Why do purgatory and hell exist? The Catechism teaches us today about the existence and the meaning of purgatory and hell. We learn that purgatory is a transitional state of purification while hell is the state of permanent separation from God. Fr. Mike reminds us that nobody drifts into heaven because “we cannot be united to God unless we freely choose to love him.” Today’s readings are Catechism paragraphs 1030-1037.
Have you ever said the words from the Creed at Mass, “he descended into hell” and wondered, “Really? Jesus did? Why?” The Catechism shares the secrets of this line from the Creed and shows us how Jesus’ descent into hell “brings the Gospel message of salvation to complete fulfillment.” Fr. Mike makes it clear to us that Jesus did not come to save only the righteous who happened to be alive during his time here on earth, but he came to save all those righteous men and women who came before him and would come after him. Today’s readings are Catechism paragraphs 631-637.
Recently, a reader told me that I should soften my teaching about Hell because no one would want to follow Jesus if they thought He’d send their unsaved loved ones to a place of eternal torment (Matthew 25:46).
It breaks my heart that people reject my Lord and go to Hell. But when I accepted the Lord, I knew about Hell, and it didn’t stop me from following Jesus. In fact, it was an important part of my decision.
It’s essential that we understand that we deserve Hell. Eternal life is an undeserved gift. I didn’t earn it and I wasn’t “good enough” to receive it. But I accepted that gift and turned my life over to the Lord.
Scripture explains that anyone who rejects Christ is “without excuse” (Romans 1:20) because everyone who genuinely seeks God will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13).
Only once did God punish an innocent man: “[Jesus] was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities.” Isaiah 53:5a
Jesus willingly offered His life and His love to save us, and He warned us boldly and unashamedly about Hell.
We should never be ashamed to speak the same truths Jesus spoke.
What does Romans 8:1 mean when it says Christians are under “no condemnation”? Some people use this verse to claim that Christians need not be concerned about our sins because we’re forgiven.
Two things help us accurately understand this verse:
1. The meaning of condemnation.
The Greek word katakrima translated condemnation is only found three times in Scripture (Romans 5:16; Romans 5:18; Romans 8:1). It’s always used to describe final, permanent condemnation. Genuine Christians will not be condemned to hell.
2. The full teaching of Scripture.
However, multiple Bible passages explain how sin damages our lives. Christians are given many instructions in the New Testament for living lives worthy of our calling (Ephesians 4:1; Romans 12:1-2). We understand that we are in a process of renewal, “putting off” our old sin nature (Ephesians 4:22-24).
No matter what we’ve done, we will be in heaven with the Lord. But God’s Fatherly love compels Him to punish and discipline us here on earth (Hebrews 12).(1)
And our love for God compels us to deal deliberately with our sins (John 14:23-24).
If someone has no concern for their sins, it is an indication that they don’t know the Lord (1 John 3:1-10; Romans 6).
Footnote: (1) Reading about the forgiveness of David in 2 Samuel 12 will clarify this point. Note that God fully forgave David, but his sin brought him both punishment and consequences.
“Fools’ names and fools’ faces often appear in public places.”
I first learned this proverb as a little girl when I asked my mom why someone had scribbled their name on a bathroom stall in a department store.
But it makes me think of some of the foolishness scribbled on the “walls” of our modern culture.
Whether the well-known “names and faces” are politicians, celebrity entertainers, famous athletes, or popular ex-vangelicals, foolishness is still foolishness.
They can “scribble” that God approves sexual lifestyles that damage men’s souls. They can proclaim there’s no hell or that the Bible contains errors. They can announce there are more than two genders, claim drug use is good, or insist there is no God.
But those things are nothing more than Satan’s graffiti.
We Christians don’t depend on these empty scribbles because our Lord is the Author of all wisdom and truth.
And He warns us: “Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.” Colossians 2:8