On another website, one person said this concerning Catholicism and Purgatory,

My own vision of purgatory, for which I claim no doctrinal validity, has some interesting echoes in the platonic version (which I have never seen till now.) It is that we are shown for the first time the true evil of our sins, and especially the wide ripples of harm our sins caused to others. We thus endure an excruciating revelation of the evil we have perpetrated, and are invited to full repentance, which probably includes going to each person we wronged and obtaining pardon.

Whether that is true or not is not important.

My question to Evangelicals is this:

  • Will one who is saved, that is, one who has faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, ever experience the magnitude of suffering associated with the sins he/she committed (especially against others) in this life, as well as know (by being reminded of) all the sins they have ever committed (i.e., the total quantity)?

    In order to know all the sins they have ever committed, imagine a courtroom where a judge is reading a list and judging you guilty of every single sin you have ever committed. Moreover, by experiencing the magnitude of suffering associated with each sin, imagine each time a sin is enumerated by the judge, you experience (feel) the pain, anguish, hurt, and sorrow felt by the person you sinned against, as well as your very own soul (when you have sinned against yourself). Catholics experience this in Purgatory, and their souls must be purified of their sins.

  • If so, when does this occur and for what purpose?

  • Or, does God forget them (cp. Jer. 31:34) and the saved never experiences them in judgment?
  • Yeah I'm not too sure what you mean by "experience". This makes me think of a quote which I thought was from Calvin but can't find anymore, that was along the lines of us not being aware of even one percent of the extend of our sin. Maybe someone else will know of the quote!
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 23:30

3 Answers 3


I am an evangelical, but am not entirely sure if my belief is the official stance of the church.

Concerning your first question, I believe that when we see God, we will know the magnitude of our sins. Similar to how Isaiah did:

"And I[Isaiah] said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!"(Isaiah 6:5 ESV).

Thus, yes, when we get to heaven, we will see God, feel the magnitude of our sins, and be disgusted by them. And knowing what sort of persons we are in the eyes of God, thank him all the more for the grace which he bestowed upon us, and the love with which he loved us.

The purpose of this is to bring Glory to the Lord, for on earth, we never know the magnitude of our depravity, but once we see the Holy God, whose countenance is so pure he cannot even look upon sin we can understand the magnitude of the grace with which He saved us.

You mentioned at the end of the first bullet, "especially sins committed against others". I would like to make the argument that a sin committed against God including other sinners is no worse than a sin committed against God when we are alone. For sin is the state of rebellion against God, so although we hurt people, we never actually sin against people.

Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. (Psalm 51:4)

Concerning your final point, The Lord Jesus Christ has justified us via his death on the cross. Where 'justified' is used in the most legal sense - that is, God treats us as if we had never sinned, as if we were righteous.

But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness (Rom 4:5)

I don't know if it's correct to say God 'forgets' our sins. But it is to say his righteous wrath upon our sin was satisfied by the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. And through Christ, he has removed our sins from us.

"as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us."

Sorry if I was a bit long winded. But I hope I answered, or at least provided some insight concerning, your question.


Believers feel the magnitude of their sins in this life when they contritely confess it. See the whole of Psalm 51 for a dramatic example of this. They can feel shame over the action and at times a heavy pressure from their conscience to make it right. Once acknowledged, the blood of Jesus cleanses from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

With sin dealt with in this life to the best of our ability ("walking in the light" of 1 John 1:7), then we will have confidence when Jesus comes and not shame (1 John 2:28).


Although I cannot speak for all Evangelicals, since they just as every other person will have differing conceptions of Scriptures which are not definitive. I can, however, tell you what the Scriptures say concerning this and what my perception is.

Most Evangelicals that I know do believe, that after profession of faith, one's sins are forgotten forever, will no longer be charged against them. Basic to this belief is that Jesus paid our sin debt in full. So how do we get to the point of that belief?

Genesis 2:17 KJV But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

If we are to understand what is meant by that verse, we must first understand what surely die means. It cannot mean physical death since Adam and Eve both continued to exist in their physical forms just as before.

So let's look at:

Genesis 2:7 KJV  And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

There a two distinct parts of that Scripture:

1.the physical body from the dust, but that was still not alive.

2.man became a living Soul.

When man received the breath of life, then his Soul was produced.

Understanding these things, it becomes apparent, that we now have to understand just what it is, and how Jesus can redeem our Souls:

Revelation 2:11  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

Revelation 20:6  Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

Revelation 20:14  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

Revelation 21:8  But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

The second death then is the eternal destruction of the Soul.

So how does Jesus save our sinful souls from eternal fire and how does repentance and our present sins fit into that redemption?

For this we must go to the sacrificial ceremonies God dictated to the Israelites.

Leviticus 1:2 through 4 KJV  Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the LORD, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock. If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD. And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.

So let's consider this substitutionary sacrifice as compared to Jesus.

if any man (or woman) bring an offering to the Lord. Jesus is our offering: a male without blemish.

he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD We offer Jesus as our willful sacrifice for our sins when we ask God's forgiveness based on our belief that his death on the cross is sufficient to atone for our sins. And it is at this point that I must say that that sacrifice is for future as well as past sins.

If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish Since Jesus is a burnt sacrifice in that he is suffering the eternal fire so that we do not have to.

And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him. This is the biggie Jesus is sacrificed not for any sin that he committed since he was without blemish (sin), but is accepted as atonement for our sins.

On several occasions Jesus told someone to go and sin no more. So then if Jesus was concerned with people sinning after being forgiven, what could cause him to tell them not to sin again?

To that, the Bible does not give us an explanation; however, I believe that there might be a good reason for his concern.

That reason could be that as I said before, his sacrifice atones not only for past sins but future sins also. Sine he is atoning for future sins is the punishment also future?

The most horrendous way that we could experience how awful our sins are is to witness whether or not:

Does Jesus have to feel the fire anew every time we sin?

  • " 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. (1Peter 3:18)" seems to indicate Christ's one death paid for all the sins of man. He suffered "once" for sins. Surely the death of the Creator God, the most esteemed and valuable person in the universe, is more than enough to purchase the souls of us man. What a horrible thought!!
    – Jess L
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 18:17
  • @JessL Certainly he died once, but we know that he still lives, but Revelation makes it very clear that punishment in the Lake of fire is eternal, so is that earthly body suffering eternally in payment for our sins? We do not know the answer to that question, but is something worthy of consideration.
    – BYE
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 22:05

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