LISTEN: Is Grace Losing Faith? Advice to People Who Are Thinking About Leaving God or the Church or Both (BCNN1’s The Gospel According to Greenleaf #17)

Welcome to BCNN1’s The Gospel According to Greenleaf Episode #17. The title for today’s episode: Is Grace Losing Faith? Advice to People Who Are Thinking About Leaving God or the Church or Both

Last year, Greenleaf began with the “prodigal daughter” Grace returning to her family and the roots of her faith. Once the star of the family’s religious empire, she left the church and the family because of the secrecy and tolerance surrounding Mac’s serial abuse of young women in the church. Even though Mac has been exposed and expelled, Grace feels like he has gotten little more than a slap on the wrist and is being allowed to live in peace while his victims still deal with the consequences of his evil. They still suffer. She confides in her father that she is losing faith in God’s plan. Bishop Greenleaf comments, “As long as you know there’s a problem, there’s hope.”

(On top of that is Grace’s continuing relationship with the nonbelieving reporter Darius Nash, whom Bishop Greenleaf calls a “muckraker.” It appears as though their friendship is drawing Grace further away from her trust in God, prompting her father to question Darius’ influence on her life asking, “Do you think that this man is part of God’s plan for your life?” When Grace invites Darius to meet her parents, Darius tells her that he is “never going back to church, so elet’s just be friends. And of course, Bishop Greenleaf did not want this muckraker coming to the special birthday party.)

In recent years, many people — especially young people, so-called millenials and including some older people and pastors — have abandoned their Christian faith, giving rise to a class of ex-church members who say they have no use for the church but still believe in God. A smaller number have said that they no longer believe in God at all. Many have left the church over reasons similar to that which Grace is struggling with — various types of abuse (sexual, financial, doctrinal, etc.) by church leaders as well as the feeling of helplessness that comes when those who do wrong in the church community seem to get away with it.

Answering the charges of those who point fingers at the church is difficult. Pastors and ministry leaders across the country are tasked with responding to the exodus in a way that honors God and is honest regarding the human element of the body of Christ. What all people need to be reminded of is that the church will never be perfect here on earth. Nor will the lives of Christian people be perfect here on earth. As someone has said in the past, “if you find a perfect church, once you join it, it won’t be perfect anymore.”

Many evangelistic and missional efforts are guilty of promoting the false perception that salvation, coming to Christ, or joining the church means the cancellation of all of a person’s problems when that is not the case. Yes, Jesus Christ does make a change and a difference, there’s no doubt about it. But salvation through Christ solves our biggest problem — the curse and condemnation of sin which results in Hell and eternal separation from God. The church, however, is an avenue through which we can begin to address all of our other problems and grow according to the will of God. No church is perfect because none of the people in the church are perfect. The admonition of Scripture comes to mind: Ephesians 4:2 says we ought to live “with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.” Colossians 3:13 says we ought to “Bear with one another, and forgive one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”

To anyone who feels like they are drifting from the Christian faith or contemplating leaving the church, understand that only God is perfect. We must find our comfort, our solace — and our justice — in Him, not in other human beings, no matter how heinous their crimes and how wicked their ways. As Bishop Greenleaf tells Grace, “Vengeance is God’s business and when we try to take the wheel from God, we quickly find ourselves in a ditch.”

In closing, if you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can be forgiven of your wicked sins of the past no matter how dark, God is available to hear your prayer of confession and to hear you ask to be saved from sin and from the punishment of sin which is eternal hell and separation from God. And you can begin a light-filled relationship with God Almighty today.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s laws. You have done some bad things. You have broken the commandments of God. So have I. And so has the Pope. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…” We die physically because of sin and we go to hell to burn forever, to be tormented forever because of our sin. God does not put us into hell; we put ourselves into hell because of our sin.

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ, the loving Lord of glory, preached more on hell than anybody in the Bible. He preached more on hell than he did about Heaven. He said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Now that is bad news, and I know most people do not want to hear any bad news. But you have to hear the bad news because the good news is good news because there is bad news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins. He is the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world, your sins and mine. And all we have to do is trust Him and believe that He died for our sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you and me so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

And please believe these words found in Romans 10:9 & 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Saved from what? Saved from sin and the punishment of sin which is hell.

If you believe in your heart on the Lord Jesus Christ, that He died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer and mean it from your heart: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life — even some of the sins being brought out in this show called Greenleaf. I am sorry for my sins, and today, please have mercy upon me a sinner. I believe with all of my heart that You died for me, was buried, and rose again. Now, Lord I pray that You would fill me with Your Holy Spirit and help me to repent of my sins and to follow You for the rest of my life for Your glory, praise, and honor, and, from this point on, to be the shining light that You want me to be. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray, and for His sake, Amen.

Beloved friend, if you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light and read my pamphlet titled, “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

Until next time, my beloved, may God bless you and keep you. We look forward to seeing you for the next Gospel According to Greenleaf podcast.