“What if There’s No Lamp Oil in Purgatory?”
“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7).”
Having spent the last three weeks examining the three leading views of the afterlife, it is evident that the Bible represents that there are two chambers of the unseen realm of Hades in which all of the dead reside until the Judgment Day – one chamber of torments for the wicked spirits (Luke 16:23, 2 Peter 2:4) and one chamber of Hades that is a paradise for the righteous (Luke 16:22, 23:43). These spirits are reserved in their fixed districts of this unseen realm until the final Day. Peter and Jude (Jude 4) explained that those wicked spirits remain in this prison until the end and Jesus taught that they could not cross over from their gloomy chamber because there was a fixed gulf that prevented such a transfer (Luke 16:26). However, there is a popular doctrine, called Purgatory that teaches that some of the spirits of the dead who are in torments may escape and ultimately reach heaven.
The idea is that it is not so much a “second chance” after death to those who refused Christ, but according to proponents of Purgatory, it is the place in which the true child of the church, who died but whose soul was not yet perfect, can make amends for these minor sins through punishment and prayers of the living. Those who teach Purgatory, call it a “middle state of temporary punishment, allotted for those who have died in venial sin (lesser sin that does not result in complete separation from God that can be forgiven), or who have not satisfied the justice of God for sins already forgiven.”1
To support this view 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 is put forward, in which Paul explains that “if any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved; yet so as through fire.” Yet Paul is not addressing and individual’s sins but their converts that will be tested. The passage explicitly states that a man’s WORK will be burned, not the man himself.2
Other passages cited include Hebrews 12:5-11 which speaks of God chastening His children in order to discipline them. Peter wrote of trials that test our faith and refine us, resulting in our salvation (1 Peter 1:6-9). But a plain reading of these texts reveals that the chastening and fiery trials are experienced during Christian’s lifetimes, and not afterwards. There is nothing in these passages to suggest that they should be understood as occurring after life.
Repeatedly the Bible makes plain that we must make ourselves ready today (Hebrews 4:7-15)! Jesus taught that the kingdom of heaven is like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the Bridegroom, but He was delayed (Matthew 25:1-13). Those who had prepared themselves for His coming went in with Him into the wedding while those who were not prepared were shut out. It should be noted that all of these virgins were looking for His coming but it was only those who were prepared who entered. Throughout the entire chapter Jesus teaches that those who served well in this life were rewarded and those who did not were rejected by Him.
The teaching that the sins of man must be paid for through one’s own suffering after death is scornful of the sacrifice of Christ, whose shed blood completely cleanses Christians of ALL sins (1 John 1:7-9). Teaching that men must suffer for their own sins in order to be purified diminishes the effectiveness of His perfect suffering sacrifice (Hebrews 9:25-28, 13:12).
While the concept of Purgatory is an intriguing one, there is not strong Scriptural support for this view. So let us make every effort to make our calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10) and keep our lamps trimmed and oil ready.
“I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work (John 9:4).”
Bottom of Fo
Charles Chiniquy, Fifty Years in the Church of Rome (Grand Rapids: Barker Book House, reprint ed., 1960, p.247
Perry B. Cotham, Beyond the Sunset, Grand Prairie, TX. 2008, p.174