Get Out of Jail Free

Jesus appears to think that his return will be comparatively sudden:

36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. 42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. (Matthew 24)

So what does this mean for those in Purgatory? Can Jesus actually let people out before they have made compensations for the temporal consequences of their sin? Will it be like the men in the field? One believer is released from Purgatory but another stays? Or does everyone get out because the return of Christ cancels all penalties for sin?

But if Christ’s return has the power to overturn the claims of Purgatory, imagine what the crucifixion and resurrection might do to both the temporal and spiritual consequences of sin.

6 thoughts on “Get Out of Jail Free

  1. This is consistent and compatible with both Scripture’s promises and witness to the Church Jesus founded(tm) in Salt Lake City Rome as well as the Church’s claims regarding the church and its authority/ability.


  2. But the catholic doctrine agreed to by many protestants in continuity with that doctrine is that the soul is immortal and cannot die, so that in this respect, Satan was correct and nobody created in God’s image can die, so they got to live somewhere. The difference between Roman Catholics and some puritans who worry about “Lutheran antinomianism” in this time and place is that the puritans say that purgatory begins now. Sinners are not producing the evidence they need to prove to themselves that they have believed.

    “Penitential teaching expressly echoed and bolstered moral priorities. In contrast, again, to Luther, whose penitential teaching stressed the rueful sinner’s attainment of peace through acknowledgment of fault and trust in unconditional pardon, many puritans included moral renewal.
    In unmistakable continuity with historic Catholic doctrine that tied ‘contrition, by definition, to the intention to amend.”

    “They required an actual change in the penitent. For them, a renewal of moral resolve was integral to the penitential experience, and a few included the manifest alteration of behavior. They agreed that moral will or effort cannot merit forgiveness, yet rang variations on the theme that repentance is ‘an inward sorrow . whereunto is also added a . . . desire to frame our life in all points according to the holy will of God expressed in the divine scriptures.” However qualified by reference to the divine initiative and by denial of efficacy to human works, such teaching also adumbrated Puritan preparationist teaching of later decades.”

    The Precisianist Strain: Disciplinary Religion and Antinomian Backlash in Puritanism to 1638 (Published for the Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia), by Theodore Dwight Bozeman, p 20:

    Russell Moore– Now is the time for a clear articulation of the gospel, not to leave a lost soul confused about his relationship with God… What concerned me was the cloaking of Trump in spiritual garb, saying that he has as Jesus taught us, borne fruit. If character matters, as evangelicals have been saying for fifty years, then character matters. This is a man who has broken up two households, who had made money off of breakup families and exploiting the poor in the casino gambling industry, and has used racially-charged slurs against various people and groups.”

    Jerry Falwell Jr: “By their fruit you shall know them. Donald Trump lives a life of loving and helping others as Jesus taught”


  3. The Persistence of Purgatory (Richard K Fenn) traces Western attitudes toward time back to the myth of Purgatory. As popular understandings of Purgatory became increasingly secularized, the lifespan of the individual became correspondingly purgatorial. No time could be wasted. Fenn demonstrates the impact of Purgatory on the preaching of Richard Baxter.

    Roman Catholics will always talk about a “difference” between a paradigm with quid pro quo conditions and the “in the family now” paradigm with “gracious (subsequent) conditions”.

    There is a big difference between those who teach that Christians are infused imparted with divine righteousness and thus enabled to meet “conditions in the covenant” and those who are teach a federal imputation which refuses any such notion of “conditionality” on the not yet finished sinner.

    By making faith the “condition” of salvation, faith is set outside the benefits of the atonement. if the atonement is for every sinner, but faith is not for every sinner, then faith cannot be a blessing given by means of the atonement. And then faith cannot be one of the blessings of Christ’s death, but becomes a condition for making Christ’s death effective. One cannot have it both ways. Faith is either part of salvation or a condition to salvation, but it cannot be both.

    Thomas Boston, commentary on the Marrow—“God’s love for humanity has appeared in two eminent instances: First, in securing, by an irresistible decree, the salvation of some of them, and second, in providing a Savior for the whole of the kind. God sent His Son from Heaven with full instructions and ample powers to save you, if you will believe. And is not this love? Know with certainty that if any of you shall perish-and if you go on in your sins ye shall perish-you shall not perish for want of a Savior. You would not trust Him as Savior, even though He had His Father’s commission to be your Savior.”


  4. N T Wright—“In I Corinthians 3, Paul does not say that the people who have built with gold, silver and precious stones will go straight to heaven, or paradise, still less to the resurrection, while those who have used wood, hay and stubble will be delayed en route by a purgatory in which they will be purged. …The text does not teach a difference of status, or of celestial geography, or of temporal progression, between one category of Christians and another.”

    Wright—“There are so many things said in the New Testament about the greatest becoming least and the least becoming greatest that we shouldn’t be surprised at this lack of distinction between the post-mortem status of different Christians. There is no reason whatever to say, for instance, that Peter or Paul, James or John, or even, dare I say, the mother of Jesus herself, is more advanced, closer to God, or has achieved more spiritual ‘growth’.

    Wright—“The last great paragraph of Romans chapter 8 leaves no room to imagine any such thing as the doctrine of purgatory, in any of its forms. ‘Who shall lay any charge against us? … Who shall condemn us? … Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?… Neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor the present nor the future, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, shall be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord!’ And if you think that Paul might have added ‘though of course you’ll probably have to go through purgatory first’, I think with great respect you ought to see, not a theologian, but a therapist.”

    Wright—”Dante’s middle volume is the one people most easily relate to. The myth of purgatory is an allegory, a projection, from the present on to the future. The glorious news is that, although during the present life we struggle with sin, and may or may not make small and slight progress towards genuine holiness, our remaining propensity to sin is finished, cut off, done with all at once, in physical death.”


  5. William Tyndale, 1530—- “Nay, Paul, thou art unlearned; go to Master More, and learn a new way. We be not most miserable, though we rise not again; for our souls go to heaven as soon as we be dead, and are there in as great joy as Christ that is risen again. And I marvel that Paul had not comforted the Thessalonians with that doctrine, if he had known it.” An Answer to Sir Thomas More’s Dialogue (Parker’s 1850 reprint), bk. 4, ch. 4, p. 180

    William Tyndale—“When More proveth that the saints be in heaven in glory with Christ already, saying, “If God be their God, they be in heaven, for he is not the God of the dead;” there he stealeth away Christ’s argument, wherewith he proveth the resurrection: that Abraham and all saints should rise again, and not that souls were now living hell or in purgatory or in heaven; which doctrine was not yet in the world. With that doctrine More taketh away the resurrection quite, and maketh Christ’s argument of none effect.”

    Luke 20: 34 Jesus told them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35 But those who are counted worthy to take part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. 36 For they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are sons of God, since they are sons of the resurrection. 37 Moses even indicated in the passage about the burning bush that the dead are raised, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.
    38 He is not God of the dead but of the living…


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