Forgiven then Forgotten
God created the human world we live in and from the very onset of human life man would present an obstacle to the very beauty he was given. “God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good.” (Gn 1: 31).
Next, the infusion of the only entity that could upset this goodness was sin. Over the many centuries of this new existence called humanity sin is the only rempart between heaven and hell. Since sin has compromised the path to an eternal God, it is that existence that will not allow the receiver’s of God’s grace to enter into paradise.
We’ve discovered that because the rejection of God is an affront against the divine only a divine entity can bring forgiveness.
From the beginning of time, God IS. Therefore God is Omnipotent; nothing exists without his knowledge or permission. The words spoken by the celebrant during the blessing of the Paschal Candle: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Heb 13: 8).
It is through the final moments of the Easter Triduum that we find our redemption is arriving and Christ’s Incarnation now occurs as the Paschal candle becomes the light to lead all sinners to the way home with God.
All promotions belong to our God, who is eternal. Since he exists in eternity there is no past. Jesus said the only sin that would not be forgiven is that against the Holy Spirit, where not believing God can and will forgive us our sins. We are told that when God forgives our sin he also forgets it. “It is I, I who wipe out, for my own sake, your offenses, your sins I remember no more.” (Is 43: 25).
The teaching on justification presents a question wherein we shall be judged at our death. Somehow, we need to understand that once death closes the door on life it is not a free ride into paradise. Even though God does not remember the sin he just forgave and forgot, we who willingly transgressed against God still have the remnant of what we did. Until that aggression has been removed there must be a purging to expiate the existence of holding on by removing the weight of penance.
When arriving at the seat of Judgment with Christ we cannot say in defense, “God forgot our sin as he forgave it, so why the trial as we await scrutiny? However, when absolution is granted to the penitent there remains a time to pay back for the aggression.
Because God is Omnipotent he cannot become like a machine that erases what has happened, even though it actually is ever present to him. But, because his love goes beyond a punishment reserved for us, his Son, Jesus Christ came in humility to take the punishment upon himself.
God will disregard that punishment only through the Passion of Christ. Purgatory is not a punishment since all who enter there are already in the state of grace. (cf CCC 1030). See CCC 1459, “Absolution takes away sin, but does not remedy all the disorders sin has caused. Raised up from sin, the sinner must still recover his full spiritual health by doing something more to make amends for the sin: he must make satisfaction for or expiate his sins. This satisfaction is also called penance.”
Ralph B. Hathaway