1 Corinthians 3:15 -but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire

De Maria's picture

For Catholics the answer is Purgatory.

What is the answer for Protestants?

1 Corinthians 3:15
If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

michael_legna's picture

The purging in Purgatory has nothing to do with atonement.

JQLogan said -
I am wondering is it faith that works by love that perfects the saints or is it suffering temporal punishment for sins that purifies.

The works do not perfect the saints - because scripture never says that. Works perfect faith. The works of loving obedience we do to perfect our faith are precious stones or gold and it is these which survive the fire so we do not suffer loss. But not all our works are of that type, some are straw and sticks and they will not survive the trial by fire and because of that we will suffer loss of them, but come out on the other side more perfect than we went in. That is why the analogy of refining gold is used, because raw material containing gold is refined in a fire and comes out with less material (having suffered loss) but in a more perfect form.

JQLogan said -
To me, purgatory is another atonement. And I am wondering, if Christ purged my sins so that I stand justified (just if I never sinned) then what purpose is purgatory?

It is not an atonement, it is a purging of that which defiles us. We are to make restitution to those we offend as part of a real sincere repentance. This restitution is a form of punishment or repayment of debt incurred by our sins. Not the eternal punishment related to damnation in hell, but the temporal punishment associated with making things right with our brothers - which we still have to do even though Christ has cleansed us of our sins. If we do not make this restitution and if all of our works are not perfect in the sense of being based on love for others we need to have them purged from us. The section of verse makes it clear that if we build on the foundation of Christ (in other words do works of loving obedience to His Gospel) then we clearly have accepted Him as our savior and so are saved, and these works of loving obedience are like precious stones or gold, But we all know we are not perfect and some of our works are not as selfless as they should be and so these works are the ones made of sticks and straw and which scripture tells us will be burnt away and we will suffer loss - but we will still be saved (not because of our works) but because we built on the foundation of Christ. This period of burning away the works of selfishness is what Catholics call purgatory.

JQLogan said -
Do the Catholics say that Christ's death was not sufficient to pay the satisfaction due the law for transgressions?

No scripture does. Scripture makes it clear that Christ's death paid the eternal punishment for sin, but scripture also makes it clear that we are still expected to make restitution for our offenses in order to have properly repented of them.

JQLogan said -
I can see that Christ allows suffering in this lifetime as a way of drawing us to something better and to allow us to enter into his sufferings but I see no merit in it with regard to atoning for sin of any class.

It is not a matter or merit or atoning. It is a matter of proper repentance and purification. If you stick to the terms scripture uses in describing it instead of inserting words like atonement which are never used in relation to this event you will see things more clearly.

JQLogan quoted -
From the Catholic Encyclopedia -

Purgatory (Lat., "purgare", to make clean, to purify) in accordance with Catholic teaching is a place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God's grace, are, not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions.

Yes?! I am not sure what your point is here, because this quote does not use the idea or wording of atonement, or any of the other problems you seem to have with this idea. It restricts itself to the terms and ideas as expressed in scripture.