Purgatory: Does it exist?
Micheal you should be glad I enjoyed reading this since I moved it rather then deleted it. Please take this as a warning. STAY ON TOPIC.
JStaller said -
The Bible I am familiar with does not address an in-the-middle afterlife where dead Christians will be purged of their sins before entering a metaphysical heaven. If that is the purgatory you're describing, then the Bible DOES NOT SUPPORT the doctrine of purgatory. Usually you are so careful about making claims like that...
Ok, what do you interpret 1 Cor 3:11-15 as speaking about?
Here is how I read it verse by verse:
1 Cor 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
If we are to be saved we must have a living faith which is a faith enlivened and perfected by works as James and Paul teach. These cannot be simple works of the law, but must be works done in cooperation with grace. That grace comes from faith in Christ, that is what is meant by building our works on the foundation of Jesus Christ as is also described in Matt 7:24-27
Matt 7:24-27 24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
1 Cor 3:12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
Now we move from building on a proper foundation to building with the proper materials, good works being gold, silver, and precious stones, while lesser works and sins being composed of wood ,hay and stubble. Of course God only wants to be in the presence of good works, as we see in Rev 21:27
Rev 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.
1 Cor 3:13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
So after we are dead every man's works are tried by fire to reveal what type they are.
1 Cor 3:14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
The works of wood, hay and stubble are of course consumed by the fire, while the gold, silver, and precious stones are not affected by the flames. This is exactly the description of purification, of burning away the dross from the precious metal and is also know as purging, which is where we get the term purgatory.
1 Cor 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.
Now we see that this is not a completely pleasant encounter, as we suffer loss during this process. But this is not a salvation issue, because as we saw above the building materials are a secondary issue after choice of foundation. Those who go through this purification of their works are the ones who built on the foundation of Jesus. So this is only a process the saved go through.
If you care to present your interpretation of these verses I will be glad to discuss the differences between it and my position. But I hope you can now see that "the Bible DOES SUPPORT the doctrine of purgatory".