Christmas is about the birth of the Savior.  But from what He save?  Find out in this issue of the Providence Newsletter!

Call Him Jesus!

"For he will save his people from their sins."  Mt. 1:22

I wanted to name my first child Isaiah Yahoo.  It sounded good at the least to me. Thankfully, it didn't pass muster with my wife.  

A top ranking name for our second child was Tara Paige.  By God's grace we realized that it had other connotations, and our child won't have to suffer through life with constant stationary jokes.

When it came to our third child, for the longest time we couldn't even think of a name!

One of the greatest responsibilities parents have is naming their children.  We can sometimes spend hours, if not months, pouring through baby name books looking for just the right fit.  And with good reason, this kid is going to be stuck with it.

I even remember a story about an olympic skier named Peek-a-boo Street.  The parents had decided prior to her birth that they would let their child name herself.  So, for the first couple of years, the child didn't have a name.  Then, when she was three, she named herself after her favorite game.

No doubt, names are significant.  This is most certainly why God sent special instructions to Mary and Joseph regarding the naming of the Son of God.

He was to be named Jesus.  It was nothing overtly out of the ordinary.  There were many kids who went by this tag.  Yet at the same time, his name would be a billboard for his life. It would describe his function in the world:  "The LORD Saves."

In this Christmas edition of the Providence newsletter we will probe the name of our Lord. Essentially, this issue is dedicated to Jesus because we are going to delve into the meaning and significance of his name and the salvation he promises.  

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Angry No More!

Saved from Sin's Penalty:  

RC Sproul tells a story about a time when he was accosted by a Bible thumping Christian.  The man blurted out, “Man, are you saved?”  

Sproul replied, “Saved from what?  I’m certainly not saved from people like you coming up and asking me if I’m saved!”

Sproul was egging the man on, but he was making a very serious point.  From what does Jesus save us?  

The answer may surprise you:  God saves us from himself!

The Bible tells us that even the least sin deserves God's wrath and curse both in this life and the life to come.  That's because sin is a transgression of God's law and offense to his honor.  

The reality is that God must punish sinners for what they have done, and the penalty for their deeds is extreme.  Having offended an infinite God, every sin is infinitely evil and worthy of an infinite punishment.

This is part of the reason why Christians believe that the unbeliever will experience an eternal, conscious torment in hell.  God will act as the executioner, meeting out the sinner's just dues.

The Christian, on the other hand, is not liable to these pains because of the saving work of Christ.  On the cross Christ atoned for sin.  He received the penalty for sin in himself on behalf of those who trust in him.  

To be sure, the full weight of the penalty was met in Christ's sacrifice.  Were Christ just a man, he could not have done this.  Yet, because he was divine, his human nature was endowed with infinite value. As a result, he could suffer the extremities of the penalty for all his people in just a few hours.

Christ's Incarnation

A Carol of Christmas Humiliation

Thou who wast rich beyond all splendor,
all for loves sake becamest poor;

Thrones for a manger didst surrender,
Saphired paved courts for stable floor.

Thou who wast rich beyond all splendor, 
all for love's sake becamest poor.

Good Riddance!

Saved from the Presence of Sin

The Apostle Paul said, "He who began a good work in you, will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6).  

That is why the first advent of Christ pushes us forward to His second and final advent.  The Bible tells us that one day Jesus Christ will come again.  And at that time He will finish what he began.  

Just as He did away with the penalty and the power of sin, the remaining presence of sin will be put away once and for all.  

In the earlier article, we said that there continued to be skirmishes between the Allies and the Axis powers after Hitler had been vanquished.  But we should not forget that the fighting did eventually end.  The terrors of evil did come to a halt.

A time will also come in our lives when our fight with sin will end.  For some it will be when we reach the close of this life. The Apostle Paul reminds us that death for the believer is not a curse.  Instead, it is a blessing because we die to sin.  When we close our eyes our souls shall go to live with Christ in heaven in all purity.

Others will live to see Christ at the resurrection   When this happens those who are alive will experience a radical change.  Their bodies will be glorified and sin will be completely purged from their lives.

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Deck the Halls!

Come caroling at Kingston in A-town!

If you would like to bring some Christmas cheer this season, feel free to join us this Saturday (Dec. 15th) at Kingston in Ashland.  We will meet at 10:30 and sing some carols as we walk through the halls.

Afterwards we'll spend some time visiting with the residents.  Our hopes is that we can spend about an hour with them.

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Apologetics Series

Mark Hamilton is in the midst of a series dealing with Christopher Hitchens and the New Atheism.  The last seminar will be this coming Wednesday at 7:00 at the Grace Brethren Church on Main Street in Ashland

If you would like to hear the audio of the first two meetings, we have it posted at our website.  

Liberated by Christ

Saved from the power of Sin

In 1945 Hitler committed suicide.  The moment the bullet entered his skull World War II ended.  The enemy may have continued to fight for a while longer, but at that moment the forces of evil had been definitively toppled.  

That incident illustrates well what happens when a sinner comes to Christ.  When Christ comes into one's life, it is as if a bullet entered the skull of sin.

To put it another way, Jesus not only saves us from the penalty of sin, He saves us from the power of sin.  

The Bible teaches us that prior to Christ were we slaves to sin (Rom. 6:20).  That is to say, sin was the governing force of our lives and it dominated everything we did.

But the Bible goes on to say that we have "died to sin" and have "been set free from sin" (Rom. 6:11, 22).  This indicates that a  radical change has taken place at the core our lives.  The ruling principle is no longer sin because Christ has taken the throne of our hearts.

This does not mean that we become sinless.  We will continue to fight with it all through our lives, just as the WWII battles continued for a time after Hitler.  

Nevertheless, the reign of sin has been broken.   As a result, we may not resign ourselves to sin.  Yielding ourselves to it and allowing ourselves to be a servant of it is like going back to Egypt.  

In other words, though the war is ended, the fight is on!  We must now see ourselves as "slaves of righteousness" and not tolerate the remaining vestiges of wickedness in our lives.

Because the Spirit of Christ now rules us and has made Christ's law the banner of our lives, we must make every effort to rid ourselves of the old regim. 

Come and Worship!

Bring the Savior Glory and Honor

Where:  Mifflin Community Center
              55 Maine Street
              Mifflin, OH 44805

When:  10:30 am

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