WHY GRACE ALONE IS NOT ENOUGH FOR HEAVEN – PART 2 (A MUST READ)ByStephen DehWe examine the issue of Purgatory and praying for the dead which is denied when one believes in this idea based on Romans 5:8 that “once we are justified or made righteous by grace, we are made righteous forever irrespective of our past, present and future sins”. Nevertheless, Praying for the dead and those in purgatory is biblical. A strong point on praying for the dead and thosein Purgatory is found in 2nd Maccabees – one of the seven books that formed the Catholic Old Testament books and the Greek version of the Old Testament known as the Septuagint or LXX. These seven books are Tobit, Judith, Baruch, Wisdom, Sirach, First Maccabees, and Second Maccabees, as well as additional verses of Daniel and Esther.Internal evidence reveals that almost all 300 out of 350 quotations from the Old Testament by the New Testament writers quotes this Septuagint version including quoting from the seven books accepted by the Catholics. For instance, anybody using the Epistle to the Romans for a doctrinal point must have also noticed that Romans 1:19-25 is a quotation from Wisdom 12-13. Similarly, Matthew 27:41-43 concerning the scheme of the Jews in eliminating Jesus is a quote from Wisdom 2: 12-20. Moreover, a typical quote from the Septuagint and one of those seven books is Hebrews 11:35 which is a direct quotation of 2nd Maccabees 7. This reference tells us aboutthe story of a mother and her seven sons who refused deliverance from torture so that they might receive resurrection with the just and Hebrews 11:35 reads, “some women received their dead raised to life again, and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.Additionally, in this same book but in 2nd Maccabees chapter 12 praying for the dead and those in purgatory is mentioned. In this chapter 12, Judas Maccabee (a general)led his army into battle against the enemies of God. When he took count of the soldiers who had died for a righteous cause, he realized that some may have died in sin. So, he sent an offering “to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice.” He did a noble deed, the Scriptures tell us, “For,if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death” (2Maccabees 12:43, 44). Hence, to offer prayers for the dead is a profession of faith in the resurrection. It is for this resurrection that Jesus died. And it is our belief in Purgatory that reflects our confidence in that resurrection.Now, reading further we come to the true fact that – “It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins” ( 2 Maccabees 12:46). Here, the idea of praying for the dead is pronounced and the “loosening” in reference to a place where they might be detained called by the church purgatory.Also, in the New Testament, St. Paul in 1st Corinthians 3:12-13 makes it clear that some people are saved while suffering loss (or punishment) by fire, and that is the place purgatory. The text reads, “ Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire;and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. The one whose work stands up to it will be given his wages; the one whose work is burnt down will suffer the loss of it, though he himself will be saved; he will be saved as someone might expect to be saved from a fire”.Moreover, the case of David is an excellent example of a man who has been forgiven or his sin, but for full satisfaction for it there was a punishment wherein the childborn died (2nd Samuel 11 or 2nd Kings 11). The case Numbers 20:11-12 is not to be forgotten when although Moses was forgiven yet the punishment of not entering the Promised Land lived on.It is therefore clear that the issue of purgatory arises froma remaining punishment due to sins forgiven. This kind of satisfaction for the remaining punishment due to forgiven sins is often done on Earth by good works and prayers, by suffering trials and tribulations, and by a more perfect adherence to the true faith. If such satisfaction is not done on Earth, it is and must be done in Purgatory – assuming that the person dies in the state of grace (justification). The satisfaction must be done because the Book of Revelation, the Apocalypse, makes it clear that nothing impure shall enter Heaven. Revelation 21:27- “There shall not enter into it anything defiled, or that worked abomination or made a lie, but they that are written in the book of life of the Lamb.” We see the same thing in the Book of Hebrews. Hebrews 12:14- “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.”Finally, it must be emphasized that Purgatory is not for those who die in mortal sin or outside the true faith. It’s only for those who die in the state of grace, which is also known as the state of justification. It is for those who die in grace, but haven’t satisfied for the temporal punishment due to their forgiven mortal or venial sins, which were committed after Baptism. Mortal sins destroy the state of justification. That is why Galatians 5:19-21, 1 Cor. 6:9, and Ephesians 5:5-8 teach that people who commit such mortal sins lose “their inheritance” in Heaven (justification). Examples of mortal sins are fornication, murder, drunkenness, lying, cheating, stealing, fraud, theft, masturbation, looking at pornography, giving full consent to impure thoughts, homosexuality, heresy, idolatry, violating the commandments, etc. If people die inthe state of mortal sin, they will be damned. 1 John 5:16 distinguishes between sins which lead to death and sins which do not. This is the point for frequent Confessions, so that we are always in a state of grace whenever we are called by the Lord and even should we not be in this state, by the very fact that Jesus says in Matthew 12:32 that “…noone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will be forgiven eitherin this world or in the next”, then it meant even in the next world some sins can be forgiven except against the Holy Spirit ( which is impenitence or closing one’s heart in pride to the grace of the Holy Spirit). Shalom!
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