Today’s Scripture: The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. John 1:29

According to Catholicism, purgatory is a place between Heaven and Hell where the saved go to be cleansed from their sin. It teaches that although our sins have been forgiven, we have not be cleansed from them, and since the Bible clearly states that no unclean thing will enter Heaven, there must be a place where we are “purged” from our sins. (Revelation 21:27)

There are several glaring problems with this belief. First, it states that when Christ died on the cross, our sins were not paid, for but merely covered. Secondly, as a result of still having sin, entrance into heaven requires personal suffering on this earth and also in purgatory as payment and punishment for our sins.

When Christ died on the cross, He said, “It is finished.” The payment had been made. Jesus was “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Hebrews 10 says, “It is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins,” (v.4) or else, “would they not have ceased to be offered?” (v.2) But, “we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (v.10) His death was sufficient, and the sacrifice has been completed. He took away our sin, not just covered it; therefore, there is no sin debt to be paid through our suffering in purgatory.

Also, if we did have to pay for our sins in purgatory, we would soon realize that we would be there for all eternity. The wages of sin is death – separation from God. No amount of suffering can take away sin. Christ paid the price when the Father turned His back on Him when He was on the cross. If we had to pay that price, we would be in purgatory forever because we would have to spend eternity separated from God. This would make purgatory Hell.

Christ’s death didn’t provide a way for us to pay for our sins. Instead, it takes them away. This is why the doctrine of purgatory is so dangerous. It makes what Christ did on the cross the start of our salvation rather than its completion and makes our suffering in purgatory what makes us ready for eternity rather than faith in Christ and receiving His righteousness. Share with someone today that Christ doesn’t just offer forgiveness of sins; He paid for them!

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder