I was raised a Roman Catholic. I left “the church” when I was twenty-eight years of age because I never felt anything but bad. Four years later I gave my life to Jesus. I found a non-Catholic church and have been spiritually growing ever since. Praise God! My question is this: my mother, 76 years of age, talks about death and hopes that she will at least go to Purgatory. I know the truth is in the Bible, but the Roman Catholic church does not encourage their people to read the Bible. I have scriptures and various articles to support my findings that we either go to heaven or hell, but she will not believe because they do not agree with the Roman Catholic teachings. Can you guide me to a loving response for my mother? Thank you.
The answer to your question is prayer. We can show someone the truth from God’s Word, but we cannot make them believe it. Only the Holy Spirit can help someone understand the truth of scripture.
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. (NASB) 1 Cor. 2:12-14
You are in a spiritual battle for the soul of your mother. You might want to show her the following passages from the Bible, if you have not already done so, and then faithfully pray for her. You could encourage her to ask her priest to show her where in the Bible the word or the concept of “purgatory” is mentioned (It does not exist.). Here are some passages to consider. These verses will show us that once we die, there is nothing that we can do. Judgment has come and we either receive eternal life (heaven) or eternal punishment (hell).
And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, (NASB) Heb. 9:27
. . . there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going. (NASB) Ecclesiastes 9:10
For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil. (NASB) Ecclesiastes 12:14
And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment. (NASB) Matt. 12:36
And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. (NASB) Matt. 25:46
In the last passage, Jesus is speaking and He only speaks about two places. Purgatory is not even mentioned.
The concept of purgatory implies we must pay for our own sins. This means that Jesus’ death was meaningless. This is contrary to the teaching of the Bible which says that Jesus forgave all of our sins. When we start depending on Jesus to forgive our sins, that means He forgives every sin. There is nothing that is not forgiven. That is why the apostle Paul calls us holy brethren.
Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession. (NASB) Heb 3:1
Your mother does not realize that she is depending on her own good works to enter heaven, and not on Jesus Christ’s death and return to life. She is depending on herself and not on Jesus. May I encourage you to ask those in your church to pray for her. You are in a spiritual war.