Thief on the Cross Did Not Go to Purgatory

Sarah: Regarding the idea of the “reparation for the temporal consequences of sin” please see Isaiah 53. I would suggest you read the whole chapter, but I will emphasize verse 5 “By his wounds we are healed”. The term “healed” cured: freed from illness or injury.

BFHU: But, Sarah, the reality is that we are NOT truly healed because we still sin. If everything was healed, cured, completed in the life of a Christian as soon as they believe in Christ and repent of sin, then why are there so many verses in the NT that urge us to increase in holiness?

Hebrews 12:14Pursue peace with all men, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

Matthew 12:36 But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.

Matthew 5:48 Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

2 Corinthians 7:1Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

Philippians 3:12-15 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

I could go on. In all of God’s activity in Scripture He does His part but He always requires Man to do the part God gives to him.

  • God gave Adam and Eve all they needed but they were required to NOT eat from one tree.
  • God promised to rescue Noah and family but Noah had to build an ark.
  • God promised to free the Israelites from slavery but they had to observe the Passover.
  • God promised to give the Israelites the Promised Land but they had to go into battle.

If we must pursue that holiness without which no one will see God, something IS STILL NEEDED–complete holiness, perfection, purification. We both know about sanctification but most Protestants are taught it is optional for salvation and for entering into the presence of God. Catholics, take these verses, along with hundreds of other verses, to be holy as He is holy, literally. So, we are supposed to strive for holiness in this life, and what is not accomplished for our purification in this life, will be completed in Purgatory. The rejection of the need for purification can be supported only if we concentrate on certain verses. But, it doesn’t hold up if one tries to reconcile it with all of scripture.

SARAH: Another verse; Luke 23:43TODAY YOU WILL BE WITH ME IN PARADISE” Jesus does not go on to say after a couple hundred years of purification. JESUS states, “today”. Is Jesus capable of lying? misquoting the truth? Or is the son of God simply mistaken?

BFHU:I understand why you ask these questions. You are convinced that your interpretation of these verses leaves no other possibility than to believe that Jesus was a liar or at least not omniscient if Catholic theology is accepted. But, there are some other possibilities, after all. First of all, Jesus did not go to Heaven that very Friday as we find out when Jesus tells Mary Magdalene, on Sunday, that He has not ascended to the Father yet. Therefore, Jesus and the thief did not go directly to Heaven on Friday. The possibility is that the Greek should be read: “I tell you today, you will be with Me in Paradise” rather than “I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise”. There are no commas in the Greek. Both are legitimate interpretations but the second one doesn’t line up with scripture.

Another possibility is that “paradise” referred to the happy part of the sheol/Abraham’s bosom where Jesus did go to preach to the dead and lead the captives free. And the Good Thief accompanied Him there, which would have been just as good news as being told he was going to Heaven.

5 Responses

  1. I believe that you are truly reaching for truth where none lies. Please read the greek linear translation of Luke 23:42-43 And he said to Jesus “Be reminded of me whenever you may be coming into the kingdom of you’ 43 And He said to him “Amen to you I am saying today with me you shall be in the park (paradise)” Jesus is not a liar and this may simply be some aspect of the bible that we do not understand how, but need to trust that because Jesus said it that it is true.

    Hebrews 12:14 asks us to ‘persue’ peace and holiness. Are we to aim or persue after purgatory? Or does this verse truly mean that we are to live pure and holy lives on earth to the best of our ability? Does God not know the hearts of men? Isn’t God able to discern whether we are lover’s of God or the world? We are told by the Bible to strive for holiness. This is an action, something that WE are to DO. Not something that happens to us!

    2 Cor. 7:1 Once again you quote an action that we need to do. This is the dedication of ourselves to Chirst and living righteously. Hebrews 6:1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from DEAD works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened…..if they FALL AWAY, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put HIM to an open shame.

    Matthew 5:48 you truly must read the whole text not just one line. This verse is referencing how we LOVE others, and how our Heavenly Father expects us to love others as he has loved us. “Therefore you shall be perfect (in loving others), just as you Father in heaven is perfect (in loving you).”

    Matthew 12:36 references the judgment we will all face for our utterances. It has no reference to purification, but to judgment day.

    *BFHU* I could go on. In all of God’s activity in Scripture He does His part but He always requires Man to do the part God gives to him.*

    You are right. Man must do his part which is to accept Christ as our Savior. Our lives should reflect that relationship which means we do our best to be obedient to God. (don’t; fornicate, get drunk, lie, steal, worship idols, envy, be prideful, etc…..). God does not expect us to be perfect, but we become worthy of his all sufficient grace by the blood of Jesus. 1 John 1:7-9 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…..If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    1 John 2:1-2 And if anyone sins, we have an ADVOCATE with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

    Hebrews 10:26 For is we sin WILLFULLY after we have received the knowledge of truth, there NO LONGER REMAINS A SACRIFICE FOR SINS. (God is pretty clear about this)

    Romans 8: 1 There is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

    Can you honestly tell me that you believe in the depth of your soul that; our Father in Heaven, the most supreme being of all time, stepped off his thrown to become the lowest of men, a baby, lived a sinless life, suffered as we suffer through trials and tribulations, KNOWINGLY accepted his fate to be ridiculed, spit on, mocked, have the flesh torn from his body, carry his own cross while he is half dead, hung to die a thiefs death, mocked while dying for those laughing at him, and willingly giving up his life so that WE may live, conquered death through the resurrection, fellowshipped with his disciples after his death and ascended to sit at the right hand of the Father. Can you honestly tell me that His sacrifice was not enough? Your answer is either yes or no. If your answer still remains yes, my heart aches for you, and I pray that God will have mercy on you for trampling underfoot the sacrifice of Christ, God’s only Son. God’s word never ever in it’s entirety states that Christ’s sacrifice was not sufficient. The Bible in fact states exactly the opposite.

  2. Sarah,

    You can see my response to your comment HERE

  3. I just read this — really great post. I agree with you 100%.

    The thief was not even Baptized or confirmed in any Church. He simply believed in God.

    That is enough, to accept Christ as your savior is the key to Heaven.

  4. As bhfu knows I am not Catholic and am trying to work it out myself. But another possible interpretation of the quote above is that maybe “Today” the man WAS in paradise with Christ. But as bhfu says, that may not be Heaven persey, but the place known as purgatory, but maybe that place isn’t necessarily a place of torment, because we are told when we die we will rest from our labors. Maybe rather pugatory is a place to heal and recover from the scars of sin to perfect us before we can enter Heaven sinless and perfect. I am no expert on Catholicism and am not Catholic. But I have heard in my own discussions with Him the first sensible answers to my questions about Catholicism. I have always (since becoming Christian) been dead against Catholic religion, but I have to say, his responses to my questions, I just cannot argue with them. I am keeping an open mind.

  5. And also, with persuing holyness, yes we should for sure. But it is not within human capability to be perfect. It is a gradual process that happens over time. Maybe some truly enlightened holy men and women do attain perfection on earth, but with the human mind it is not easy to stop all unholy thoughts. Only God can do that.

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