By Luke Lancaster
Purgatory is a gross idea for some Protestants, for it implies that Christ didn't suffer enough for us - so they think. They will argue that Christ "SAT DOWN" at the right hand of the Father, so there is no punishment left over for us. Christ suffered for us, He underwent the punishment for us, so there is no need for purgatory. There is no need for fear, for it was finished. These words by our Protestant brothers and sisters are a bit misguided, though, so let's get into it.
Jesus paid the price, he bought us from the devil and sin. However, He did not pay all the punishment due for sin. He paid for our eternal punishment, so now we do not need to go to Hell. But we still have some temporal punishments due for sin. Consider how every single one of us dies. Death is a punishment for sin! But if all of our temporal punishments were taken away, then we would not die.
What we need to understand is that when we repent of our sins, get baptized, and become joined to Christ's suffering and death, only our past sins are forgiven. We become "perfect" in the words of Hebrews 10:14, but only for the moment. For just as a pig might be cleaned off totally from the mud, he could return to it (2 Peter 2:20-22)! We are cleansed only of our old sins, not of our new ones (2 Peter 1:9).
If we get new mud on us, we need to constantly go back to Jesus's passion. We need to repent and beg God for forgiveness once again. In the words of 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." This does not only happen once! For our future sins have not been forgiven too!
The sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the wood of the cross of Calvary is still being applied to us, perfecting us of past sin that will never return. When we stand before God at the end of time, God will not remember our past sins that we washed in the blood of the Lamb at baptism. But any sins which we committed after baptism, we needed to repent and go to Confession over. If we did not, then those sins remain.
We also need to keep in mind that even if we repent of sins committed after baptism, we need to repent perfectly. For if we are half-hearted in our sorrow for sin, then there will be some kind of punishment awaiting for us. Whether that be here on earth, or beyond in purgatory.