Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory

Heaven, Hell, and other possibilities?

What is Heaven? Heaven is the place where God most fully makes known his presence to bless

Who goes to Heaven?  Matthew 25:46, Acts 1:11, Matthew 5:3, 5:10, 5:27-30, 6:1, 6:9-10, 6:19-21,

  1. Those with a real trust in the person and work of the Jesus Christ of history who was both truly God and truly man, these persons will go to heaven when they die.

What is Hell? Hell is a place of eternal conscious punishment for the wicked.

Who goes to Hell? Matthew 25:46, 2 Thessalonians 1:9

  1. Those who with their own free-will reject Jesus Christ from their heart and mind. They will get what they desire, no God.

What is purgatory?  From the Catholic Catechism Paragraph 1030   

“All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.”

Should we believe in purgatory?

  1. As a place? No. There is no place called purgatory. We do not find this from Jesus or the rest of the Scriptures. 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 has been used to try and speak of the purifying process, but this purifying process has in mind once and for and all at once when one stands before the judgment of God and not some process or place of the person. This passage is speaking about the works of persons being cleansed as if by fire and not the persons themselves.  This passage is about ‘reward for service’ for those who are already Christian.
  2. As a process? No. We should not believe in purgatory as a process either. No, because Jesus identifies two places after life and those are heaven and hell, with no apparent middle ground or process based entrance to either one. As Christians we should only believe in the purgatory that took place on Jesus Christ, where all the sins of the world were placed upon him and he took our place. For those of us who believe, we will not have any purgatory because Jesus purged the sins of the world in his death on the cross.

Who believes in purgatory?

  1. Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians. These two groups make up a lot (the majority) of Christians (1.6 Billion people). Catholics have conceived of purgatory as both place and process and it seems that Eastern Orthodox Christians believe less and less (from my reading on the subject) in purgatory as a place but rather just as a process and even one that seemingly takes place in the here and now and not necessarily after death.

Note: Remember, that even though we do not believe in purgatory we should not think we are better than other Christians. We can engage in discussion or debate over the subject and do our best to show from the Scriptures and by Reason and Tradition that we are correct on the subject, but we should not think less of our neighbor Christians who espouse the idea.

Will believers be judged?

  1. Yes. 1 Cor. 3, Romans 14:10-12, 2 Cor. 5:10, Matthew 25:31-46
  2. They will be judged (for rewards) by their works.
  3. This is not saying one is saved by their works.

What should we do with these beliefs?

  1. Commit our whole selves to Jesus Christ and his service.
  2. Store up treasures in heaven Matthew 6:19-21
  3. Live pure lives, 2 Cor. 5:10
  4. Reach out to others. Matthew 28:19-20

Homework: Answer these questions

  1. Have you thought before that there will be a final judgment for believers?
  2. How does your awareness of the fact that there will be a final judgment affect how you will live for the rest of your life?
  3. How might you better lay of treasures in heaven?
  4. If you got to watch others stand before the judgment seat of God how do you think they would do? How do you think you would do?
  5. Are there some people in your class or families that you think need to know the truth about heaven and hell?
  • Paul Laird

    Homework questions.
    1. Yes, and I know there will be a final judgement of believers during which the works of some will be judged unworthy and totally destroyed, but the believers will still enter heaven.
    2. This knowledge leads me to constantly “check in with God” to receive instruction and awareness of my standing with Him.
    3. Begin each day talking to God and receiving instruction as to how better my walk with Him, then implementing that instruction in my life, and do so consistently until God calls me home or until Jesus returns.
    4. Yes