Is purgatory a biblical belief? The answer is no, it’s not. Holman’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary defines purgatory like this: “According to Roman Catholicism, souls of the Christians who die burdened by venial or remitted mortal sins are translated to purgatory where they undergo a process of cleansing for those sins. One’s suffering is temporary in nature until the general resurrection of the dead.”
By definition, purgatory is not biblical. Spending any amount of time in a temporary place of cleansing would be considered an act of works, meaning you did something to earn your way into heaven. In other words, you’re paying time for your sin, to cleanse you of your sin. This is contrary to what we see written in Ephesians 2:8-9, which says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one should boast.” Nothing is valuable enough to pay for our sin, except for the blood of Jesus.
To have assurance of salvation, a person must do two things. Jesus said in Luke 13:3b, “But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Repentance is a requirement for salvation. The Bible also tells us in Romans 10:9 “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” All people must confess Him with their own mouth and believe it in their own heart and repent of their sins. This is the only assurance of salvation for all men.
There is no temporary place of suffering. Without faith in Jesus, the suffering will be for all eternity. Jesus has already made the payment for our sins, and God has a book with the names of the saved written in it. He said in Revelation 20:15, “Anyone whose name was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”