sins so that we could be delivered from suffering. To say that we must also suffer for our sins is to say that Jesus’ suffering was insufficient. This belief that we must atone for our sins by cleansing in Purgatory is to deny the sufficiency of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus (1 Jn 2:2). God's promise is, "I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more" (Heb 8:12, 10:17). The Bible states, "Man is destined to die once, and after that to face the judgement" (Heb 9:27). 

See also: Roman Catholicism, salvation.

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