purgatory

Saved, Saved, Saved #1

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God” (Romans 3:24,25 KJV).

The first verse of Jack P. Scholfield’s classic 1911 hymn, “Saved, Saved, Saved,” highlights today’s Scripture.

“I’ve found a Friend, who is all to me,
His love is ever true;
I love to tell how He lifted me
And what His grace can do for you.”

In religious circles, “saved” is a very dirty word. When you utter it in a denominational setting, gasps can be heard. Parishioners may experience cardiac arrest! How dare you be so “arrogant” in declaring—let alone thinking!—there is reserved in heaven a place for you! Church members shudder as that word “saved” “defiles” their religious ears. They have no such assurance of “salvation.” Furthermore, they tremble to realize the precarious situation they have been in since birth—“If I am not ‘saved,’ I must be ‘lost!’”

According to Roman Catholic theology, the “mortal sin of presumption” is committed when one believes he or she will go to heaven without any time spent “suffering for sins” in “purgatory.” Of course, this is fiction and nonsense. Remember, as long as you do not know if you are saved, you will keep coming to church, keep giving, keep praying, keep keeping the sacraments, keep keeping the ordinances! To die in the “mortal sin” of “presumption” is to merit immediate hellfire, with no chance of ever entering purgatory… or heaven. Oh, but praise God, we know God’s truth in today’s Scripture! There is total redemption—complete deliverance and purging from sin—in and because of Jesus Christ!

There is a “Friend” of sinners and His name is Jesus Christ. His love spanned the gulf of sin between you and God, and it sent Him to Calvary’s cruel cross. “Grace” is not what you can do for God so He can offer you salvation; grace is what God can do for you through Calvary because you can do nothing for Him! ’Tis the only way to be “Saved, Saved, Saved!”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Must I witness to be saved?

Truth Be Told

Monday, May 18, 2015

“But we have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God” (2 Corinthians 4:2 KJV).

If we have not done so already, may we abandon “handling the word of God deceitfully!”

A “faith healer” preacher, after sharing “healing testimonies” and offering to send prayer cloths and anointing oil by mail, read 2 Corinthians 4:16 on television: “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” He actually admitted that our physical bodies are aging and decaying. Jokingly, he referenced his balding head and he and his wife’s wrinkling skin! (“Physician, heal thyself with thy ‘miracle-healing tools!’”) No wonder people laugh at us Christians. Just look at the foolishness “Christian” television networks air!

Recently, someone told me she had “paid for some Masses” for a certain deceased loved one to be freed from purgatory’s flames. Those prayers said on her behalf were not cheap, but they were certainly not enough to merit God’s heaven. (If Jesus’ blood did not bring someone to heaven, can silver and gold?)

Dear friends, the above is not Christianity but charlatanry. Remember, if someone is not making sense, ‘someone’ is making money! There are many sincere but vulnerable people, particularly in religion. These precious souls need to learn the difference between Christianity and charlatanry. Just because someone is reading a Bible, talking about “Jesus” and “God,” or claiming to be led by the “Holy Ghost,” that does not automatically make that individual a spokesperson for God (a common myth). Ministers are oftentimes the sneakiest people. Jesus condemned the religious leaders of His day for them draining people of their income and trust. There are billions around the world today equally deceived and abused.

Beloved, let us take our King James Bible, and let us be grounded in Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, that we not be “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14). As we learn to tell the truth, those who want to know it, will learn as well. 🙂

When the Roll is Called Up Yonder #4

Saturday, April 11, 2015

“To die is gain…. Having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better” (Philippians 1:21,23cd KJV).

The chorus of James Milton Black’s classic 1893 hymn “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder” highlights today’s Scripture.

“When the roll is called up yonder,
When the roll is called up yonder,
When the roll is called up yonder,
When the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.”

Religion’s “sin of presumption” forbids anyone from claiming or believing in assurance of immediately going to heaven upon physical death. Theologians argue, “No sinful person can enter heaven without first being cleansed.” Hence, a purgatorial state is speculated to exist: the “faithful” soul, post-death and pre-heaven, is allegedly tormented to atone for any un-paid sins (sounds like hellfire to me!). Dear friends, purgatory belittles—and ignores—the efficacy of Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork. Jesus paid for a Christian’s sins in full (Romans 4:1-8; Colossians 2:13), so why would the Christian have un-paid sins? Friends, religion never makes sense (frankly, purgatory does not make sense because it is a money-making gimmick).

Saint Paul undoubtedly knew where he was going upon death. He was not going to sleep in a grave, not going to “die like a dog and pass into non-existence,” and not going to suffer “purgatorial cleansing.” Paul affirmed, We are confident [fully assured!!!!], I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8; cf. today’s Scripture). He had such confidence because Jesus Christ was reliable, faithful. Had Paul been relying on his works, he could not be confident. Yea, to rely on faulty works is sure to introduce doubt! Beloved, the payment for sin is Jesus Christ’s suffering at Calvary, not our temporary suffering in purgatory!

Brethren, whether the Lord happens to call our name in physical death, or calls our name while we are living at the time of the Rapture, up we will go to Heaven to meet our Saviour and be with Him forever. We will be there in Heaven because, at Calvary, He paid the “airfare!” Let us keep looking up for our flight! 🙂

In Him and Not in Hell

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

“And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith” (Philippians 3:9 KJV).

Before we can have a right standing before God, we must realize our wrong standing before God.

A dear lady I shared the Gospel with not many weeks ago told me, “I think I will go to heaven. Now if I commit some horrible sin just before I die, then I will go to purgatory.” Like so many, she needed to realize that the ultimate sin is to believe we can live a perfect life to make God so happy with us that He will have no choice but to let us into heaven, that we can supplement and/or substitute Jesus Christ’s life and righteousness with our own, that we call God a liar by saying our sin nature can still offer so much as one work that is pleasing in His sight, that Jesus Christ failed to do what we must do.

When I asked this lady on the basis of what five minutes her life would be totally acceptable to God, what five minutes of her living were 100 percent perfect and made her worthy of heaven, she confessed she had no such five minutes; that is when she realized that that failure is sin, that her lack of assurance was a sign she was headed to anywhere but heaven!

I began to share with her the wonderful news of God’s righteousness in Jesus Christ received by simple faith in Him alone (today’s Scripture). God is offering us a place in heaven as a free gift and we cannot work for a gift (otherwise it becomes a debt). If we so much as believe we can work enough to add to Jesus’s perfect sacrifice, then we are telling God we want to pay for our own sins; the place where God’s wrath against our sin is appeased, is the lake of fire, and it burns forever because God’s wrath against our sin can and will never be appeased apart from Jesus Christ’s suffering at Calvary. Let us be found in Him, and not found in hell!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did God ask where Adam was?

Who Is a Sinner? #4

Monday, August 19, 2013

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 KJV).

Behold, God’s standard of righteousness, of which we all fall short!

Earlier, we briefly mentioned the three types of religious people we meet on a daily basis: (1) those who are too self-righteous to admit that they are sinners, (2) those who are attempting to obey a set of rules to keep God happy and hopefully merit His favor to get them into heaven, and (3) those who believe that their imperfections and transgressions will be dealt with in purgatorial flames. The Bible believer simply cannot hold to any of these viewpoints:

  1. “I AM GOOD ENOUGH ALREADY” — This viewpoint (self-righteousness) is flawed. When compared to some, we appear good, but when compared to others, we appear bad. Determining our “goodness” by focusing on someone else’s sins is unwise, for others also use our sins to establish their “goodness.” Using this system, one can never definitively conclude who is good and who is not! The standard is not you, I, or any other sinful creature—the standard of righteousness is God (today’s Scripture).
  2. “I AM TRYING TO BE GOOD ENOUGH” — This viewpoint (self-reformation) is also defective. No matter what set of rules we attempt to keep, we never can keep them perfectly. Although we can keep from committing certain types of sins and we can stop certain sins, we still have plenty of other sins that complicate our lives. How can God be pleased with our “good” deeds when He is too offended by our sins?
  3. “I WILL BE GOOD ENOUGH AFTER PURGATORY” — This viewpoint (self-suffering) is faulty, too. Can a person suffering in flames of fire really burn away his or her wicked nature and all its resultant sins? Nay, the only flames in the afterlife of which the Bible warns are hell and the lake of fire, where people are never reformed or purified, only preserved and punished!

Dear readers, I warn you in love that these three viewpoints can be summarized as self-delusion. They ignore the very reason why Jesus Christ came to this planet in the first place…!

Who Is a Sinner? #2

Saturday, August 17, 2013

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 KJV).

Behold, God’s standard of righteousness, of which we all fall short!

I once posed this simple, straightforward inquiry to a priest: “Where would your soul go if you died right now?” He answered, “Heaven, after I am cleansed in purgatory.” I explained to him God’s Word declared we could be “made the righteousness of God in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:21) by simply trusting in Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for our sins. When I thus questioned him regarding the purpose of purgatorial cleansing, he (blasphemously) replied, “Yeah, but now we are not talking about what Jesus did. We are talking about what I am going to do!”

Beloved, billions have allowed religion to burden them which such a weight that they, sinful people, will have to please a holy God before they can get into heaven. They are basing the salvation of their eternal soul on the presumption that they can do what Jesus Christ—God manifest in human flesh—could not do! Exactly what can we weak, mortal men do to measure up to Almighty God? How can we even think about proposing a more perfect sacrifice than what Jesus Christ offered on Calvary’s cross nearly 20 centuries ago? What utter foolishness!

God the Father said to Jesus Christ, “Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Mark 1:11). Jesus declared, “And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him (John 8:29). Can God say that about us sinners? Is He really “well pleased” with us all the time? Can you honestly say with Jesus, “I do always those things that please [God the Father]?” Nay! That is what sin is!

We would do well to swallow our pride and confess that we will never measure up to God’s standard of holiness “doing the best we can.” Our character, our sinful nature, produces sinful behavior, only bringing shame to our Creator, Jesus Christ, and gendering nothing but His wrath….