The introduction raises the issue that motivates the doctrine of purgatory, namely, that heaven is a place of moral perfection and complete holiness, but most believers die far short of the perfection and holiness that heaven requires. It also introduces the basic options for dealing with this problem: God immediately perfects us at or after death, which is held by many Protestants; and the view that God perfects us after death through a continuing process which requires our sanctification. The latter option is the doctrine of purgatory. It concludes with a summary of the chapters that follow.
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