What does God offer? The Bible answers that question in dozens of ways: love, peace, joy, freedom, forgiveness, life, rest, heaven, to be part of a family. Who wouldn’t want that?
It’s tragic that many people miss what God is offering. Often, we simply ignore him — sometimes for weeks or even years at a time. Sometimes, we take for granted the good things he gives us, without stopping to think whether there is more to life.
Many of us in Bethel had that experience.
Some of us thought we were enjoying what life had to offer — until we realised we were more than just mind and body. In different ways, we discovered we each have a soul that is not satisfied until it has found its rest in God. Finding him, and discovering that he is kind and merciful and good, changed our lives for the better. Life now is richer, and less fleeting. We have hope, joy and forgiveness.
Others of us started coming to Bethel when we were at our lowest. Bereavement, divorce, or redundancy exposed an emptiness that we had previously managed to suppress. Yet at Bethel, we discovered a community — even a family — who welcome broken people, and never lose hope. In time, we discovered that joy, peace and rest were not only possible, but are precisely what God wants to give.
But if this sounds like self-help, it isn’t. Each of us discovered there comes a point when we have to admit that we cannot help ourselves. It’s humbling, but it’s also it also sets you free. It’s humbling to realise there is a God who knows everything about us, even those things that shame us. But it’s liberating to know that despite knowing us at our worst, he still loves us. With God, there’s no pressure to always be at our best, no need to put on a face.
To be welcomed into God’s family comes at great cost. Not a cost to us, but to him. To reach us, to love us, to free us, and to forgive us, Jesus Christ came from the glories of heaven to this often unhappy place we each call home. He lived as a man, experiencing all the joys and sorrows that we go through, and then died on a cross outside Jerusalem. He died rejected by his people. He died being punished as if he was a great wrongdoer. He died as a condemned man. He died cut off from his heavenly father.
Why did it happen like that? The Bible’s very clear. Jesus came from heaven to earth to take our place. He died so we would not need to be rejected. He died so we would not need to be punished. He died so we wouldn’t need to be condemned. He died so we wouldn’t need to be cut off from God.
That’s what makes God’s offer to this world so powerful. He doesn’t offer what might be done. He offers what has been done. It’s what we preach in Bethel, and it’s what we’d love to share with you. It’s the best news you could possibly hear. It’s changed our lives, and we believe it could change yours too. To find out more, get in touch, or pop in to a Sunday service. We’d love to meet you, and tell you more.