Purgatory, as a Catholic doctrine, is often pointed to by non-Catholic Christians as being unbiblical. A number of Protestants fail to realize one of the greatest Protestant scholars of the 20th century, C.S. Lewis, also believed in purgatory. Our Magisterium has helped us understand this doctrine, and it has been with the Church from its beginning.
There are verses in the Catholic Bible that leave little doubt. However, Protestant theologians, perhaps recognizing the problem such Biblical books gradually eliminated, such books from their Biblical cannon. So is rest assured, purgatory is well founded on Biblical grounds; the challenge is to find verses in the books the Protestants accept.
“So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew. 5:8)
We are called to strive for perfection. In God’s mercy, we may not obtain such perfection, brought on by opening ourselves fully to His grace, in our lifetime—thus, purgatory.
“Nothing unclean will enter it, nor any [one] who does abominable things or tells lies. Only those will enter whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Revelation 21:22).
We must be clean to enter Heaven. This is accomplished by fully surrendering to God’s grace, in this world or the next. “I tell you, on the Day of Judgment people will render an account for every careless word they speak.” (Matthew. 12:36).
We will be called to judgment; Christ is clear there will be a temporal accountable for our sins. However, he explains later that he will be with us in that judgment and has saved us through the cross from eternal punishment (see Revelation where he defends us); and provides the Sacraments to cleanse us and prepare ourselves for our final judgment.
“Strive for peace with everyone, and for that holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews. 12:14). We must be holy to see the Lord. God is perfect. In heaven, we are in union with Him as his adopted sons and daughters. God is perfectly holy, and cannot be with the unholy. In His mercy He provides purgatory so we can be with him always.
We are Saved by Fire, “But if someone’s work is burned up that one will suffer loss; the person will be saved, but only as through fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:15) St. Paul tells us that sinners can be saved as through fire (We call it Purgatory).
Is Prayers for the Dead Biblical?
May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chain; when he arrived in Rome, he eagerly searched for me and found me – may the Lord grant that day! And you know very well how much service he rendered in Ephesus. 2 Timothy 2:16-18 NRSV. In the passage you can see St. Paul offering a prayer for mercy by Jesus for the soul Onesiphorus who had died. In addition, in 2 Maccabees 12:38-46, Judas Maccabee orders that sacrifices be offered in the Temple in Jerusalem for slain Jewish soldiers who had worn pagan amulets showing that we can pray and offer mass for those who have died.