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Q Is there any place in the Bible that tells of a place such as purgatory? I've read somewhere in the Bible where Paul says there is a place where we will atone for our sins. I can't remember where I read it but it mentions fire--but a temporary place.

A I did a search in my computer Bible program for any verses in the New Testament that mention ‘fire’ and none of them has to do with a temporary place for atoning for sin. You might be thinking of 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 (NKJV)  “Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” This passage refers to the testing of the Christian’s works. Notice it says of those whose works are burned up, “but he himself shall be saved.”

As far as fire and the permanent punishment for sins that faces the ungodly, the Bible has plenty to say.  Just a few will show you what I’m talking about: Matthew 25:41 (NKJV)  "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels,” and Matthew 25:46 (NKJV)  "And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." Also Revelation puts this very clearly in two verses: “The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (20:10 NKJV), “And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (20:15 NKJV).

There is no purgatory in the Bible. The Roman Catholic Church holds to purgatory on the basis of their belief that no one can have a last-minute conversion and still get off scot-free, so to speak. But there is simply no evidence in God’s word for this idea of temporary punishment for some. Christ very clearly says (John 5:24 NKJV)  "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” Notice “has passed” in the past tense. Jesus said to the thief on the cross, “today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). He definitely made a last-minute profession of faith. In the context of the parable of Lazarus and the rich man Luke 16:26 speaks of “a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us” (NKJV). After death, there are no more chances for improvement of situation. 


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